Politische Soziologie sozialer Ungleichheit




Risk, scientific uncertainty and climate engineering

15290 - Übung

Jeroen Oomen, M.A.



  • Fr. 28.04.2017, 14-16 Uhr c.t., Konradstr. 9, 309

  • Sa. 22.07.2017, 10-18 Uhr c.t., Geschw.-Scholl-Pl. 1, A U117

  • So. 23.07.2017, 10-18 Uhr c.t., Geschw.-Scholl-Pl. 1, A U117


‘No doubt people’s desperation during a drought fostered the same clutching at faint hopes, how- ever absurd.’ (Clark C. Spence, The Rainmakers, p. 137)

One of the first and foremost international concerns in recent years has been ‘anthropogenic climate change’, or ‘global warming’ as was the prevalent term a bit of a decade ago. Over the half-century or so that anthropogenic climate change has been on the scientific and political agenda, it has made an interesting journey in the international public consciousness; from a Republican ‘environmental’ president in the U.S. – Bush sr. –, through the – hardly successful – Kyoto protocol in 1997, via simultaneously increasing scientific certainty and climate scepticism in the decades to follow, to eventually the COP-21 Paris agreement, where 195 countries pledged to keep global warming below 2ºC. The despair and disappointment about the lack of response to what climate scientists often see as the most urgent existential threat to humanity however has led some scientists to propose additional climate measures: active intervention in the climate system by way of climate engineering.
While the social mechanisms surrounding climatic engineering are complicated and enigmatic, some trends and theories can be identified. In this course, we try to analyse the societal mechanisms that lead people to disagree about climate change, to (mis)attribute risks associated to both climate change and climate engineering, and highlight the specific issues that are related to active intervention in climate change. Through interdisciplinary literature, students are acquainted with the most pertinent issues in the sociology of scientific uncertainty and risk attribution – including questions of scientific reliability –, climate change and the arguments for and against climate engineering. The course is taught by Jeroen Oomen, who is PhD student in the sociology of science at the Rachel Carson Center and the Deutsches Museum and has worked closely with climate engineering researchers at Harvard.


Anwesenheitspflicht in der 1. Veranstaltungsstunde! Sollten Sie aus triftigen Gründen nicht teilnehmen können, so informieren Sie den/die Dozenten/Dozentin rechtzeitig. Unentschuldigtes Fehlen in der 1. Veranstaltungsstunde bedeutet automatisch den Verlust des Kursplatzes.


  • regelmäßige und aktive Teilnahme
  • kontinuierliche Lektüre der Literatur


  • Referat
  • Übungsaufgaben/Hausarbeit
  • 6 ECTS