Understanding climate change narratives in Central Asia: the power dynamics in vulnerable states

Bychkova, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3303-9150, 2023. Understanding climate change narratives in Central Asia: the power dynamics in vulnerable states. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis examines the social construction of climate change in the three Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It enquires how the topic is discussed, how and why, and who constructs the knowledge about climate change in each of the case studies. This is achieved by applying Foucault’s (1975) argument about the interconnectedness of power and knowledge in the meaning making processes. The study analyses various narratives constitutive of national ideas about climate change via Carvalho’s (2008) iteration of Critical Discourse Analysis with its focus on the actors involved in the knowledge production and social processes ‘outside’ the topic.

Through the analysis of legislations, media articles and expert interviews, this study has found that climate change narratives are shaped less by the genuine concern about the issue and more by the interests of political elites in these three authoritarian states. Political elites are dominant actors in making sense of the climate crisis, therefore, interestingly, this environmental problem is presented through economic interests, aspirations at the geopolitical level and attempts to facilitate domestic political regimes. Furthermore, the study finds that the Soviet legacies are still salient in today’s rhetoric being reflected in the attitude to nature and concerns over weakened national identity over the years of SU rule. Indeed, the complex politico-economic situation in the post-Soviet years is an important factor shaping climate change discourses in the successor states. Nonetheless, in the past years, the predominance of political interests in climate discourses has been having positive effects resulting in the three states being increasingly involved in global climate action. Yet, as the narratives are mediated by those in power, the next political change may result in the topic being taken off the agenda. Hence, the increased climate awareness and an inclusion of the non-state actors in setting the agenda are essential requirements for the countries to address the looming impacts of climate change.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Bychkova, A.
Poberezhskaya, M.Thesis supervisorPAS3POBERMorcid.org/0000-0001-6442-5292
El-Anis, I.Thesis supervisorHUM3ELANIIorcid.org/0000-0002-6918-4544
Gorry, J.Thesis supervisorPAS3GORRYJorcid.org/0000-0001-8258-1862
Date: September 2023
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 26 Jun 2024 08:28
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2024 08:28
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/51624

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