Call for Papers: Special Issue titled “Grappling with the Climate Crisis: Emotionally, Psychologically, Existentially”
The climate crisis is not just a scientifically complex environmental problem, but it is also a profound psychological problem of existentialist sense-making. It is a temporary and spatially unbounded phenomenon, unfolding at a speed that is both unprecedented in the geological history of the earth and yet too slow to be easily perceptible within the context of day-to-day human experience, knowing neither national nor geographical boundaries, yet manifesting locally in a myriad of different ways. It extends indefinitely into the future while presenting such diverse immediate problems as food shortage, extreme weather, inter-group conflict, displacement, and state failure. It raises fundamental questions about our relationship with time, space, technology, and each other. Global climate change challenges our sense of self and place in the world, posing moral conundrums and eliciting manifold contradictory emotions, while demanding that we come to terms with far-reaching changes in our immediate physical and psychosocial environment. How we meet this challenge has far-reaching consequences for life on this planet.
Research in psychology and sociology has started to investigate these existentially unsettling aspects of the climate crisis, documenting, for example, the phenomenon of climate anxiety in individuals (Clayton 2020) or theorizing strategic avoidance as an emotion management strategy to keep climate change-related fears at bay (Norgaard 2006). Yet, sense-making happens in a variety of ways (e.g. via narratives, metaphors, or images) and fear and anxiety are not the only emotions in the face of the climate crisis. Further, given that climate change has a fundamentally transnational dimension and requires large-scale internationally coordinated action, it is important that we understand how international actors—from states to international organizations, social groups, or multinational companies—make sense of the climate crisis and their role in it.
To this end, the Czech Journal of International Relations invites contributions exploring the international politics of climate change sense-making. Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- How is the threat of climate change constructed differently across cultures and different social groups? Whose, or what kind of, conceptions dominate?
- How does the climate crisis challenge our sense of self and place in the world? What taken-for-granted assumptions are undermined?
- What emotions feature in the discourse about climate change and whose emotions matter? How do emotions like anger, frustration, guilt, shame, boredom, or even hope shape actor behaviour?
- How do climate change-induced existential anxieties and dislocations intersect with existing inequalities and hierarchies?
- What are some of the moral dilemmas actors are faced with?
- How do actors justify inaction on climate change to themselves and to others? How do they deal with cognitive dissonance?
- What kind of narratives or emotion management strategies are conducive to bringing about meaningful action on climate change?
- What is the role of images and imaginaries in making sense of the climate crisis?
- What can we learn from non-Western cosmologies about how to approach the climate crisis and make sense of our place in the universe?
We ask potential contributors to submit an abstract (no longer than 250 words) and a title page including a short biography of all the authors by December 1, 2023. Accepted contributors will be notified by December 14. After acceptance of the abstract, full manuscripts of 7000-11000 words should be submitted by May 17, 2024. The special issue will be published in CJIR’s first issue of 2025 (in print 1st of April). However, the articles will appear as ‘online first’ as soon as they are accepted and produced by the journal.
All abstracts and title pages should be submitted to the CJIR Editor-in-chief Michal Kolmaš at firstname.lastname@example.org. The issue is edited by Dr. Nina C. Krickel-Choi (Lund University).
The Czech Journal of International Relations (CJIR) is a peer-reviewed, Open Access academic journal that publishes scholarly work in International Relations (IR), and other related disciplines. It is indexed in Web of Science , ranking in the third quartile of the International Relations category (114/159). It has been published continuously since 1966 by the Institute of International Relations Prague.