Analyzing popular german non-fiction on climate crisis and digitalization

Diverse or homogeneous?

Harald Lesch, Harald Welzer und Richard David Precht: Wer über Klimakrise und Digitalisierung schreibt und es damit bis auf die SPIEGEL-Bestseller-Liste schafft, ist häufig männlich, weiß und Akademiker. Welcher Raum bleibt da noch für globale Perspektiven, wenn beides doch weltweite Herausforderungen sein sollen? Darüber sprach Jan Doria, Mitarbeiter am Institut für Digitale Ethik (IDE) und Doktorand an der Universität Passau, im Rahmen der Konferenz "Digitalization for sustainability transformations: Critical perspectives, lessons learned, and future prospects" am 21. September 2023 an der Universität Augsburg. An dieser Stelle ist der englischsprachige Abstract dokumentiert.

Jan Doria auf der Konferenz Digitalization for Sustainability Transformations an der Universität Augsburg

Bild: Universität Augsburg

In 2015, the world agreed in Paris to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees as an overall political goal, but without delivering concrete solution pathways to it. These continued to be shaped by the media debate afterwards.This talk is based on a representative corpus of 44 popular non-fiction SPIEGEL bestsellers adressing climate change and the role of digitalization within it published in Germany between 2016 and 2021. Such bestsellers reflect political debates on today's most important topics.

As the analysis will show, the debate represented in this corpus was very homogeneous in terms of authorship. 76 % of authors were male, marginalizing female perspectives. 80 % were german, whereas authors from the global south most affected by climate crisis lacked completely. Writers, activists, journalists and politicians represented alltogether 55 % of authors, lacking voices from the natural sciences (only 12 %), and 90 % have received academic education, compared to only 18.5 % of Germany's population in 2019.

However, this narrowness in terms of authorship does not necessarily need to be reflected in the books' content. As a close reading of selected examples will show, the corpus contains both books that reproduce patterns of coloniality and reduce the responsibility for social-ecological transformation to a small elite as well as books that recommend for example the transfer of practices from the global south. The talk will conclude in critically reflecting wether the climate discourse represented in non-fiction SPIEGEL bestsellers between 2016 and 2021 is able to represent diverse perspectives without being diverse in authorship.

Vortrag auf Veranstaltung: Digitalization for Sustainability Transformations: Critical Perspectives, Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
Veranstaltungsort: Universität Augsburg
Datum: 20.09.2023 bis 22.09.2023

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M.A. Jan Doria  Elektronische Visitenkarte

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