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Climate | Environmental Studies | Sociology


The emotions of youth climate justice activists are often demeaned or misrepresented both by popular media and by COP organisers. The COP itself, as a cold, bureaucratic, and repressive space that tokenises frontline voices to create an optics of care, is a source of frustration and disappointment for many youth activists. Despite this misrepresentation and repression, youth activists use their emotions to strengthen their movements and actions at the COP. Drawing on collaborative event ethnography spanning a decade, this paper analyses how Global South youth climate justice activists strategically navigate and channel emotion through acts of emotional solidarity, emotional concealment, and emotional display. We assess how youth activists’ complex emotional experiences exist in generative tension within individuals and within the youth climate justice movement. Our findings suggest that their emotional strategies unlock the capacity for exercising power while cultivating relationships necessary for climate justice.

Available for download on Wednesday, October 23, 2024