My research explores how contemporary rhetoric of climate change use imaginaries of time. In a current book project, I argue for the importance of anachronisms in political rhetoric. In my disseration, I discuss the politics of memory, eternal principles, progress and the actuality of the present, in dialogue with Hannah Arendt. I am Co-Founder and Chair of International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW). During a number of years, I participated in the TV and Radio gameshow Retorikmatchen.
Keywords: arendt temporality rhetorical theory indigenous rhetoric climate justice just transition youth mobilization fridays for future
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Interview in P4 Extra, on civil disobedience and Just Stop Oil (1:42:20-1:49:50). https://sverigesradio.se/avsnitt/2035480. 1 November, 2022.
Interview by TT News Agency, with subsequent publishing of the same article in many national and regional news sites, such as Göteborgsposten, Aftonbladet, Sydsvenskan, Nerikes Allehanda, on civil disobedience and climate activism. https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/O88Mjl/forskare-fredlig-civil-olydnad-ofta-effektiv, 25 October, 2022.
Interview in P3 Nyheter [national public radio news] in response to verdict on climate activists from Just Stop Oil (återställ våtmarkerna). 24 october, 2022
Interview in Dagens Nyheter [national newspaper] on civil disobedience tactics by climate activists, “Forskare om fastlimmade klimataktivister: ’Måste ständigt vara innovativa’”: https://www.dn.se/sverige/forskare-om-fastlimmade-klimataktivister-maste-standigt-vara-innovativa/. 11 September 2022.
Interview in Nyheter24 [online national news magazine] on how to see through politicians’ rhetorical tactics, “Så undviker du att gå på politikernas retoriska knep”: https://nyheter24.se/nyheter/1050348-sa-undviker-du-att-ga-pa-politikernas-retoriska-knep. 13 August 2022.
Interview in Nyheter24 [online national news magazine] on how to understand politicians’ rhetoric, “Så upptäcker du politikernas retoriska knep – enligt experterna”: https://nyheter24.se/nyheter/1047308-sa-upptacker-du-politikernas-retoriska-knep-enligt-experten. 10 August 2022.
Interview by TT News Agency, with subsequent publishing of the same article in many national and regional news sites, such as Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, and Sydsvenskan, on youth activists at Stockholm+50, “Greta Thunberg: Det finns inget att fira”: https://www.dn.se/sverige/greta-thunberg-det-finns-inget-att-fira/. 28 May 2022.
Interview in SVT Nyheter Öst [regional public TV News] on young climate activists at COP. 10 November 2021.
Interview in P1 Klotet [national public radio] in the episode ”Klimataktivismen får konsekvenser för en hel generation” regarding youth activism and protests:
https://sverigesradio.se/artikel/klimataktivismen-far-konsekvenser-for-en-hel-generation. 8 November 2021.
Interview in SVT Agenda [national TV program on current political topics] on young climate activists at COP. 31 October 2021.
Opinion piece and blog post for HumTank [national network for Humanities Research]: “glädjen och rasieriets estetik”:
Interview in ETC’s online climate magazine Rädda Planeten [national news paper aimed at children and youth] regarding school strike signs, “Så gör du en skylt till skolstrejken”:https://raddaplaneten.nu/sa-gor-du-en-skylt-till-nasta-skolstrejk/. 21 September 2021.
Interview in Sydsvenskan [regional news paper] on young climate activists’ litigation against states, “När klimatet möter juridiken”: https://www.sydsvenskan.se/2021-08-08/sluta-saga-till-oss-att-det-ar-lugnt. 8 August 2021.
Interview in Aftonbladet [national news paper] on the use of narratives in climate discourse, ”Kan en bra berättelse rädda planeten? Om filmen ’Greta’ och symbolernas betydelse för en fossilfri framtid”: https://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/a/nA9Blm/kan-en-bra-berattelse-radda-planeten. 21 November 2020.
Interview in P3 Eftermiddag [national public radio] on prime minister Stefan Löfven's Address to the nation, 23 March 2020.
Interview in Musikhjälpen [live event and national public radio] on writing speeches, December 2014.
Interview in P1 Förmiddag [national public radio] on The Rhetoric Game and the role of rhetoric in public debate, fall 2014.
- Researcher in Rhetoric, Uppsala University 2022-ongoing.
- Participating researcher in Youth Climate and Environmental Mobilisation in Swedish Politics:
Building an Inclusive and Sustainable Democracy.
- Participating researcher in Norden og verden – retorisk medborgerskab før, nu og i fremtiden.
- Participating research in the Research Program The Times of a Just Transition.
- Postdoctoral Researcher at Linköping University, 2020-2022, within the projects Growing Up in a Warming World: The Politics, Ethics, and Aesthetics of Youth Climate Justice Activism and Youth Representation in Global Politics: Climate, Migration and Health Governance Compared,
- Ph.D., Rhetoric, 2019-10-04.
- Founder and Chair of International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW).
- Guest researcher, Rhetoric and Public Culture, Northwestern University, 2013.
