Bearing Witness? Polar Bears as Icons for Climate Change Communication in National Geographic

Autor(en)
Dorothea Born
Abstrakt

This article investigates how polar bears were established as icons of climate change in the popular science magazine National Geographic. In a multistep process, anthropomorphized depictions first established polar bears as subjects of identification. Then, polar bears were visually connected to the endangered Arctic. Finally, they emerged as ambassadors of a threatened ecosystem and icons of climate change. I highlight the wider political contexts of this process of iconization and the semiotic and cultural resources on which it draws, showing what kind of climate change communication the polar bear icon enables or inhibits. The icon lends itself to being deployed in visual communication strategies creating personal concern and public awareness for climate change. At the same time, the icon fosters an individualized, emotionalized, and localized account of climate change but does not make its wider causes visible.

Organisation(en)
Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung
Journal
Environmental Communication
Seiten
1-15
Anzahl der Seiten
15
ISSN
1752-4032
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2018.1435557
Publikationsdatum
12-2018
Publikationsstatus
Elektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
509017 Wissenschaftsforschung
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Environmental Science (miscellaneous), Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/bearing-witness-polar-bears-as-icons-for-climate-change-communication-in-national-geographic(cdee1630-f053-4d6d-b988-bbe50f53f1f0).html