CASS Changing Climates project presented at the University of Turin

Carmen blog 2

It was a great honour and pleasure to present CASS Changing Climates project to an engaging audience at the University of Turin last month, on 27th April 2016. This was the 8th symposium on ‘Energy and Power: Social ontology perspectives and energy transitions’ as part of a UNESCO Chair programme in Sustainable Development and Territory Management currently hosted by University of Turin (Italy), under the coordination of Professor Dario Padovan.

Carmen blog 1

The symposium brought together academics and students from various disciplines – sociology, linguistics, history and environmental sciences –, thus having an enthusiastic audience and resulting in a lively debate. CASS would like to thank the organisers Professor Dario Padovan, Dr Maria Cristina Caimotto and Gabriela Gabriela Cavaglià for this great opportunity to exchange experience and ideas. I very much enjoyed the event and, as expected, had a great time in lovely Torino.

Changing Climates and the Media: Lancaster workshop

climate change workshopThe Lancaster workshop on Changing Climates and the Media took place last Monday (21st Sep 2015).  This was a joint event organised by the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) and the Department of Sociology, Lancaster University.

The workshop brought together leading academics from a wide range of disciplines – sociology, media studies, political and environmental sciences, psychology, and linguistics – as well as community experts from the Environment Agency and the Green Alliance. The result was a lively debate on the interaction between the news media and the British society, and a critical reflection on people’s perception of the problem and effective ways to communicate the issue and promote changes in behaviour and practices.

Professor John Urry from Lancaster University opened the event with a brief overview of the major challenges posed by climate change. He also introduced the CASS project on Changing Climates, a corpus-based research on how climate change issues have been debated in the British and Brazilian news media in the past decade. This contrastive analysis is interesting for various reasons. These include striking differences related to public perception of the problem. While climate-change scepticism is prominent within the public debate in Britain, Brazil is a leading country in terms of concern about climate change, with nine-in-ten Brazilians considering global warming a very serious problem. Dr Carmen Dayrell presented some examples of fundamental differences between the media debate in these two countries. Unlike the British press, Brazilian newspapers articulate the discourse along the same lines as those advocated by the IPCC. This includes stressing the position of developed and developing nations and the projected consequences of the impact of climate change on the Earth’s system, such as the melting of polar icefields, loss of biodiversity and increased frequency of extreme weather events.

The Changing Climates project is currently being extended to Germany and Italy. Dr Marcus Müller from the Technische Universität Darmstadt discussed his preliminary findings on how the German news media has represented climate change issues. Dr M. Cristina Caimotto and Dr Osman Arrobbio from the University of Turin presented their initial observations of the Italian context and data. The Changing Climates presentation concluded with insightful comments by Dr Glenn Watts, the Environment Agency’s research lead on climate change and resource use and Lancaster’s primary partner in the Changing Climates project.

The afternoon session explored climate change from various perspectives. It started with Professor Reiner Grundmann from University of Nottingham who presented corpus research on the media coverage of climate change across Britain, Germany, France and the US. Dr James Painter from the University of Oxford and Dr Neil Gavin from the University of Liverpool focused on the coverage of the UN IPCC reports in the news media and television respectively.

The focus then turned to the British parliament and the 2009 debate on the Climate Change Bill. How do politicians talk about climate change in public? This question was addressed by Rebecca Willis, a PhD candidate at Lancaster University and a member of the Green Alliance. Following that, Dr Neil Simcock, also from Lancaster University, explored the representations of ‘essential’ energy use in the UK media. The session concluded with Professor Alison Anderson from Plymouth University’s talk on the role of local news media in communicating climate change issues.

Our sincere thanks to all participants of the Lancaster workshop for making it a unique and very special event. This was an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and share experiences which we hope will foster enhanced collaboration between the various disciplines.

 

Changing Climates and the Media

The ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) and the Department of Sociology are pleased to announce a one-day symposium on Changing Climates and the Media taking place at Lancaster University on 21st Sep 2015.

This is the end-of-grant event of the CASS project on Changing Climates. The symposium will bring together leading academics from various disciplines, community experts and the Environment Agency in a unique event to discuss recent research on climate change and the media from a wide range of perspectives. Presentations will cover various countries, including Brazil, UK, Germany and Italy. Click here to see details of the programme.

We are all looking forward very much to this event.

New working paper on “Changing Climate and Society: The Surprising Case of Brazil” now available

Why is Brazil unique when it comes to climate change? Brazil is a major emerging economy and it is the sixth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. However, its fossil fuel-based emissions are low by global standards. Brazil has been innovative in developing some relevant low carbon ways of generating energy and pioneered significant transport innovations. It has also played a major role in international debates on global warming and Brazilians’ degree of concern about global warming is higher than almost anywhere else. Brazil has the largest reserve of agricultural land in the world and it houses most of the Amazon forest and river basin.

climatechangeworkingThis working paper examines the interesting case of Brazil, offering a general overview of the centrality of Brazil within climate policy and politics.

Download and read the complimentary working paper now.

Changing Climates: Crossing Boundaries

Last Friday (28th), CASS had the pleasure to host a cordial meeting in which researchers from CASS and the University of Bergen got together to discuss about their ongoing research on discourses surrounding climate change.

