Epistemic geographies of climate change: the IPCC and the spaces, boundaries and politics of knowing

Mahony, M (2013) Epistemic geographies of climate change: the IPCC and the spaces, boundaries and politics of knowing. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Science, like other realms of human activity, has its geographies. It proceeds in and through space, and participates in the construction of the political and cultural geographies by which human interactions with the nonhuman come to be known, understood and governed. The phenomenon of climate change stands at this juncture of science, politics, and the elemental materiality of the nonhuman. High-profile controversies about the physical reality, effects and management of the changing climate point to more deep-seated contestations about the place of science in modern democratic societies. This thesis engages with literatures on the historical and cultural geographies of science in order to open-up questions about the situatedness of climate change knowledges, the contested boundaries between the scientific and the political, and the spatial politics of relating epistemic claims to normative interventions in the world. The thesis proceeds through a series of linked case studies which traverse a range of emergent transnational spaces of knowledge production. It begins inside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and moves through the contested spaces of international climate diplomacy at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks and through diverse cultures of knowledge authorisation in Indian climate politics. The thesis develops the notions of ‘boundary spaces’ and ‘epistemic geographies’ to capture the emergence, conjuncture and contestation of different modes of knowing and governing climate change. By following the objects of climate change knowledges – like visualisations, numerical targets, simulation models and predictions – conceptual distinctions between the spaces of knowledge production and consumption break down. Instead, a picture emerges of travelling knowledges which emphasises mutability, interpretive flexibility, and the spatial and discursive co-production of the epistemic and the normative. It is argued that by moving from ‘geographies of science’ to ‘epistemic geographies’, the hybridity of science and politics can be more effectively written-in to our accounts of contemporary knowledge politics.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2014 12:07
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2014 12:07
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48699
DOI:

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