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Mapping the climate sceptical blogosphere

Sharman, Amelia (2014) Mapping the climate sceptical blogosphere. Global Environmental Change, 26. pp. 159-170. ISSN 0959-3780

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.03.003


While mainstream scientific knowledge production has been extensively examined in the academic literature, comparatively little is known about alternative networks of scientific knowledge production. Online sources such as blogs are an especially under-investigated site of knowledge contestation. Using degree centrality and node betweenness tests from social network analysis, and thematic content analysis of individual posts, this research identifies and critically examines the climate sceptical blogosphere and investigates whether a focus on particular themes contributes to the positioning of the most central blogs. A network of 171 individual blogs is identified, with three blogs in particular found to be the most central: Climate Audit, JoNova and Watts Up With That. These blogs predominantly focus on the scientific element of the climate debate, providing either a direct scientifically-based challenge to mainstream climate science, or a critique of the conduct of the climate science system. This overt scientific framing, as opposed to explicitly highlighting differences in values, politics, or ideological worldview, appears to be an important contributory factor in the positioning of the most central blogs. It is suggested that these central blogs are key protagonists in a process of attempted expert knowledge de-legitimisation and contestation, acting not only as translators between scientific research and lay audiences, but, in their reinterpretation of existing climate science knowledge claims, are acting themselves as alternative public sites of expertise for a climate sceptical audience.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2014 12:35
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 00:09
Funders: London School of Economics and Political Science, Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy

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