Gaining knowledge about laypeople's representations of nature is crucial to meeting the sustainability challenges ahead. However, the ways laypeople discursively construct nature in digital settings have received scant attention. Guided by Stuart Hall's theory of encoding/decoding and multimodal critical discourse analysis, this study aims to contribute knowledge about the ways laypeople construct the human-nature relationship on social media. This is accomplished through a reception study of YouTube users’ discussions about two of the films in the campaign “Nature Is Speaking.” The results show that the human-nature dichotomy largely prevails notwithstanding the pluralist nature of YouTube users’ interpretations, but also indicate the (embryonic) potential of social media to open up for a politics revolving around new visions of the socio-environmental future.
Ulrika Olausson, Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Jönköping University in Sweden, has been involved in research on media representations of the environment since 2005. She has published extensively in journals such as Journalism Studies, European Journal of Communication, and Environmental Communication, and is currently (2017–2020) leading a research project on nature representations in social media. Olausson's theoretical interests lie within the areas of globalization, global risks, and political identity. ORCID: