Reply To: September 8th: History, Conservation and politics, the example of Australia

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History September 8th: History, Conservation and politics, the example of Australia Reply To: September 8th: History, Conservation and politics, the example of Australia

Author Replies # Posted on September 10, 2014 at 08:55

In response to Ellen Lindblom:

I really like the phrase you use “communication with other levels”. I also wrote my response about what Robin said about scales of research and levels of perspective. I think it is such a good idea for you to read about and follow the research theme of climate shocks, also to read about other forms of societal shocks and how climatic shocks are unique/similar.
There is a really interesting body of literature dealing with so-called catastrophic climate change events, resilience theory etc, and I think that is a perfect way to plug your research into communication with other levels.
I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you have to be careful to not be blunt about distinctions and let the contemporary climate debate affect you in your work. I think that trying to remain impartial to contemporary issues of climate change and climate politics may be problematic. Whatever your views on the issues, they will affect the way you conduct and write about your research. I think it is a good idea to formalize your own perspectives and lay them out clearly in your thesis. Presumably your perspectives will also be influenced by your research, so you can discuss what phenomena conform to your beliefs and what has made you change them. It is just as interesting to discuss how our hypothesis are unsupported by the evidence as it is to discuss the opposite. Furthermore, it is far more engaging to examine how our expectations differ from reality, and why that may be, than it is to not discuss the discrepancies.
I am a big fan of relativistic writing/research. I believe that all researchers write their work around their own frame of reference, and that being so, we should be explicit about our backgrounds, and how our perspectives have changed or been enforced during the research process. I think this can be particularly difficult for early-stage researchers because it can feel a lot safer to not situate ourselves in our writing but instead stick to discussing the thoughts of more established colleagues. But the payoff comes when you can formulate original arguments, and it is so much more fun to write about things that you believe in than to cut and paste a narrative from what other people are saying. I guess I am encouraging you in your quest to communicate with other levels, but make sure to include your own voice, it’s interesting!! I want to hear what you think!