Our research project aims to provide insights into the religious vocabularies used in climate change discourse in the Netherlands and abroad. We approach the topic with a critical discourse analysis lens, focusing on the ideological and practical impact of religious vocabularies on climate change discourse. Through this project, we hope to broaden the understanding of the cultural, religious, and spiritual values that often underlie public debate on climate change. By doing so, we aim to contribute to more constructive choices in the language used to address specific issues and people for better results, improve communication about this crucial issue between all partners involved, and facilitate collaboration across religious and ideological boundaries.
Our research team consists of experts in the fields of Religious Studies/Theology, Media Studies, and Social Sciences. We will employ an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, combining our different areas of expertise to provide a unique perspective on the topic. Our research will be conducted at Tilburg University’s School of Catholic Theology, which focuses on the origin and varied receptions of Jewish and Christian sources in Western culture. The project aligns with the school’s strategic plan to profile itself more strongly both nationally and internationally as a teaching and research center concerning religious literacy for the twenty-first century.
To achieve our goals, we will carry out three work packages that focus on mapping, analyzing, and interpreting the use of religious vocabularies in the social media of groups engaged in climate change discourse in the Netherlands and abroad. We will compare the Dutch groups' international connections and synthesize our findings in a final report to be presented at an international conference.
We aim to communicate our findings to the wider national and international community by means of regularly posted blogs on our website, knowledge clips that can be used for educational purposes, open access general media in the Netherlands and possibly abroad, interviews and opinion articles in major Dutch newspapers, and both Dutch and international sites. We will organize a national symposium in collaboration with a major newspaper and an adjacent open access publication to present the results of our research about the Netherlands. We will also explore the possibility of developing a card game to encourage dialogue and discussion about religion and climate change in group settings.
Our research project's scientific impact will consist primarily of providing new insights that fill the gap in present-day academic research on apocalypticism, religion, and climate change. We aim to contribute to the academic community's understanding of the use of religious vocabularies in climate change discourse outside the Anglo-Saxon world in general and the Netherlands more specifically. By focusing on the religious imagery and rhetoric used by diverse groups, we aim to provide a unique perspective on the topic. We will communicate our results to the wider national and international community by means of an international conference in Tilburg and related volume as well as presentations at different international and interdisciplinary conferences during the project.
In conclusion, our research project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the role of religious vocabularies in climate change discourse, with the ultimate goal of improving communication and collaboration between diverse groups in addressing this crucial issue.