Emotions of Climate Activism

Dr. Alfred Sköld is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Aalborg University Denmark, and currently a Research Fellow at IPU, Berlin. His PhD-dissertation, Relationality and Finitude: A Social Ontology of Grief (2021) focused on the existential and ethical aspects of grief, and his current research project investigates the role of emotions in youth climate activism. Sköld is also the editor of two Danish anthologies: The Struggle for Happiness (2020) with Svend Brinkmann, and The Register of Love (2023). He has previously been a visiting researcher at Södertörn University and Yale University.

We live in a time of multiple crises and extreme loss. Growing up in the current cultural turmoil means facing not only the rapid rise of global populism, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, war, and energy crisis. Above and beyond it all, it entails a future that is radically unknown due to rising mean temperatures, melting glaciers, spreading deserts, and the numerous associated ecological and sociocultural consequences. Given a perceived lack of urgency on the part of most if not also governments, civil societal initiatives that support collective behavioral change are on the rise worldwide. This lecture focuses on climate activism – a historically unprecedented young political movement that engages an ever-growing number of people across the globe. Drawing on an ethnographic and interview-based study of The Green Youth Movement in Denmark, it seeks to map out the role of emotions in youth climate activism. Despair, grief, anxiety, and anger, as well as care, hope, and joy, always find their place in between the existential universal and culturally specific. What forms and expressions do these emotions take in a youth climate context today? How can we understand the emotional backdrop of political movements in general, and youth climate activism in particular? What drives the struggle for a better world?

Registration is not necessary

We look forward to your participation!

On Tuesday, May 23, from 6 to 7.30 p.m. / 91b-04.