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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creating Space: Engaging Deliberation about Climate Action
by Phear, Nicolette, Ph.D., Prescott College, 2014, 262; 3642993
Abstract (Summary)

In the United States public discourse, climate change is often framed as a polarized and intractable issue. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore deliberation about climate action, and to evaluate whether effective responses to climate change can be facilitated through new structures and processes that enable and encourage dialogue on the subject of how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Working with sustainability leaders at the University of Montana and in the community of Missoula, Montana, the author convened three public deliberations, in which a variety of solutions to climate change were discussed. Three questions guided this study: 1) what motivated individuals to engage in deliberation about climate action; 2) how did individual engagement vary and affect the quality of the deliberation; and 3) how effective were the deliberations in building a sense of individual agency and generating collaborative action strategies to address climate change. Based on a rigorous statistical analysis of survey responses combined with qualitative data, this action research study offers a holistic exploration of the three deliberative events convened. The deliberative processes generated collaborative action strategies and increased participants' sense of agency to take action on climate change; the findings also revealed differences in the ways individuals engaged and affected the quality of the overall group deliberation. This dissertation contributes to the literature on collaborative responses and collective action on climate change, broadens understanding of deliberative processes, and provides new insight into opportunities for leading deliberation about climate action.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Medrick, Rick
Commitee: Mitten, Denise, O'Brien, Karen, Pytlik Zillig, Lisa
School: Prescott College
Department: Sustainability Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Climate Change, Communication, Science education
Keywords: Action research, Agency, Climate change, Collective action, Deliberation, Engagement
Publication Number: 3642993
ISBN: 978-1-321-30244-8
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