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Exploring Local Knowledge on Climate Variability in Bangladesh: a Cultural Psychological Inquiry

Abstract

This article looks at the impact of climate variability on communities in northeast Bangladesh through narrative-based interviews with community actors. We investigate the construction of climate knowledge looking particularly at processes of knowing by applying a cultural psychological approach. The findings reveal that personal experiences with weather were the most common source of knowledge on climate variability. Existing knowledge systems, such as the seasonal calendar aided participants in reasoning and sense making about changes, and elders, media outlets, and science formed the most trusted sources of climate information. Lessons drawn from the study emphasize a need to include cultural and contextual factors when investigating how people construct and build climate knowledge in the future.

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Acknowledgements

Firstly, we would like to thank the participants for sharing their stories and time with us. The authors would also like to thank the TRACKS project, especially Scott Bremer who contributed greatly to the paper with his guidance and feedback. Furthermore we would like to thank BCAS and the Bangladeshi research teams for organizing the data collection during fieldwork in Bangladesh. This study was made possible by the TRACKS project which is funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the KLIMAFORSK program.

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Correspondence to Madeleine Brørs Midtgaard.

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This study makes use of the data material belonging to the 646 TRACKS project, which received ethics approval from The Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD) on 647 the 1st of December 2014.

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Midtgaard, M.B., Madsen, O.J. Exploring Local Knowledge on Climate Variability in Bangladesh: a Cultural Psychological Inquiry. Hu Arenas 1, 431–448 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-018-0031-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-018-0031-9

Keywords

  • Climate knowledge
  • Weather
  • Personal epistemology
  • Cultural psychology
  • Bangladesh