The Sound of Skepticism Analyzing Climate Change Denial in Swedish Podcasts and YouTube Channels

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet / / Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap

Sammanfattning: This study explores Sweden's climate change denial by analyzing the spoken-word discourse of its countermovement, focusing on digital media content from Swedish parliament member Elsa Widding with an aim to provide empirical insights into the discourse of Sweden's Climate Change Countermovement (CCCM). Questions guiding this study are: What are the most prevalent topics and themes related to climate change denial and skepticism? How do they align with established categories of climate change denial, shaping the overall narrative? What mobilizing ideas and meanings are present, how are they shaped, and how do they contribute to the movement's goals? The material consists of Elsa Widding's complete audio-based "movement texts'' from 2019-2023, including YouTube content, podcasts, and appearances on Riks, totaling over 2000 minutes of audio transcribed into text via AI technology. Methodologically, this study adopts a mixed-method approach which blends computational pattern detection, topic modeling, clustering, and spatial relationship mapping techniques, along with qualitative content and framing analysis. Theoretically, the study employs a perspective which uses epistemic and response skepticism to examine climate change denial, viewing it through the lens of countermovements and social movement framing. The study's main contribution lies in the enablement of comprehensive analysis of a large audio-based dataset, achieved by leveraging recent AI advancements for reliable audio-to-text conversion combined with topic modeling. An approach which ensures a complete and representative exploration of the discourse, generating robust empirical insights into Sweden's CCCM digital spoken-word content. Key findings include the corpus´s high relevance, as all topics revolve around climate change, categorized into three thematic groups: the most prominent is epistemic skepticism; doubts about the science, factual basis, and evidence of climate change, questioning its existence. The second most prominent is response skepticism, referring to doubts about actions taken against climate change. The third, less prominent, theme encompasses extended skepticism, which goes beyond the climate issue. A close resemblance to the American CCCM discourse was identified, marked by generating confusion and doubt. Further, a recurring pattern of a juxtaposing narrative emerged, creating a clear demarcation between 'us' and 'them' - aiding in the generation of collective identity. Lastly, a near absence of motivational framing was a key finding, generating the conundrum: how this absence can be understood, especially in light of the countermovements recent success?

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