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Earthworks: The geopolitical visions of climate change cartoons

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kathryn Manzo


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This paper asks how climate change cartoons work to communicate geopolitical visions of time, space and power. I make the argument that visuality is integral to climate change communication in ways that are frequently paradoxical. Dominant visual forms of evidence and iconic images help to make climate change real while simultaneously impeding full understanding of the debates and issues around climate change. In this context, at a time when visuality and climate change discourse have become co-constitutive, the paper explores the capacity of political cartoons to effectively represent the geopolitics of climate change. The empirical focus is the data set of cartoons submitted in 2008 to an international political cartoon competition called Earthworks. The entries collectively represent different geopolitical visions of climate change. They also suggest a critical role for cartoons in climate change communication – not as purveyors of visual evidence of climate change but as effective forms of visual commentary on the relations of power and knowledge within which climate change communication and debates are located.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manzo K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Geography

Year: 2012

Volume: 31

Issue: 8

Pages: 481-494

Print publication date: 10/10/2012

ISSN (print): 0962-6298

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5096

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2012.09.001


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