Environmental Debates Over Nuclear Energy: Media, Communication, and the Public
In recent decades, nuclear energy has evolved into a global controversy in which supporters and critics of the technology employ a variety of communication strategies to shape public opinion and influence societal decisions. In the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, studies and polling tracked a worldwide decline in public support for nuclear energy. More recently some Asian countries have pledged to ambitiously expand their reliance on nuclear energy, mainly for reasons of energy security and climate change mitigation. In contrast, parts of Europe and North America are on the verge of phasing out the technology from their energy mix, preferring instead to invest in energy efficiency and the potential of solar, wind, and other renewables. Still, other states or countries in these regions are seeking to invest in nuclear energy, though the financing and approval process for new plants remains in doubt.
The international debate over nuclear energy raises timely and important questions. For instance, how do communication processes and other social, cultural, and psychological factors shape public perceptions of nuclear energy as it relates to climate change and/or the environment? How do perceptions of the risks and benefits of nuclear energy differ, if at all, among the general public, experts, policymakers, industry, and environmental activists? How does discourse about nuclear energy, climate change, and/or the environment manifest in mass media, popular culture, or social media and with what consequences? Does research suggest best practices in risk communication, public engagement, and advocacy when it comes to decision-making about nuclear energy?
The purpose of this special issue of Environmental Communication is to explore multiple stakeholders’ perspectives on nuclear energy and communication. These key stakeholders can include (but are not limited to) the public, scientists and other experts, environmental activists, policymakers and regulators, media practitioners, and industry members.
We invite submissions from areas of inquiry at the intersection of communication, nuclear energy, and the environment. Longer original Research Articles (8,000 words) and shorter Research Insights (3,000 words) can draw on a variety of scholarly and practitioner perspectives and methods. Advanced Reviews (8,000 words) and shorter Commentaries (2-3,000 words) are also invited, emphasizing implications for research, professional practices, current debates, and/or societal trends and decisions. All word limits include references and abstracts. As an international journal, submissions to Environmental Communication from across North America, Europe, and non-Western contexts are strongly encouraged.
Suggested areas of focus include, but are not limited to:
- Risk perceptions and public opinion about nuclear energy
- Risk communication and public engagement strategies on nuclear energy
- Expert/policymakers’ perceptions and decision-making on nuclear energy
- Communication strategies of advocates, activists, and industry groups
- Journalist perceptions and decision-making on nuclear energy
- Public and online discourse about nuclear energy
- News coverage of nuclear energy
To successfully pass peer review, all original research articles must present findings that are both theoretically informed and empirically demonstrated. We encourage potential contributors to consider using approaches such as case study research, meta-analysis of evaluative data, historical or ethnographic approaches, experiments, surveys, focus groups, content analysis, and other methodologies. We welcome quantitative, qualitative, and critical scholarship. Regardless of method or approach, all articles should seek to bridge theory and practice and should be written in a style that is broadly accessible and understandable to an interdisciplinary audience.
Deadlines for submissions: Papers may be submitted until 30 April, 2017. (Any accepted papers for which space is not available will be published in a subsequent issue.)
Queries: firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)
To find out more visit the ‘Instructions for Authors’ tab on the journal homepage: www.tandfonline.com/renc The journal adheres to APA Style. Manuscripts must not be under review elsewhere or have appeared in any other published form. All submissions should use the Scholar One Website: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/renc accompanied by a cover letter indicating the desire to have the submission reviewed for this special issue. Upon notification of acceptance, authors must assign copyright to Taylor and Francis and provide copyright clearance for any copyrighted material.
- Shirley Ho (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and an Associate Editor of Environmental Communication. Her research focuses on public opinion and media effects related to science, health, and environmental sustainability. Among her current projects, she is principal investigator of the large-scale, interdisciplinary project, “PONdER: Public Opinion of Nuclear EneRgy,” funded by the Singapore National Research Foundation.
- Silje Kristiansen (Ph.D. University of Zurich) is a post-doctoral research fellow at Northeastern University, Boston, MA, a research associate at the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research (IPMZ), University of Zurich, and an Associate Editor of Environmental Communication. Her research has focused on media coverage and risk perceptions of nuclear energy following the Fukushima, Japan accident.