Media and Transnational Climate Justice

Indigenous Activism and Climate Politics

by Anna Roosvall (Author) Matthew Tegelberg (Author)
©2018 Textbook XX, 214 Pages
Series: Global Crises and the Media, Volume 22


Media and Transnational Climate Justice captures the intriguing nexus of globalization, crisis, justice, activism and news communication, at a time when radical measures are increasingly demanded to address one of the most pressing global issues: climate change. Anna Roosvall and Matthew Tegelberg take a unique approach to climate justice by focusing on transnational rather than international aspects, thereby contributing to the development of theories of justice for a global age, as well as in relation to media studies. The book specifically explores the roles, situations and activism of indigenous peoples who do not have full representation at UN climate summits despite being among those most exposed to injustices pertaining to climate change, as well as to injustices relating to politics and media coverage. This book thus scrutinizes political and ideological dimensions of the global phenomenon of climate change through interviews and observations with indigenous activists at UN climate summits, in combination with extensive empirical research conducted on legacy and social media coverage of climate change and indigenous peoples. The authors conclude by discussing transnational solidarity and suggest a solidarian mode of communication as a response to both the global crisis of climate change and the broader issues of injustice faced by indigenous peoples regarding redistribution, recognition and political representation.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • Advance Praise for Media and Transnational Climate Justice
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Abbreviations
  • 1 Introduction: Calling for Climate Justice!
  • From Climate Change to Climate Justice
  • Geographical Scales
  • Climate News Media Ecologies
  • Activism and Politics
  • Mixed Methodological Approach
  • Studying Representations with the Represented
  • The Structure of the Book
  • Notes
  • References
  • 2 What Is Climate Justice?: Justice, Climate and the Media
  • The Justice in Climate Justice
  • The Substance of Justice
  • Responsibility
  • The Geographical Framing of Justice: Re-theorizing Justice and the Media in a Globalizing Age
  • The Climate in Climate Justice
  • International Climate Justice
  • Intranational Climate Justice
  • Transnational and Global Climate Justice
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • 3 Diverging Geographies: Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change and the UN COP Summits
  • Climate Change as a Problem of Scale: The Case of Indigenous Peoples
  • Connecting Scales: Indigenous Knowledge in Climate Research and Policy
  • Climate Testimonials from the Arctic to the Amazon: Geographies of Climate Change Impacts on Indigenous Peoples
  • Arctic Peoples
  • Island Peoples
  • Forest and Desert Peoples
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • Geographies of Indigenous Participation at the COPs
  • Indigenous Representation Inside the COPs
  • Indigenous Representation Outside the COPs
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • 4 Summit Journalism, Indigenous Peoples and Digitalization: A Media Ecology Perspective
  • Confronting Invisibility: The Rise of Indigenous Media
  • Media, Digitalization and Environmental Protest
  • Indigenous Media Vanguard
  • Journalism and UN Climate Summits
  • Legacy Media, Its Centrality and Limitations
  • Social Media as News Source and Connective Tool
  • Social Media as Connective Tool
  • Becoming the Media: Multifaceted Strategies of Indigenous Self-representation
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • 5 Activism, Agonism, Agency: Indigenous Peoples, Media Witnessing and the Political Game of the Summits
  • Agonistic Democracy and Climate Justice: Conflict, Exclusion and Recognition in the Summit Context
  • Politics Versus the Political: What Is the Story and Who Tells It? Varieties of Voice and Agency
  • Politics: The Political Game Frame, the (Inter)national Scale and Domestication
  • The Political: Activism, Its Indispensability and Its Suppression
  • Varieties of Media Witnessing, Varieties of Voice and Affect
  • Edited Media Witnessing: Mainstream Media Accounts of Indigenous Victim-Heroes and an Emerging Focus on Political Representation
  • Un-/Self-Edited Media Witnessing: The Political, Pluralism and the Bridging of Discourses
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • 6 (Dis)connections: Particularism Versus Universalism, and Transnational Solidarity
  • (Dis)connections: Rights, Politics, Media
  • The Particular Versus the Universal: Rights, Politics, Media
  • Solidarity and/as Communication
  • Understandings of Solidarity
  • Transnational Solidarity in Indigenous Activism and Journalism: Attitudes and Practices
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Appendix: Interview Questions
  • COP17 Interviews
  • Questions
  • COP21 Interviews
  • Questions
  • Interview with Sami Journalist
  • Questions
  • Index
  • Series index

| ix →


Figure 1.1: Banners from the indigenous section of the Human Chain manifestation

Figure 3.1: Map of indigenous climate testimonials from Arctic to Amazon

Figure 3.2: Indigenous activists surround banner inside COP

Figure 5.1: Principal groups of voices quoted in reporting on four UN climate summits

Figure 5.2: Program for North America Indigenous Peoples Day at the Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion

Figure 6.1: Indigenous peoples, politics and the media: particularism and universalism intersecting with identity versus status models of recognition

| xi →


Table 1.1: Summary of COP17 interviewees by region and organization

Table 1.2: Summary of COP21 interviewees by region, organization and summit access

Table 4.1: Indigenous peoples in longitudinal COP headline data, 2007–2015

Table 4.2: Representations of indigenous peoples in Canadian and Swedish story data, 2007–2015

Table 4.3: Top ranking hashtags in #indigenousCOP21 Twitter data

Table 4.4: Top ranking @mentions in #indigenousCOP21 Twitter data

Table 4.5: Top ranking sources in #indigenousCOP21 Twitter data

Table 5.1: Edited versus Un-/self-edited media witnessing

| xiii →


This book is the product of work done over many years, in many different places, leaving us with a long list of people to thank. We began working together in 2009 when the MediaClimate network, headed by Elisabeth Eide and Risto Kunelius, met for the first time in Istanbul, Turkey. The book would not have been possible without Elisabeth’s and Risto’s continuous, inexhaustible support. We are grateful for their invaluable intellectual input throughout the years, for the wonderful example they set as collaborative leaders, and for the opportunities they created for us to travel to UN climate summits as well as several relevant conferences and network events. We also wish to thank the other contributors to this network, researchers from more than 20 different countries (the exact number has varied slightly over the years). We are grateful to them for the data they contributed—which we draw on in this book—and for creating such a dynamic, fruitful environment at network gatherings. A special thanks goes to Dmitry Yagodin for helping us to access and process this network data.

