Professor Jane Suiter has been awarded a prestigious Consolidator Laureate Award. The Project, COMDEL, Examining the Potential of Communicative Deliberation for Climate Action, IRCLA/2022/3896, runs from September 2022-August 2026.
COMDEL’s ambition is to advance frontier research on the role of deliberation in addressing climate change. Specifically, it aims to deliver new theoretical and empirical insights into the capacity of deliberation to bridge communication and knowledge gaps between climate scientists, citizens, media actors, and elite policymakers concerning climate change. It is premised on the idea that finding ways to overcome these gaps is essential in order to develop cohesive and collective climate action and to combat widespread climate disinformation and vested interests. This entails drawing together three distinct disciplines – deliberative democracy, science communication, and political psychology–to advance a novel and evidence-based understanding of effective democratic communication.
Heeding Boykoff’s (2019) call to “smarten up” communications about climate change to match the demands of a twenty-first-century communications environment, COMDEL will (a) be the first comprehensive beyond state-of-the-art study that brings together the multi-disciplinary literature on democratic innovations (specifically transmission theory), misperception corrections, and climate change communication, through a focus on the deliberative communication in the public sphere between elites and citizens. (b) analyse the interventions within deliberative systems that can inoculate citizens in both the mini and maxi-public against climate change misperceptions. (c) study the dissemination of denier and rebuttal narratives through platforms, mainstream media, and parliamentary speech. (d) establish whether assemblies can help elites move towards climate action and withstand lobbying and information campaigns from vested interests. (e) build an innovative empirical and theoretical framework for enabling deliberative communication across the public sphere, helping to inoculate society against the worst pathogens of climate change disinformation.
In order to achieve its objectives using the conceptual framework outlined above, COMDEL will use an array of methodological approaches, both qualitative and quantitative, each of them addressing a specific research question, for example, theory building, conceptual mapping, experimentation, text mining and content analysis (knowledge graphs).