Bringing the future into the present: the notion of emergency in the youth climate movement

Roger Soler-i-Martí, Ariadna Fernández-Planells, Laura Pérez-Altable

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In 2019, after decades of attempting to raise awareness of the need to take action, the climate movement saw a surge in its ability to mobilize citizens and influence the political agenda. A younger generation leading the movement has given renewed vigour to the movement’s discourse by emphasising the need to act immediately by expressing the idea of emergency. This article suggests that this notion, one that is central to the current youth climate movement, includes an acceleration of time and a discourse based on hope. These ideas have worked as an activator of action complementing or nuancing narratives about future and climate change. The analysis of the discourse of Fridays For Future Barcelona on social media (Twitter and Instagram) with a mixed methods approach shows first the centrality of the notion of emergency in the public discourse of the movement and its role in making the future seem not so distant. Secondly, it shows how the use of emergency speech is linked to a positive view of the future and to a generational discourse. And, finally, it has been detected that using emergency speech together with references to a hopeful future increases the impact of the movement’s social media posts.
Idioma originalEnglish
RevistaSocial Movement Studies
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 2022


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