“So many things have changed”: Situated understandings of climate change impacts among the Bassari, south-eastern Senegal - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Environmental Science & Policy Year : 2023

“So many things have changed”: Situated understandings of climate change impacts among the Bassari, south-eastern Senegal

Abstract

Mainstream discourses frame anthropogenic climate change as a biophysical apolitical problem, thus privileging Western science and silencing other worldviews. Through a case study among the Bassari, an ethnic group in South-Eastern Senegal, we assess the local, embodied, and situated understandings of climate change and the tensions that arise when the apolitical global climate change discourse interacts with situated understandings. Drawing on data from 47 semi-structured interviews and 176 surveys, we find that while the global climate change discourse has not permeated into the Bassari, they experience climate change through its many impacts on the biophysical and socio-economic systems. Results also highlight that climate is not considered the main or only driver of change, but that changes in elements of the climate system are inextricably linked with political and economic dynamics and environmental degradation. Finally, our results point toward the importance of values and supernatural forces in defining situated ways of conceptualizing, interpreting, and responding to change. By including situated worldviews in theoretical understandings of climate and environmental change, we contribute to the claims about the need to reframe how climate change is conceptualized. Our research emphasizes the importance of a relational view of climate change, which requires moving beyond understanding isolated climate change impacts towards defining climate change as a systemic problem. Building on feminist and decolonial literature, we argue for the need for more plural and democratic ways of thinking about climate change, crossing epistemological and ontological boundaries and including local communities and their knowledge and understandings.
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Dates and versions

hal-04477102 , version 1 (26-02-2024)

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Anna Porcuna-Ferrer, Laura Calvet-Mir, Théo Guillerminet, Santiago Alvarez-Fernandez, Vanesse Labeyrie, et al.. “So many things have changed”: Situated understandings of climate change impacts among the Bassari, south-eastern Senegal. Environmental Science & Policy, 2023, 148, pp.103552. ⟨10.1016/j.envsci.2023.103552⟩. ⟨hal-04477102⟩
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