Archive for 2019

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[Commlist] New book on Critical Environmental Communication in a time of urgency

Tue Mar 05 16:37:16 GMT 2019

  Critical Environmental Communication: How Does Critique Respond to the
  Urgency of Climate Change?

  by Murdoch Stephens

How do contemporary critical thinkers find a way to work between the doubt that grounds their thinking and the knowing needed to ground emancipatory political struggles? In this overview of four contemporary thinkers’—Timothy Morton, Peter Sloterdijk, Slavoj Žižek, and Bruno Latour—approaches to critique and climate change, communication scholar Murdoch Stephens discusses and analyses the fissures, elisions, and paradoxes that inform critical theory. This book delves into how critical theory offers important insights for those interested in climate change, but also how critical theory faces challenges to its constitution when faced with issues that are both urgent and yet require a scientific rigour that is not the specialty of critique. Written from the perspective of the interdisciplinary field of environmental communication,Critical Environmental Communication: How Does Critique Respond to the Urgency of Climate Change?argues for re-orienting the field towards the tensions and possibilities drawn from these four authors.

Reviews of the book:
Murdoch Stephens has taken on the difficult task of sorting through and understanding much ignored critical theory relevant to environmental communication and has written an essential read for anyone interested in critical theory and environmental communication. *—**Richard Doherty, Chair, International Environmental Communication Association*

Bucking a bias that insists on environmental communication as a crisis discipline that justifies an incoherent activism and smug moralism, inCritical Environmental CommunicationMurdoch Stephens advocates a return to thinking and theory. In a sustained and thoughtful engagement with such provocative thinkers as Latour, Žižek, Morton, and Sloterdijk, Stephens forces us to reconsider the grounds of our thinking and activism. As Stephens’ vital intervention argues, theory is not a necessary detour but the way itself that enables a thinking and acting that exceeds a mindless activism that pursues the media-amplified crisisdu jour.
*—**Kevin DeLuca, The University of Utah*

By bringing four notable and provocative theorists into the orbit of environmental communication, Stephens’s work will reinvigorate discussions among environmental communication scholars about the possibilities for critique and critical scholarship.
*—**Steve Schwarze, University of Montana*

More details at the Rowman website <>.

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