Talking about your Generation

“Our Children” as a Trope in Climate Change Discourse

in Ethnologia Europaea
Kyrre Kverndokk University of Bergen

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This article examines the rhetorical figuration of “our children” in climate change discourse. Based on an analysis of James Hansen’s book, Storms of my Grandchildren (2009), Barack Obama’s speech at the COP21 meeting in Paris in 2015, and a newspaper article about the Norwegian environmental organization, The Grandparents’ Climate Campaign, it argues that the uses of “our children” reflect a notion of a family-timed future. The trope implies a “we” working as the active subject in the texts, while “our children” simply represents a future to be saved. This structure also authorizes “the parent” as a position of enunciation in climate change discourse. The article argues that the authority of this position is based on a heteronormative reproductive futurism.

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