Current research projects
Youth Climate and Environmental Mobilisation in Swedish Politics
Recent years have seen an upsurge of climate and environmental mobilization by children and youth globally and in Sweden. Yet, while children and youth activists have become the front figures of environmental action, their participation in democratic decision-making on environmental governance is severely restricted because they are under the age of majority. Therefore, children and youth are venturing into different democratic arenas to push for more forceful climate change mitigation and protection of ecosystems. By analysing children and youth mobilization in three such arenas in Sweden—the public sphere, the courts, and the political institutions—this project seeks to examine the institutional conditions, the actions and strategies, and the effects of children and youth’s exercise of their right to democratic participation in Swedish environmental politics. Methodologically, the project combines document analysis with qualitative interviews, participant observations, and digital ethnography to explore practical and formal barriers as well as possibilities of the children and youth to take environmental action. The project contributes knowledge on the effects of youth climate mobilization: how the mobilization forms the children and youth’s understanding of democratic citizenship, how mobilization is shaped by, and shapes, the democratic arenas in which they take place as well as what impacts the mobilization has on Swedish environmental politics.
The Times of a Just Transition
The idea of a Just Transition is not just a political idea, it is an idea that is steeped in particular conceptions of Time. It implies a before and after, a moment of change and disruption. This is characteristic of much of the public debate about climate change which is riven with contested temporal frames: should we think about future generations or the needs of the present? Are we talking about one slow change or multiple, rapid shifts? How can we coordinate the timescales of indigenous nations, industrial processes, carbon, politics?
The aim of this programme is to bring together an interdisciplinary global network of scholars to ask:
- How does Time play a role in shaping our understanding of what constitutes a Just Transition?
- What temporal frames tend toward justice for both people and other beings?
- What tools for thinking with and about Time can facilitate democratic public climate debate?
Previous research projects
Youth Representation in Global Politics: Climate, Migration and Health Governance Compared
One-third of the world’s population is today under the age of 18. As their future will be impacted by on-going geopolitical changes, their voices in deliberations on critical transboundary issues, such as climate, health and migration, are increasingly called for. In the UN system children and youth have been identified as one of the “major groups” whose participation is critical to create effective, accountable and sustainable global institutions. In practice, however, the involvement of children and youth in matters of global governance remains contested.
In this project we compare how, and by whom, young people are represented in contemporary global governance institutions and what the effects of such representations are in three salient domains; climate, migration and health. The project combines text analysis of key international policy documents, negotiation texts, policy briefs and position papers with participant observations and qualitative interviews across the three domains. While transformations of global institutions and the increasing agency of non-state actors are established themes in International Relations (IR), by focusing on children and youth as political agents, this project adds to an emerging research program on youth, IR and governance.
Growing up in a warming world: The Politics, Ethics and Aesthetics of Youth Climate Justice Activism
Thunberg’s strike has stirred public debate and growing realization that climate change no longer is a problem of a distant future. The Fridays for Future movement is now mobilizing children and youth across the world in the quest for intergenerational climate justice. Through street protests, social media events and political actions at UN climate conferences, this global youth movement is giving political voice and energy to a new generation of environmental activists who will grow up in—and bear the burdens of—a warming world.
The aim of this project is to examine the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of the Fridays for Future movement. We analyze the stories told by children and youth about our warming world and the political and ethical horizons they open up in the quest for intergenerational climate justice.
Speaking Other Times: Hannah Arendt and the Temporality of Politics (Diss.)
Political rhetoric frequently utilizes imaginaries of time. Ideas of an eternally sanctioned principle, a historical tradition, a future to come, or a radical change in the present are all part of the temporal toolkit of political rhetoric. The role of these imaginaries has provoked growing interest in rhetorical and political theory, and this thesis contributes to this line of scholarship by offering the first comprehensive examination of political temporalities in the works of Hannah Arendt.
In Arendt’s political thought, the temporal imaginaries differ depending on forms of government, and each chapter of the thesis addresses, in turn: tyranny as depending on an eternal principle introduced into contingent worldly time; authority as legitimized by reiterations of tradition; totalitarianism as justified by a trans-historical and ever-changing future; and finally, politics as empowered by the present’s antagonistic negotiations with past memories and future anticipations. Important observations are that the temporal imaginaries of tyranny, authority, and totalitarianism facilitate rhetorical practices that utilize force, violence, hierarchy, and domination. And, in contrast, that the temporalities of politics enable antagonistic speech, action, and formation of public opinion through judgment. The thesis thus provides a systematic account of the political imaginary of eternity, past, future, and present in the thought of Arendt, and contributes to conceptual development in the field of Arendtian scholarship, rhetorical theory, and the study of political temporalities.
The study concludes that each examined temporal imaginary is comprised of plural and intersecting temporal logics where, for example, eternal principles can utilize the futurity of threat, memories of the past can spark revolutions, and anticipations of the future can stabilize the present. By mobilizing the concept of anachronism, the thesis argues that these conflicting temporal intersections carry persuasive and performative potential. In Arendt’s discussions of temporality, power, and modes of rhetorical expression, certain anachronistic imaginaries take form that carry freedom-enabling potential: by speaking other times, politics receives the power to realize freedom.
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