Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

Social Science of Climate Change

University of Bath



Sun Yixian

Undergraduate lecture

Documentary Video / Films

Anthropogenic climate change is now recognised as “the” central societal problem of the 21st century. This unit aims to engage with a range of social scientific analysis of the gap between the consensual scientific understanding of the problem and the mobilisation of policy and behaviour change to address it. This involves a diverse range of disciplinary perspectives drawing on politics, political economy, economics and policy analysis to sociology, management, anthropology and psychology to the problem. By offering this multi-disciplinary social scientific perspective on climate change, the unit intends to equip participants with analytical approaches which enable them to make sense of the core debates and discourses on climate change.

- To examine the concept of anthropogenic climate change and the reasons for action and inaction in response to scientific knowledge about its social and environmental implications.
- To equip students with a range of social scientific theoretical perspectives on the relationship between scientific knowledge about climate change implications and public responses. This includes an ability to analyse local, national and international interests that perpetuates inaction, and the social dynamics that make policy and behaviour change difficult.
- To analyse the distributional consequences of failure to take action and examine new concepts such as climate justice being developed to address this.
- To examine social, economic and political responses to the problem such as solidarities and movements, and the creation and implementation of alternative visions and approaches to societal development.