Annabel standing outside in front of a hedge

Prize winning dissertation

Congratulations to Annabel Johnson, Media and Environmental Communication BA(Hons), who is this year’s winner of our research Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics undergraduate Dissertation Award!

Annabel’s dissertation was entitled, ‘A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of the Representation of Climate Change in David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet, from an eco-feminist perspective’ for which she was awarded a first class mark of 80.

Using an ecofeminist lens, the dissertation evaluates the documentary as a form of climate communication, questioning how it might reinforce problematic nature/culture distinctions and unequal power relations. Ecofeminism seeks to explore how patriarchal systematic structures such as capitalism simultaneously oppresses women and all non-human nature and are the root causes of climate change.

It is also concerned with problematics separation of nature and culture and rejects western dualisms. The dissertation argues that A Life On Our Planet does enforce nature/culture separations through its visual rhetoric, and reproduces unequal power relations by representing climate change as a specifically western issue for the future while also attributing blame towards overpopulation from the Global South. In doing so it fails to question the underlying structures such as capitalism that cause climate change and problematically situates climate responsibility with those who have contributed the least, and in doing so it fails to hold patriarchal structures to account.

We would like to congratulate Annabel on an excellent dissertation that addresses the cultural politics of climate change through a critical analysis of popular media forms of climate communication through a focus upon the nature documentary, and Attenborough’s work in particular.

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