732353 Governments and society in climate emergency (in Eng.)

Vortragende/r (Mitwirkende/r)
Steurer, Reinhard , Scherhaufer, Patrick
Angeboten im Semester
Sommersemester 2024
Unterrichts-/ Lehrsprachen


The seminar addresses two related topics. First, it explores why governments and societies struggle with the energy transition and decarbonization policies. In addition to economic interests and power-related issues, the seminar focuses on socio-psychological dynamics such as denialism and hyocrisy, both resulting in political disengagement or even "solution aversion". Second, the seminar contrasts politcal disengagement and solution aversion by the "silent majority" with empowerment strategies and grass-roots engagement as promising counter dynamics. In addition to conventional forms of participation, the seminar focuses also on different forms of civil resistance.
Overall, the seminar provides a deeper understanding of hindering and empowering forces, both playing key roles in shaping the climate emergency.

Inhaltliche Voraussetzungen (erwartete Kenntnisse)



Students learn about the political and societal failure to address the climate emergency adequately so far. They learn to understand the discrepancies between scientifically necessary action and political realities. Students learn to critically question the significance of actors, their world views, interests and their logic of action/inaction. By doing so, they get a better understanding about why we are still not able to mitigate but instead further accelerate the climate crisis. Based on this understanding, we explore ways and means to change this. Since bottom-up initiatives of climate activism are a promising part of the solution, students learn about their strategies and practices of legal and illegal forms of political participation and their potential impacts on the socio-ecological transformation.

Reading, summarizing and discussing scientific literature.

Professional/vocational competencies:
The seminar gives students a profound understanding of societal ignorance and disengagement on the one hand and of societal engagement as well as empowerment on the other. They learn to identify ways and means to influence public discourses and policy making in a still accelerating climate emergency.

Personal competencies:
Understanding and reflecting on one's own role in democratic systems and creating motivation for engagement.
Practicing mindfulness and discussions on equal terms.
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