I lead and conduct research with a Swedish as well as an international focus, in collaboration with colleagues at LiU, at other Swedish universities, and with international research groups. My research interests are mainly related to the three areas outlined below.
One strand of my research concerns how different societal actors make sense of complex science-based information about environment, climate change, new and emerging technologies and societal transformations towards sustainability. This research takes its point of departure in dialogical communication theory, the theory of social representations, and frame analysis. Previous research has focused on social representations of genetically modified organisms (GMO), climate change and climate engineering. Ongoing and planned studies focus on how actors in different national and social contexts make sense of societal transformations towards sustainability, not least in view of increasing geopolitical uncertainties.
Communicating climate change and sustainability
Another core focus of my research relates to climate change and sustainability communication, exploring questions such as: How do lay publics make sense of climate change causes, impacts and responses? How are social representations of climate change formed and maintained? How does framing of climate change influence sense-making among different target audiences for climate change communication? How is climate change covered and framed in the media, including special-interest media targeted at particular audiences? What are the roles of communicative resources such as images, metaphors, analogies and distinctions in the formation of social representations?
We also analyse how the rapid advances in the field of ICT-based visualization can be used for sustainability communication, and if and how visualization tools influence different societal actors’ sense-making. To this end, we have elaborated on analytical frameworks for the study of ICT-based climate visualization. Norrköping Decision Arena is an important setting for studies into the roles of ICT-based visualization tools for communication and decision-making support.
Methods development for research into environmental communication and sense-making
In analysing various dimensions of communication and sense-making, we employ both quantitative and qualitative methods. A large part of the research is, however, conducted from a qualitative approach, mainly using focus group methodology. I have a long-standing interest in developing analytical methods for focus group data, which takes into account the interactive features of such data. I am also involved in elaborating visualization-based focus group methodology, which draws on the competence at Tema Environmental Change and CSPR into ICT-based visualization, communication research, participatory methodology and the analysis of focus group data.