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Public Perceptions of Global Climate Change

A Case Study from the Frankfurt Area


Ralf Schüle

Taking public perceptions of global climate change as an example for contemporary environmental studies from the social sciences, this study from the Frankfurt area experiments with new ways of data generation and data analysis: Concerning the former, moderated focus groups are used in which computer models are presented to inform the participating public about global environmental issues. Concerning the latter, an improved ideal type methodology is applied. After exploring different dimensions of the participants’ perceptions of the climate issue (e.g. framings, expectations from experts, change of perceptions during the group process), four ideal types of climate protection and four types of knowledge processing among the general public are differentiated. Both methodology and empirical findings are related to the theory of Reflexive Modernization.
Contents: Reflexive Modernisation and the investigation of public perceptions of global climate change – Public perceptions of global climate change: framings, images of the future, and expectations from experts – Towards the construction of ideal types of action and learning.