Media coverage and research on the topic of climate change sustainability politics are abundant. So far, however, the concept of climate change and ecological sustainability and its consequences and political implications has been discussed predominantly on the level of elites, both politically and scientifically. More and more, however, the focus now seems to shift toward the group of citizens. For example, while some research focuses on the hotly debated issue of if and how more sustainable consumption of citizens may help in solving the climate crisis, others have indicated that the topic of climate crisis and also sustainability politics may result in even more societal polarization between those in favor of and against those policies.
In this course, we will hence take a more detailed look on the link between citizens on the one side, and climate change and (ecological) sustainability politics on the other side. Hence, we will try to answer the following questions: What are citizens’ perceptions of and attitudes toward climate change and sustainability politics? How do these perceptions differ from citizens’ actual behavior in the regard? And what may be done to close the (so far postulated) gap between attitudes and behavior? Finally, we will reflect on the effects of citizens’ attitudes and behavior regarding climate change and sustainability politics on societal polarization.
Students aiming to take this class should have a strong command of quantitative methods and should be willing to read a lot.