Comparative Analysis of UK and Lithuanian Political Institutional Communicative Climate Change Discourses

  • Audronė Telešienė
  • Eimantė Zolubienė
Keywords: climate change, institutional communicative discourses, risk communication, relational theory of risk


The aim of this paper is to analyse the ways how climate change related risks are being constructed in political institutional discourses. We draw upon the political communicative texts, i.e. texts prepared by governmental authorities, from the pre- and post-Paris agreement period, i.e. 2015–2016. Our empirical analysis is guided by the relational theory of risk, theory of discursive institutionalism, critical discourse analysis, notions of interdiscursivity and interpretive repertoires. The main research questions are the following: What are the threats typically associated with climate change (source of risk)?; What are the objects-at-risk typically spoken of in political communicative discourses?; How are the relations of the risk source and object-at-risk discursively constructed (e.g. vulnerability, resilience, etc.)?; What is the overall ‘repertoire’ of typical climate change related risks as discursively constructed in political communicative texts? To answer the research questions, Lithuania and United Kingdom are taken for cross-national comparison. UK is regarded as a leader in international and domestic climate change policy, whereas climate change policies are treated instrumentally in Lithuania. Both Lithuania and UK, as EU member states, follow the general EU climate change policy. Yet because of differences in public attitudes and other socio-political contexts, the effectiveness of climate change policies is different. Contrasting the two member states and looking for underlying discursive practices, that serve as grounds for climate action, bring new scientific insights. The analysis of the sampled texts is conducted using NVivo.