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[Commlist] CFP: Environment, Nature and Communication in the Anthropocene Era
Fri Mar 20 10:46:15 GMT 2020
Call for papers:“Environment, Nature and Communication in the
Scientific Journal "/Revue française des Sciences de l'Information et de
la Communication/" (RFSIC - French Journal of Information and
Communication Sciences) - English papers are welcome.
Coordination: Céline Pascual Espuny (Univ. of Aix-Marseille, France) and
Andrea Catellani (UCLouvain, Belgium) - Research group Communication,
environment, science, society
Inscribed in the international public space since the 1970s, the
environment is today the source of many communication practices in our
societies. It covers a broad and matrix-like discursive perimeter, where
notions such as ecology, ecological transition, sustainable development,
corporate social responsibility (CSR, which includes an environmental
dimension), Anthropocene, and even collapse, reflect physical, economic,
political, scientific, but also cultural and symbolic realities that are
related but different. These realities are largely present in the field
of communication, public and private, professional, expert or lay,
strategic or spontaneous. Communication practices are not only an
expression but also a vector and a factor in the construction of the
cultural presence of nature and the environment, and of the
transformations of this presence. Our images of nature, the environment
and ecology are (also) communicative and trivial "beings", caught in the
constant interaction between science, art, economics, politics,
spirituality, society - and personal, more or less mediatized, sensitive
experience (that of "mega-fires" and extreme weather events, for example).
At a time when pressures are coordinated and overlapping, whether
anthropogenic, climatic, biological, social, political, economic or
moral, communication practices play a key role. They are called upon
from all sides, invoked to raise awareness, and considered necessary in
the emergence of participatory and co-constructed mechanisms. However,
these practices - particularly in the area of organizational and
strategic communication - are still the victims of suspicions of
manipulation and "greenwashing" practiced in the previous decade and
still latent and resurgent. Media information on the environment at a
time of anthropogenic challenges is caught in the tensions between
different economic, political, moral and societal imperatives, in a
context of societies that are often themselves in contradiction between
different values, and between values and practices ("values-action
gap"). For some time now, the Internet has been the meeting place for
different communication (and societal) projects, for awareness raising,
polemics and sometimes contradictory mobilizations.
In view of these constraints and tensions, what can information and
communication sciences say today, in a critical and scientific way,
about this polymorphous reality constituted by environmental
communication practices? How are the links between Nature and Ecology
grasped, as soon as the practice of communication is practiced? Does
environmental communication present a different profile within the vast
field of objects analysed by information and communication sciences,
given their particularly "trivial" nature as places of intersection of
all tensions, expectations and disappointments?
In this issue we will focus in particular on scientific contributions
that propose an analysis of the specificities of so-called environmental
communication, based on a solid methodology and anchored in information
and communication sciences. The aim is explicitly to collect the most
recent points of view and results in order to make them visible and show
the solidification of a real research sector, which tends to go beyond
the dispersion of individual contributions to aim at a form of
institutionalization, for example in the form of an association of
researchers (IECA), sections in the major international associations
(ICA, IAMCR), and in France with a GER (study and research group
"Communication, environment, science and society") within the French
society of information-communication (SFSIC).
This issue aims to be open to the different trends and theoretical and
methodological approaches of information-communication researchers
dealing with environmental themes related to communication.
Contributions may be integrated into one or more of the following areas,
or be of a cross-cutting nature.
/Controversies, polemics and media forms/
Environmental issues are at the origin of tensions, polemics and
debates, which are expressed, among other things, in the media and in
the different spheres of the social-digital media, but also in more
"physical" events, movements and confrontations. The challenges of
climate change, pollution, biodiversity and the habitability of the
planet, and their variations on local and territorial issues, are giving
rise to the voices (and images) of many actors in the age of
digitization. This axis aims to collect the contributions of researchers
who observe and analyse, with different methodologies and approaches,
these controversies and other forms of polemics and agonistic issues, in
order to understand their communicational dimension.
