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SUSTAINABILITY WEEK: Further Adventures in Coat Hunting: Cultural Geographies of Climatic Accommodation and How We Might Do Them

Dr Russell Hitchings, UCL Department of Geography
Tuesday 30th October 2012 - 4:00pm
Council Chamber, Glamorgan Building

Public Seminar series hosted by the Environment Research Group

This paper considers the difference between how climate change is studied by social scientists and how it is dealt with by people. Social scientists arrived late to the climate change party and began by drawing on particular concepts as a consequence of how the topic was being framed when they got there.

If we understand climate change as an abstract problem with reference to the promotion of concerted societal action, certain techniques naturally become appropriate. Yet, if we understand climate change as an intimate problem with reference to how identified social groups live with outdoor conditions, we might start researching rather differently.

This paper considers what we know about how different groups are coming to live with their local climates and then makes the case for a cultural geography approach to this topic. As a way of framing the discussion, I track the movements of coats around the world. Where are they becoming more prevalent, where are they falling out of use, and what can all this tell us about how we will live with climates of the future?