A Green Fatwā? Climate Change as a Threat to the Masculinity of Industrial Modernity

Citation:

Anshelm, Jonas, and Martin Hultman. 2014. “A Green Fatwā? Climate Change as a Threat to the Masculinity of Industrial Modernity.” NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies 9 (2): 84–96.

Authors: Jonas Anshelm, Martin Hultman

Abstract:

From the autumn of 2006 and until 2009, climate change was described in Sweden as having apocalyptic dimensions. There was a parliamentary and public consensus that anthropogenic climate change was real and that society needed to take responsibility for lowering greenhouse gas emissions, though a small group of climate sceptics did not agree with the majority of the scientists or the need for drastic changes in the organization of Western societies. This small group, with only one exception, consisted of elderly men with influential positions in academia or large private companies. In this article we discuss how they described themselves as marginalised, banned and oppressed dissidents, forced to speak against a faith-based belief in climate science. They characterised themselves as having strong beliefs in a market society, great mistrust of government regulation and a sturdy belief in engineering and natural science rationality. We contend that climate sceptics in Sweden can be understood as being intertwined with a masculinity of industrial modernity that is on decline. These climate sceptics tried to save an industrial society of which they were a part by defending its values against ecomodern hegemony. This gender analysis of climate scepticism moves beyond the previous research of understanding this discourse as solely an ideologically-based outcry against science and politics, and highlights the recognition of identities, historical structures and emotions.

Keywords: climate change, masculinity studies, climate sceptics, industrial modern masculinity, ecomodern masculinity, discourse analysis

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2014

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