/Social and environmental actors: companies, activists, associations,
This axis focuses on the analysis of the communication practices of
different actors who enter the public sphere with an agenda of claiming,
transforming or protecting interests and/or values in relation to
environmental issues. Companies and the economic world speak out in the
form of discourses of responsibility (CSR-CSR, discourse on the
construction of shared value, "green" communication and advertising,
corporate activism), to show their alignment with social norms and
trends, or to protect their economic model. NGOs and associations,
activist movements, "influencers" and whistle-blowers, for their part,
pursue projects of social and cultural transformation. Governments and
public entities also intervene, between awareness-raising and
institutional and public communication issues. The list, which is not
exhaustive, should also include scientists, caught between the need for
objectivity and the urgency of commitment, organizations such as
churches and religious and spiritual groups, think tanks and the world
of politics and political communication.
/Popularization of science and its challenges/
How to communicate environmental science, for example on the destruction
of life and biodiversity and climate change? How does scientific
knowledge enter the public arena, what dynamics and distortions, what
challenges to the "authority" of science? The models of popularisation
and "popular science" - for example, the deficit model - are coming
under tension in the face of the challenges of "post-normal" and
participatory "science", and in the face of the scale of
"Anthropocenical" dynamics and trends (climate change, for example) that
transcend the distinctions between different disciplines and discourses
and tend to create short circuits between descriptive-analytical and
normative-engaged regimes. From this point of view, the notion of
expertise is also to be questioned, in its forms and appearances.
/Media, journalism, mediatization of the environment/
Researchers in information-communication have long, in the
French-speaking world as elsewhere, investigated the ways in which the
environment "comes to the media”. This presence is sometimes
fluctuating, event-focused, sometimes partisan, in a context of
technological and economic difficulties and changes in journalism in the
digital age and tensions around truth and "information disorder" (the
"fake news", loss of confidence in the media, changes in information
consumption). The aim of this section is to show the latest advances and
results of this research, in order to explore the (often different
depending on the country) ways in which the environment can be "put into
information". The axis is also open to research on the presence of
environmental issues in media cultures in general, the audio-visual
sector, and their interaction with the logic of cultural industries and
the cultural consumption practices of individuals.
/The living, its representation and its communication/
The Anthropocene and the culture of the beginning of the 21st century
see a change in the image of the "natural" world. The social sciences
have shown the cultural and situated nature of the categorizations of
beings and the relations between natural and cultural, between man and
animal or plant. Scientific and philosophical discourses, such as those
on anti-speciesism or on the intelligence of plants, percolate through
literature and the press, interacting with the search for new forms of
relationship (and resonance, to quote a title by Hartmut Rosa) with the
living world and creation. This axis aims to question the mutations and
reconfigurations of the cultural forms that frame the relationship
between man and the living, seen from a communicational point of view.
/Communication and ecological transition, between criticism and
At the time of the "ecological transition", communication (as a
persuasive signifying action that transforms mentalities and behaviours)
finds itself in an ambiguous position of "pharmacon": at the same time,
decried as a source of manipulation (for example, in the case of
"strategies of doubt", climate denials and fake news) and invoked as a
necessary lever to bring about a more sustainable society (in connection
with other marketing or psychological means such as "nudging"). This
position deserves a question: how to interpret critically and ethically
this "role" as an instrument of transition? How to deconstruct and
identify the risks, limits and problems of this posture? On another
level, what are the latest advances in the search for forms of
communication that are engaging, transformative, and capable of
empowering people in the face of necessary changes? How can
communication contribute to changing attitudes and behaviours in the
face of the "dragons of inaction" (Gifford 2011) that prevent behaviour
/Environmental discourse and narratives/
In the Anthropocene era, "facing Gaia" (to use a title by Bruno Latour),
our societies are crossed by different discursive forms, which represent
attempts to synthesize a complex and heterogeneous reality. This is the
very nature of narrative mimesis, as Paul Ricoeur pointed out, but it is
also the effort of meta-narratives and, more generally, of the great
discourses that are organized around values and interests. This axis
aims to attract researchers who are interested in the analysis of the
"discursive formations" that appear today in the face of Anthropocenical
challenges and concerns, and which manifest different and sometimes
opposing accents, axiological universes and narrative structures. One
need only think here of the discourses on degrowth, on voluntary and
happy simplicity, collapse, ecomodernism, sustainable development.
