Climate emotions and emotional climates. The emotional map of ecological crises and the blind spots on our sociological landscapes
Neckel, Sighard; Hasenfratz, Martina – 2021
The public debate on climate change and environmental destruction belongs to those social conflicts that are carried out with an especially great emotional intension. In these disputes, the facet of emotions ranges from negative feelings such as shame, guilt and grief, to positive ones such as hope and compassion. In our paper, we put a focus on these feelings, drawing a conceptual map of emotions triggered by ecological crises. In doing so, our aim is to highlight the ambivalences of the intense emotionality of climate change and its societal effects. The great attention and the reflexivity accorded to ‘climate emotions’, however, should not obscure the view towards those emotional dynamics that are responsible for concealing and denying ecological problems. Based on ethnographic and other empirical studies from social sciences we outline that it is precisely these little-illuminated aspects of emotional re-framing and public emotional silence, which often turn out to be particularly consequential moments in politics. Hence, the emotional motives behind the scene should not go unnoticed in sociological research on emotions within the ecological crises.