We are grateful to several students and research assistants who helped us in various ways over the years. For coding of the Swedish press material, thanks to Maria Kabatanya (2009), Markus Mattisson (2011) and Emilia Roosvall (2013, 2015). At York University, Bryn Ludlow provided valuable research support prior to our fieldwork at the Paris climate summit (2015). ← xiii | xiv → Kristina Stenström at Stockholm University helped to transcribe some of the Swedish interview material (2016). We are also tremendously grateful to Ragnar Dybeck for creating the book cover, and to Ragnar and Oscar Dybeck for creating some of our visual material.

Thanks to Karin Becker and Anna-Lill Drugge for generous sharing and helpful scholarly input and advice. For input on specific chapters we thank Lilie Chouliaraki, Florencia Enghel, Kate Nash, Alexa Robertson, Adrienne Russell and Andreas Widholm. Their comments have been invaluable to us, and have helped us immensely in clarifying our arguments. Any remaining issues are, of course, our own responsibility.

Anna wishes to thank the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science for hosting her as a Visiting Fellow during the autumn semester of 2016, when much of the writing for this book was done. Special thanks to Lilie Chouliaraki for hosting Anna, for providing invaluable commentary on chapter drafts, as well as for being welcoming, generous and constantly inspiring. Huge thanks to Nick Couldry as well for taking time to discuss the project at several meetings and for the welcoming spirit. His input and advice were very helpful for the project’s development. Thanks also to Terhi Rantanen and Wendy Willems for pointing out fruitful paths to follow.

Matt wishes to thank his colleagues in the Department of Social Science at York University, especially Lisa Drummond and Kimberley White for providing invaluable feedback on the project at a critical juncture.

We are both grateful for thought-provoking questions and other input provided by our students, particularly those who took Media, Justice and Human Rights in the International Master Program in Media and Communication Studies at Stockholm University.

The project would not have been feasible without the funding received from Helsingin Sanomat Foundation; the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Minor Research Grant program at York University; and the Leading Research Environment in Global Media Studies and Politics of Mediated Communication in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University.

We also want to express our sincere gratitude to Series Editor Simon Cottle for his words of encouragement and insightful comments, and to the staff at Peter Lang; especially Acquisitions Editor Kathryn Harrison for her patience and continued support, and Production editor Jackie Pavlovic for facilitating the process. ← xiv | xv →

The indigenous activists, community leaders and politicians we interviewed deserve the grandest thank you of all. This book would not exist if they had not generously shared their time, knowledge, insights, ideas, histories, experiences and perspectives. Thus we thank: Saoudata Aboubacrine, Marie-Josee Artist, Dmitry Berezhkov, Raymond de Chavez, Olga Atsynga Letykai Csonka, Justeene Dammay, Anthony Debbarma, Jon Petter Gintal, Lene Kielsen Holm, Áile Jávo, Curtis Konek, Jordan Konek, Vibeke Larsen, India Logan-Riley, Mikaele Maiava, Diel Mochire, Per Jonas Partapuoli, Francois Paulette, Tito Puanchir, Victoria Sharakhmatova, Jannie Staffansson, Teanau Tuiono and Allison Akootchook Warden. We also wish to thank NGO worker and interviewee Tiina Kurvits. Special thanks to interviewee Pirita Näkkäläjärvi, journalist, activist and indigenous media manager, for contributing concrete advice on a research presentation and helpful suggestions in general.

Last but not least we want to thank our families, for book related discussions and for much needed diversion; for being our inspiration and for all the fun. Thanks to Mårten, Julia, Emilia and Moltas, and honorary family member Joel, on Anna’s team. And thanks to Lori, Elliott and Casey in Matt’s gang.

Anna Roosvall and Matthew Tegelberg
Stockholm and Toronto

| xvii →


APP Ability to Pay Principle

BPP Beneficiary Pays Principle

CHI Common Human Identity

CHS Common Human Status

COP Conference of the Parties

COP 15 Copenhagen Climate Summit (2009)

COP 16 Cancun Climate Summit (2010)

COP 17 Durban Climate Summit (2011)

COP 19 Warsaw Climate Summit (2013)

COP 21 Paris Climate Summit (2015)

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

NGO Non-Governmental Organization

PPP Polluter Pays Principle

TEK Traditional Ecological Knowledge

UN United Nations

UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ← xvii | xviii →

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNDRIP United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UDHR Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UN ILO 169 Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries

| 1 →

· 1 ·


Calling for Climate Justice!


XX, 214
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2018 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XX, 214 pp., 1 b/w ill., 5 color ill., 8 tables

Biographical notes

Anna Roosvall (Author) Matthew Tegelberg (Author)

Anna Roosvall received her PhD at Stockholm University, where she is Professor in the Department of Media Studies. In 2016 she was Visiting Fellow at LSE, London (Department of Media and Communications). Her publications include Communicating the Nation (2010, Inka Salovaara-Moring, co-editor). Matthew Tegelberg received his PhD from Trent University and is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Science at York University. He recently co-edited Media and Global Climate Knowledge: Climate Journalism and the IPCC (2017).


Title: Media and Transnational Climate Justice
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236 pages