The term Anthropocene first appeared in 2000 when scientists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer attempted to define the environmental effects of anthropic activities. Since then, it has become a widespread, but also controversial, term in the academic community. As environmental discourses increasingly permeate our lives, it has trespassed the borders of scholarly traditions, becoming acknowledged in popular culture. Bearing in mind the pivotal role the press has in the popularization, dissemination and consequent understanding of given topics, the aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it assesses the popularity of the term Anthropocene in online and printed newspapers around the world. Secondly, it examines the degree of scientificity of the articles included in our analysis to understand the type of discourses journalists are relying on in discussing the Anthropocene. Exploring these questions, through a corpus-based discourse analysis, enabled us to assess the weight of the term ‘Anthropocene’ in contemporary popular debates and its future horizons. The findings highlight a lack of anconsistent discussion of the Anthropocene stemming not only from a poor scientific understanding of its ecological drives, but also from the lack of political awareness and a general unpreparedness to face the socio-environmental implications of the Age of Humankind.

The Anthropocene: Genesis of a Term and Popularization in the Press

Zottola Angela
;
2022

Abstract

The term Anthropocene first appeared in 2000 when scientists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer attempted to define the environmental effects of anthropic activities. Since then, it has become a widespread, but also controversial, term in the academic community. As environmental discourses increasingly permeate our lives, it has trespassed the borders of scholarly traditions, becoming acknowledged in popular culture. Bearing in mind the pivotal role the press has in the popularization, dissemination and consequent understanding of given topics, the aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it assesses the popularity of the term Anthropocene in online and printed newspapers around the world. Secondly, it examines the degree of scientificity of the articles included in our analysis to understand the type of discourses journalists are relying on in discussing the Anthropocene. Exploring these questions, through a corpus-based discourse analysis, enabled us to assess the weight of the term ‘Anthropocene’ in contemporary popular debates and its future horizons. The findings highlight a lack of anconsistent discussion of the Anthropocene stemming not only from a poor scientific understanding of its ecological drives, but also from the lack of political awareness and a general unpreparedness to face the socio-environmental implications of the Age of Humankind.
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Anthropocene; corpus-based discourse analysis; ecological sciences; environmental humanities; newspapers
Zottola Angela; de Majo Claudio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1769699
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