Formulas and visions circulate, carried by different actors with
different logics and interests; these formations take shape in the
media, in speeches, initiatives and actions. Information-communication
approaches, for example narratological, rhetorical and critical, have
here a space to express their analysis of this co-presence and tension
between different discourses.
- Issue published in No. 20, December 2020.
- Articles are expected for the last week of July
- Back to authors: last week of October
- Return of final articles: last week of November
Proposals for articles (between 30,000 and 40,000 characters including
spaces, bibliography and footnotes) should be sent to:
Céline Pascual Espuny, (celine.pascual /at/ univ-amu.fr)
<mailto:(celine.pascual /at/ univ-amu.fr)>, and Andrea Catellani,
(andrea.catellani /at/ uclouvain.be) <mailto:(andrea.catellani /at/ uclouvain.be)>.
The guide for writing articles can be consulted at the following link:
BERNARD, Françoise (2018), « Les SIC et l’“anthropocène” : une rencontre
épistémique contre nature ? », Les cahiers du numérique, vol. 15 : 31-66.
CATELLANI A., PASCUAL ESPUNY C., MALIBALO P. JALENQUES-VIGOUROUX B.
(2019), Les recherches en communication environnementale : état des
lieux et perspectives, Communication, Vol. 36/2 | 2019 [en ligne], DOI :
COX, Robert, PEZZULLO, Phaedra (2016), Environmental Communication and
the Public Sphere, Londres et New York, Sage (5ème édition : 2018).
COX, Robert (2015), « Scale, complexity, and communicative systems »,
Environmental Communication, 9(3), 370–378.
D’ALMEIDA, Nicole (2011), « Le changement climatique entre image et
texte », Recherches en communication, 35 : 17-36.
EVANS COMFORT, Suzannah, EUN PARK, Young (2018), “On the Field of
Environmental Communication: A Systematic Review of the Peer-Reviewed
Literature”, Environmental Communication, 12:7, 862-875, DOI:
Gifford R. (2011). The Dragons of Inaction: Psychological Barriers That
Limit Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, The American
psychologist, 66(4), pp. 290-302.
HANSEN, Anders et COX, Robert (dir.) (2015), The Routledge Handbook of
Environment and Communication, London, Routledge.
LESTER, Libby (2015), “Three challenges for environmental communication
research », Environmental Communication, 9(3), 392–397.
LIBAERT, Thierry (dir.) (2016), La communication environnementale,
Paris, CNRS éditions.
OGRIZEK, Michel (1993), Communication et environnement, Dunod.
PASCUAL ESPUNY, Céline (2017), Communication environnementale et
communication des organisations. Logiques de publicisation, de
circulation et de cristallisation, Mémoire d’habilitation à diriger des
recherches en SIC.
PEZZULLO, Phaedra C., COX, Robert (2018), Environmental Communication
and the public Sphere, London, Sage.
PLEASANT, Andrew et al. (2002), « The literature of environmental
communication », Public Understanding of Science, 11(2), 197–205.
RAVETZ, Jerry (1979), Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems,
Oxford, Oxford University Press.
SAINTENY, Guillaume (1994), « Les médias français et
l’environnementalisme », Mots, (39), juin.
TREMBLAY, Solange, D’ALMEIDA, Nicole, LIBAERT, Thierry (eds.) (2018),
Développement durable. Une communication qui se démarque, Montréal,
Presses Universitaires du Québec.
VIGNERON, Jacques et FRANCISCO, Laurence (1996), La communication
ZASK, Joëlle (2019), Quand la forêt brûle, Penser la nouvelle
catastrophe écologique, Premier parallèle.
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