Comics’ and graphic novels’ effect on the perception of climate change and natural disasters
Abstract: There is a paucity of research in the field of communicating disasters and climate change through comics and the effect sequential art has on the perception of these two subjects. Increasingly, communication through comics is becoming very trendy, and a few studies demonstrate evidence that comics have effects on the people’s perception of complex matters. In order to extend our understanding of what effect comics about natural hazards and climate change have, I combine two methods: in-depth interviews with comics’ authors and focus groups discussions with students about comics. This multimethod provides an opportunity to compare different perspectives and identify common ground between a creator and a reader. First, using the results from interviews, two main themes were found: call for action and empathy. Second, I addressed these two themes during two focus group sessions including fifteen participants in total. The results indicate that the perception of climate change and natural disasters is diverse and comics create a platform for discussions on different topics, such as emotions, risk awareness, policy making, leadership or disaster response. This paper discusses challenges that affect the perception of subjects when communicated through comics, intentions of authors, and potential of comics for science communication and communication for change. The findings of this study contribute to the possible development of this type of communication in environmental and sustainability sciences and disaster risk management.
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