Climate Change, Moral Panics and Civilization

I’m delighted to announce the publication by Routledge of Climate Change, Moral Panics and Civilization, by Amanda Rohloff, edited by André Saramago. Full details of the book here.

The book’s author, Mandy Rohloff, will be known to many in the figurational community. Mandy died in December 2012, only a short while after being awarded her PhD at Brunel University. At the time of her tragic and untimely death, this book was already then in development, with a proposal accepted by Taylor and Francis for its publication. The story of its subsequent development and realisation is told in full in its Preface, but suffice it to say that this publication is the culmination of a great deal of effort, patience and persistence on the part of Mandy’s parents Judy and Maurie Rohloff, and the outstanding sociological and editorial work of André Saramago, who has doggedly seen this project through to its fruition.

The book explores the sociogenesis of climate change as a social concern through tracing the growth of ‘ecological civilising processes’. Through detailed theoretico-empirical analysis, Rohloff painstakingly documents the emergence of an ascendant ‘carbon temperance’ movement: a ‘greening’ of behavioural standards which increasingly find expression through a series of environmental ‘moral panics’. The very idea of thinking of climate change as a ‘moral panic’ is immediately polemical. But this is intentionally so: the book is anything but the work of a climate change denier. Rather, this is a skilful and sociologically rich analysis which invites us to rethink conventional ways of framing the topic and, moreover, serves to problematise the more general sets of sociological theories and concepts that can be employed to make sense of anthropogenic climate change as a social problem.

In sum, this is an innovative and insightful extension of Eliasian sociology to a highly topical field. The book makes major contributions to debates within environmental sociology, moral panic and media regulation, environmental communication, and political science. It also offers a great deal to discussions within figurational sociology, particularly those relating to the concept of ‘decivilising processes’. It is essential reading for all who have an interest in these fields.

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