Inter-Disciplinarity as a Tool for Action on Climate Change: Applying Social Science Methodology to Climate Change Initiatives within Local Government, Australia

By Melissa Nursey-Bray.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Climate change is a global problem that affects everyone. Climate change science has established that sea level rise, changes in snow melt regimes, hydrological cycles, fish stock, nutrient and heat flows, and coral bleaching are all effects that will impact on coastal communities. The costs of addressing climate change however are likely to fall disproportionately on local government, industries, communities, and workers. Responding to these changes will require more than good science, but the development of institutional strategies and political solutions that address the social, cultural and economic factors that profoundly influence how a problem of this magnitude can be resolved at local levels. This paper reports on a social science research project into climate change and local governments in Australia. This project applied discourse analysis to investigate the flexibility and capacity of local governments to respond to the effects of climate change predicted by the science. The paper highlights how the use of discourse enables an overview of both scientific and social science information to enable an inter-disciplinary understanding of issues within, and the socio-ecological resilience to, climate change in local government contexts. In turn this gives insights into what the core adaptation solutions might be to forge action on climate change.

Keywords: Climate Change, Social Science, Local Government, Australia

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp.93-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 610.852KB).

Dr. Melissa Nursey-Bray

Lecturer, Fisheries and Marine Environment, Australian Maritime College, Australia

Originally from Adelaide I came from a history and politics background to move into Indigenous resource management by training Indigenous Rangers in natural resource management across Northern Australia. I have since worked for government, Inidgenous groups, ENGOs and universities. My core interest is the investigation of how communities can become involved in and contribute to environmental management. Most recently this has included consideration of how social science can help build community capacity to resolve global problems such as climate change. I am currently a social sciences lecturer at the Australian Maritime College teaching courses in marine sustainability and management and the application of qualitative methodologies. I am co-convenor of the Social Sciences Climate Change Research Network (SSCCRN).

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