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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Climate and Development

For a Special Issue on
Power and (In)justice in Global Climate Governance: Collaborative Event Ethnography of the UNFCCC Process

Abstract deadline
14 September 2022

Manuscript deadline
15 February 2023

Cover image - Climate and Development

Special Issue Editor(s)

Emily Hite, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona (USA)
[email protected]

Charu Joshi, Center for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON), New Delhi (India)
[email protected]

Jamie Haverkamp, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine (USA)
[email protected]

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Power and (In)justice in Global Climate Governance: Collaborative Event Ethnography of the UNFCCC Process

We seek an interdisciplinary group of social scientists interested in conducting collaborative ethnographic research within the global climate governance arena. With this special issue, our goal is to assess the dynamics of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) arena through an interactive process of collaborative event ethnography, with particular attention to issues of  power and (in)justice.

International climate governance unfolds through periodic working group meetings and conferences hosted by the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC arena is conceptualized here as a global assemblage of thousands of actors from governments, NGOs, academia, civil society and a host of other non-state actors including media, who orchestrate policies and strategies for addressing climate change. The UNFCCC plays a central role in establishing and reinforcing norms, principles, and priorities regarding climate actions across political scales (Betsill et al., 2015) and therefore can “shape social reality, prompt action, and exert cognitive influence” (Saerbeck et al., 2020:110). However, institutional and structural barriers to the UNFCCC process create inaccessible spaces where representation by Indigenous peoples, local communities, and women-led organizations are excluded from climate negotiations (see Comberti et al., 2019; Frenova, 2021; Halgren, 2021; Jasanoff, 2021; Okereke and Coventry, 2016; Smith and Sharp, 2012). As a result, international climate policies are said to be “out of sync with local circumstances” and ineffective in solving complex problems (Whyte, 2013:522).

While social movements have long been concerned with integrating justice into UNFCCC processes (eg. Bhavnani, 2015), justice considerations have been slow to gain prominence in climate negotiations and their incorporation into policy solutions remains incremental and insufficient. While some protocols for procedural and distributional justice have advanced in global climate policy in the last decade, there is compelling evidence that structural inequalities persist and vulnerable communities continue to be those most adversely affected by climate change impacts and governance (Pulido, 2018; Sultana, 2021; Tomlinson, 2016).

Through application of collaborative event ethnography (CEE), contributing social scientists to the special issue will effectively examine the socio-political dynamics and intricacies of global climate governance as they are formulated throughout the UNFCCC process. CEE provides collaborators with the opportunity to “discuss and debate each other's observations and interpretations” resulting in the production of “a nuanced and powerful analysis" (Corson et al., 2014). Employing a CEE methodology, it is the aim of this special issue to bring together a collection of ethnographic accounts conducted at various locations throughout the “inaccessible spaces” of the UNFCCC network to address climate justice tensions, disconnects, and synergies across the global climate governance network.

Social scientists are invited to submit papers on topics informing climate governance including, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on local-global climate governance
  • Contested spaces (ex. inside and outside the COP venue)
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in negotiations (ex. anti-racist perspectives)
  • Decision-making processes and implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies (ex. Carbon/climate finance, loss and damage, etc.)
  • Climate justice of governance processes
  • Feminist and decolonial critiques of climate governance
  • Indigenous perspectives, including from the Local communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP)
  • Relations and interactions between local-global scales of climate governance
  • Activism and social movements

Submission Instructions

We seek contributing authors who have conducted research at COP meetings, intersessional and facilitative working group meetings, and/or at sites of protest and resistance to the UNFCCC process. Contributing authors will incorporate their experiences and knowledge into the iterative process of collaborative event ethnography by participating in writing workshops and meetings over a 6-month period: before, during, and after UNFCCC events.

Interested and qualified participants, please submit a 500 word abstract and answers to the following questions: What has been your experience working within the spaces of the UNFCCC? Do you plan to attend COP27 or other UNFCCC events this year? Describe your experience conducting ethnographic research as well as your collaborative research experience.

Submit these materials to the Guest Editors at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] by September 14, 2022.

Taking a collaborative event ethnography (CEE) approach, the special collection seeks an iterative and generative process through which authors collaborate and support the development of individual manuscripts over a six-month time horizon (September 2022 – February 2023). As such, all contributing authors are highly encouraged to participate in three virtual, 1.5-hour, CEE workshops throughout the write-up process (dates flexible to meet participant schedules).

  • Call for Papers, Abstract Due: September 14, 2022
  • Author Invitations Announced: September 16, 2022
  • CEE Workshop 1 (virtual): September 30, 2022
  • CEE Workshop 2 (virtual): October 31, 2022
  • CEE Meet-up at COP27: TBD (November 7-18, 2022)
  • CEE Workshop 3 (virtual): January 17, 2023
  • Full Manuscript to Journal: February 15, 2023

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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