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Media and Transnational Climate Justice

Indigenous Activism and Climate Politics


Anna Roosvall and Matthew Tegelberg

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.

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5 Activism, Agonism, Agency: Indigenous Peoples, Media Witnessing and the Political Game of the Summits


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Indigenous Peoples, Media Witnessing and the Political Game of the Summits

I think the bigger story is on the outside of the meetings and the relationships and the actions that are taking place with the coalitions, and the indigenous environmental network, and so forth, all of those wonderful actions, and the connections we are making as communities.

—Allison Akootchook Warden, Iñupiaq people (USA, COP21)

In this chapter we discuss the role of the political in relation to the role of politics, with a point of departure in Chantal Mouffe’s (2005, 2013) understanding of the political as the ideological side and politics as the institutionalized side. Most interviewees, many of whom work inside and outside of the UNFCCC summit structure, underline the role of activism for political results and for democracy more broadly. Allison Akootchook Warden stresses that activities outside of the summits in fact constitute the bigger story, implying that this is something media should focus on. However, the media focus, to a large extent, has been on what they frame as political games between nation-states negotiating inside the summits (Roosvall, 2010; Roosvall & Tegelberg, 2013). When activities outside the summit are covered, it is often not in ways that (indigenous) activists find relevant or just (Roosvall & Tegelberg, 2015). Here we identify not only a struggle over what the bigger story is, but also a struggle over what broader understandings of...

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