The Norwegian team runs the NTAP project (Networks of Texts and People) which aims to explore the flow of information across online social networks with a view to understanding how knowledge develops and how opinion is shaped. Among other topics, the project examines the dynamics of discussions in the blogosphere around the various issues related to climate change.

Dag Elgesem and Andrew Salway – the principal investigator and scientific co-ordinator of the NTAP project respectively – provided an overview of the main goals of the project, state of affairs, expectations and their next steps. The Technical consultant and programmer for the project, Knut Hofland, talked about the data and the process of collecting it, describing various issues and decisions made along this process. Lubos Steskal, the project’s post-doctoral fellow, presented an interesting graphical representation of bloggers’ interactions which offers the researcher a clear indication about how communities are formed as well as whether and how they interact with each other. Samia Touileb presented a sample of her ongoing PhD project which uses grammar induction techniques to capture typical expressions used in blogs that discuss climate change.

Tony McEnery and Carmen Dayrell represented the CASS centre. Tony McEnery first provided a general broad view of the centre’s activities and staff by briefly mentioning its various projects. He also talked about some techniques commonly used in corpus-based discourse analysis to extract and manipulate the data. As expected, more attention was paid to the Changing Climates project. Having the climate change sociologist John Urry as its principal investigator, the project aims to contrast how climate change is discussed in news printed media in Britain and Brazil. Carmen Dayrell presented the current stage of the project. Her talk revolved around the composition of the corpora used in this study and a preliminary analysis of the data.

This was an excellent opportunity for these researchers to exchange ideas and experiences, expand horizons and learn about other approaches, perspectives, and views. We hope this first meeting will encourage and foster fruitful enhanced collaboration between these research teams.

Update on Changing Climates

The Changing Climates project is a corpus-based investigation of discourses around climate change. It aims to examine how climate change has been framed in the media coverage across Britain and Brazil in the past decade. Here, we look at two different scenarios. Recent surveys have shown that climate change is currently considered a high priority concern within Brazil, with the country showing higher degree of concern than almost anywhere else. By contrast, climate change scepticism is increasingly prominent in the British public sphere.

We are pleased to announce that we have just finished collecting the data. The Brazilian corpus contains about 8 million words, comprising texts from 12 newspapers. The British corpus is much larger. It has nearly 80 million words and includes texts published by all major British broadsheet and tabloid papers.

Welcoming new CASS Senior Research Associate: Carmen Dayrell

We are pleased to announce that Dr Carmen Dayrell (c.dayrell(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)lancaster.ac.uk) has joined the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science as the Senior Research Associate on the Changing Climates project. You can read a bit more about her in her own words, below.


My main research interests relate to the use of corpus methodologies to study language production, from various perspectives and in different settings.

I was first interested in the distinctive features of translated language and carried out a corpus study to investigate potential differences (and similarities) between collocational patterns in translated and non-translated texts of the same language. The main issue under my investigation was whether collocational patterns tend to be less diverse (i.e. reduced in range) in translations when compared to texts originally written in the language in question.

I then turned my attention to English academic writing and examined lexical and syntactical features of abstracts written in English by Brazilian graduate students, hence native speakers of Portuguese, from various disciplines. My primary goal was to provide insights for the development and improvement of teaching material that can directly target the specific needs of Brazilian novice researchers. This research project involved comparing the textual patterns used by students vis-à-vis those in abstracts taken from published papers from the same disciplines.

My current research focuses on the discourse of climate change in media coverage. This is part of a larger project which aims to conduct a large-scale, systematic empirical analysis of climate change discourse across Britain and Brazil. Our primary purpose is to investigate how the issue has been framed in these two countries in the past decade.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Translation Studies, CTIS – The University of Manchester (UK)
  • MA in Applied Linguistics, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG,Brazil)
  • BA in Business Administration and Accountancy, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUC-MG, Brazil)

Selected Publications

DAYRELL, C. (2011a) ‘Corpora and academic English teaching: lexico-grammatical patterns in abstracts written by Brazilian graduate students’. Vander Viana and Stella Tagnin (Eds.) Corpora in Foreign Language Teaching. São Paulo: HUB Editorial, pp. 137-172. (in Portuguese)

DAYRELL, C. (2011b) ‘Anticipatory ‘it’ in English abstracts: a corpus-based study of non-native student and published writing’. Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski (Ed.) Explorations across Languages and Corpora. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 581-598.

DAYRELL, C. (2010) ‘Frequency and lexico-grammatical patterns of sense-related verbs in English and Portuguese abstracts’. Richard Xiao (ed.) Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 486-507.

DAYRELL, C. (2009) ‘Sense-related verbs in English scientific abstracts: a corpus-based study of students’ writing’. ESP Across Cultures 6: 61-78.

DAYRELL, C. (2008) ‘Investigating the preference of translators for recurrent lexical patterns: a corpus-based study’. Juliane House (ed.) Beyond Intervention: Universals in Translation?, TRANSKOM, First and Special Issue of TRANSKOM (1). Available at http://www.trans-kom.eu/.

DAYRELL, C. (2007) ‘A quantitative approach to investigate collocations in translated texts’. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 12(3): 415-444.