© 2015

Grounding Global Climate Change

Contributions from the Social and Cultural Sciences

  • Heike Greschke
  • Julia Tischler

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Heike Greschke, Julia Tischler
    Pages 1-16
  3. Interdisciplinarity, Climate Research and the Role of the Social Sciences

  4. Searching for the Social Facts of Global Climate Change: Ethnographic Perspectives

  5. Spinning Global Webs of Local Knowledges: Collaborative and Comparative Ethnographies

  6. Concluding Statement

About this book


This book traces the evolution of climate change research, which, long dominated by the natural sciences, now sees greater involvement with disciplines studying the socio-cultural implications of global warming. While most of social climate change research focuses on how people deal with environmental stresses and possible ways of adaptation, this volume foregrounds the question: What are the theoretical and methodological challenges of investigating climate change in different disciplines?

In their Introduction, the editors chart the changing role of the social and cultural sciences in climate change research, delineating different research strands that have emerged over the past few years. Part I of the book explores the prospects and challenges of interdisciplinarity in climate change research, connecting the points of view of a plant ecologist, a historian and a social anthropologist. Parts II and III provide ethnographic insights in a wide range of ‘climate cultures’ by exploring the social and cultural implications of global warming in particular contexts and communities, stretching from hunter communities in the High Arctic and the Canadian Subarctic over Dutch and Cape Verdian island communities and the metropolitan citizens of Tokyo to pastoralist families in the West African Sahel. Thereby, Parts II and III explore ethnography’s potential to produce locally-grounded knowledge about global phenomena, such as climate change.

Uniting the different approaches, all authors engage critically with the research subject of climate change itself, reflecting on their own practices of knowledge production and epistemological presuppositions.


Canadian Subarctic West African Sahel climate cultures ecological novelty multi-sited ethnography

Editors and affiliations

  • Heike Greschke
    • 1
  • Julia Tischler
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Sociology – Faculty of Social Sciences and Cultural StudiesJustus-Liebig-UniversityGiessenGermany
  2. 2.International Research Center “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History”Humboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

Bibliographic information


“Grounding Global Climate Change considers the roles that the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, history, and social geography can play in studying and shaping an understanding of climate change. … The strongly theoretical focus of the work will make it most valuable to those with strong backgrounds in the social sciences and an interest in interdisciplinary research. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and above.” (J. L. Rhoades, Choice, Vol. 52 (9), May, 2015)