Communicating climate action : Combining action repertoires and linguistic repertoires in social movement message construction

Sammanfattning: The climate crisis is one of the largest global challenges that humanity has ever faced. Despite the scientific consensus on the threat, action is not occurring on the pace or level needed to stave off the consequences. As climate change is made up by complex and conjoined causes and effects, the issue is also riddled with communicative challenges which those calling for action need to tackle. Climate change communication research has, however, mainly focus on how traditional news media frame the climate change issue and overlooks climate activist and movement groups. This despite these actors being key for shifting public perceptions and public opinion. Although research on other communication actors exist, it is far from extensive and the research field overlooks the publics perceptions of the sender in relation to the construction of climate messages. Through survey data and an experiment, this doctoral thesis explores the public’s inclination towards different protest action repertoires and addresses the research gap in the climate movement message construction. Herein, the actions and words of three subgroups within the larger environmental movement is considered as one part of a larger message whole. The groups chosen action repertoires are viewed as part of the activists’ performed message and the linguistic communication styles created by lexical choices related to emotional appeals are part of the activists’ verbal/textual message. The results indicate that there is much to be gained from adhering to an alignment between lexical choices and action repertoires. Alignment may be key for understanding why some movement subgroups are successful in inspiring certain actions whilst others inspire other actions. Communication-action alignment is a way to approach the interconnectedness of actions and words for complex and abstract issues that require message recipients to construct consonant mental models to break potential cognitive dissonance.