Climate change is real, and its effects are now increasingly felt around the world. But although a global phenomenon, climate change is understood and experienced differently in different places. This ENLIGHT module will undertake a multi-disciplinary exploration of local perspectives of climate change and its impacts in European localities of the ENLIGHT network university cities and campuses. As a student of this module, you will learn about place-based socio-cultural dimensions of climate change and conduct empirical research on what challenges are seen as a result of the impacts of global climate change by citizens of your university city or surrounding region. To prepare yourself for this task, you will become part of a cross-university online classroom with students from all over the ENLIGHT network as well as a multidisciplinary team of teachers from the University of Göttingen, the University of Groningen and Uppsala University. This class will prepare you with social science theories on climate change, key concepts of climate science, policy, and activism as well as qualitative methodological training for data collection and analysis. You will start your research during the semester at your own location and can analyze and present your data during an on-site week in Göttingen from 12.06.2022 to 17.06.2022. This will give you the chance to get to know the students and faculty from the other universities that you have previously only met online. In addition, you will get to know the university city of Göttingen in central Germany and learn about the different perspectives of its citizens and the consequences and challenges of climate change for the city on the ground.
The aim of this module is to guide students from various study programs on master (as well as advanced bachelor)-level to conduct research on what challenges are seen as a result of the impacts of global climate change by citizens of our university cities and other regions.
At the end of this course, the students will be able to:
- Describe the impacts of and responses to climate change across spatial and temporal scales enriched through local empirical case studies embedded in the broadly defined social science framework.
- Examine the local impact of climate change in relation to policy processes, visions, subjectivities, narratives and viewpoints as well as the ethical and cultural dimensions of climate change.
- Identify key concepts in climate change research including interactions between mitigation, adaptation, vulnerability, loss and damage, climate justice and net-zero futures.
- Apply theoretical approaches from the social sciences to local views on climate change.
- Develop and implement a research project in multidisciplinary groups including students from each of the three universities with an empirical focus on local manifestations of climate change impacts, responses, and perspectives.
- Create visions for a sustainable future and their outcomes and reflect on them critically.
Furthermore, with respect to the empirical research the students conduct as part of the module, they will be able to explain and apply qualitative research methods based on the theoretical framework of grounded theory such as topic-specific, semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and field visits and/or other creative research methods. They will be able to utilize transcription and coding methods in order to identify patterns in their data. They will further learn to analyze and discuss their findings in a comparative way by drawing on their different local perspectives and create an overview of their results in a comprehensive format of their choice (e.g. a brochure, a poster etc.), thus being familiarized with the concept of public outreach and (further) evolving transversal skills.
The course will take place from 19.04.2022 - 17.06.2022 (8 weeks) with the On-Site-Week (week 9) taking place 13.06.2022 - 17.06.2022 in Göttingen
Preparatory weeks (Week 1-5)
Introduction: Climate Change from a Social Science Perspective
Introduction: Climate Change and the Local
Theory: Climate Change Key Concepts
Methods I: Qualitative Research
Methods II: Analysis of Qualitative Data
Research weeks (Week 6-8)
Over the course of the three weeks, the students do research at their respective localities. The topical lessons during these weeks provide an inspiration to their research. They will have to document their research experiences in their respective portfolios.
- Topic 1 e.g., Climate Change and Emotions
- Topic 2 e.g., Climate Justice
- Topic 3 e.g., Climate Change and Tourism
On-Site week and End of Course (Week 9), 13.06.2022 - 17.06.2022
The central goal of the on-site week is to bring the students into direct physical exchange with each other and to evaluate, compare, and present the empirical data collected in the previous weeks.
Poster Presentation and Portfolio
Prof. Dr. Elfriede Hermann (University of Göttingen)
Ulrika Persson-Fischier, Ph.D. (Uppsala University)
Ethemcan Turhan, Ph.D. (University of Groningen)