WP4 – Cultural Images and Perceptions

Leads: Henning Waerp and Daniel Chartier

WP4 proposes to develop “Cultural Images and Perceptions of the North Atlantic”. It will study the shifting cultural and historical images and perceptions from the outside and inside of the NA as a source to seize a global complex view of the region and its major actual tensions and challenges. Northern discursive sources testify to cultural representations affecting human activities. They illustrate a perception of a real situation, where the climate is often at the center. The influence of the climate, its variations and its perception are translated differently according to the speaker and his motive of enunciation. Whether it is long-term climatic variations or exceptional meteorological events, these perceptions are based on the relationship to the place, the vulnerability and the resilience of the populations. Thus human-nature relationships are constantly redefined in response to environmental changes. Beyond the scientific approach, the discursive approach would bring climate analysis back to human perception. Moreover, climate is understood as a cultural construct by adopting a definition that goes beyond the physical sciences. In this way, individual narratives reflect a human interpretation of northern climate changes through time and contribute to the evolution of the climate concept. 

WP4 tasks will consist first in pooling methodologies and results of individual research on specific areas, with the aim of establishing a set of common characteristics that define the NA region from internal and external views, integrating European, American and Indigenous perspectives. On this basis, an inventory of historical and cultural sources that capture climate change from discursive sources and develop a common protocol of analysis for different types of discourse will be established. This inventory will provide linkages with climate scientists to develop a common plan for environmental sciences and cultural studies, in addition to transfer cultural information in Arctic climate studies.