Building cultural capital in drought adaptation: lessons from discourse analysis

Paxton, Gillian (2021) Building cultural capital in drought adaptation: lessons from discourse analysis. The Rangeland Journal, 43 (3). pp. 101-108.

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As governments and primary industries work to build the climate resilience of Australian agriculture, individual producers are often called upon to implement strategies to become more adaptive in the face of drought. These strategies include infrastructural changes to agricultural businesses, changes to practices, and the adoption of new skills and knowledge. The transition towards greater drought adaptiveness will also demand broader cultural shifts in the way that drought is defined and approached as an issue facing primary producers. This paper presents the results of a discourse analysis conducted as part of social research exploring the cultural barriers to drought preparedness within the Queensland Government’s Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP). Focusing on media and government accounts, the analysis found two different ways of framing drought and its management in Queensland agriculture. The first, which is dominant in media accounts, emphasises the disruptive power of drought, presenting it as a profound difficulty for producers that is managed using endurance, hope and ingenuity. This frame adopts highly evocative discursive strategies oriented towards mobilising community sentiment and support for producers. The second, which is less prominent overall, downplays drought’s disruptive power and counters the emotionality of the adversity discourse by presenting drought as a neutral business risk that can be managed using rational planning skills and scientific knowledge. In discussing these two frames, this paper suggests strategies whereby drought adaptation frames might be made more powerful using more meaningful and emotive narratives that showcase it as a vital practice for ensuring agricultural livelihoods and rural futures in a changing climate.

Item ID: 67748
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1036-9872
Keywords: agriculture, Queensland, drought, climate adaptation, culture, cultural capital, framing, communication, discourse, primary producers
Copyright Information: Journal compilation © Australian Rangeland Society 202©
Funders: Queensland Department of Environment and Science
Projects and Grants: Queensland Drought and Fire Adaptation Program
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2021 00:49
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300210 Sustainable agricultural development @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified @ 30%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440104 Environmental anthropology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190103 Social impacts of climate change and variability @ 70%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1399 Other culture and society > 139999 Other culture and society not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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