Menu Expand



Friedrich, T. The Local Epistemology of Climate Change: How the Scientific Discourse on Global Climate Change is Received on the Island of Palawan, the Philippines. Sociologus, 68(1), 63-84.
Friedrich, Thomas "The Local Epistemology of Climate Change: How the Scientific Discourse on Global Climate Change is Received on the Island of Palawan, the Philippines" Sociologus 68.1, , 63-84.
Friedrich, Thomas: The Local Epistemology of Climate Change: How the Scientific Discourse on Global Climate Change is Received on the Island of Palawan, the Philippines, in: Sociologus, vol. 68, iss. 1, 63-84, [online]


The Local Epistemology of Climate Change: How the Scientific Discourse on Global Climate Change is Received on the Island of Palawan, the Philippines

Friedrich, Thomas

Sociologus, Vol. 68 (2018), Iss. 1 : pp. 63–84

5 Citations (CrossRef)

Additional Information

Article Details


Friedrich, Thomas

Cited By

  1. Global Warming in Local Discourses

    2020 [Citations: 8]
  2. Klaemet jenj worlds. Approaching climate change and knowledge creation in Vanuatu

    Pascht, Arno

    Journal de la société des océanistes, Vol. (2019), Iss. 149 P.235 [Citations: 4]
  3. It’s Our Fault: A Global Comparison of Different Ways of Explaining Climate Change

    Schnegg, Michael | O’Brian, Coral Iris | Sievert, Inga Janina

    Human Ecology, Vol. 49 (2021), Iss. 3 P.327 [Citations: 6]
  4. Ontologies of climate change


    American Ethnologist, Vol. 48 (2021), Iss. 3 P.260 [Citations: 6]
  5. Climate change reception studies in anthropology

    Wit, Sara | Haines, Sophie

    WIREs Climate Change, Vol. 13 (2022), Iss. 1 [Citations: 4]


  1. Baer, H. A. and Singer, M. 2014. The anthropology of climate change. An integrated critical perspective. 1. ed. London: Routledge (Routledge advances in climate change research).  Google Scholar
  2. Baillie, I. C., Evangelista, P. M. and Inciong, N. B. 2000. Differentiation of upland soils on the Palawan ophiolitic complex, Philippines. CATENA. 39 (4), pp. 283 – 299.  Google Scholar
  3. Beck, U. 1996. Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp (Edition Suhrkamp).  Google Scholar
  4. Beck, U. 2007. Weltrisikogesellschaft. Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Sicherheit. 1st ed. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp (Edition Zweite Moderne).  Google Scholar
  5. Berkes, F. 1993. Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Perspective. In: J. T. Inglis (ed.), Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Concepts and Cases (pp. 1 – 9). Ottawa, Canada: International Development Research Centre.  Google Scholar
  6. Borgatti, S. P. and Halgin, D. S. 2013. Elicitation Techniques for Cultural Domain Analysis. In: J. J. Schensul and M. D. LeCompte (eds.), Specialized Ethnographic Methods. A Mixed Methods Approach. 2nd edition (pp. 80 – 116). Lanham: AltaMira Press.  Google Scholar
  7. Bostrom, A. and Lashof, D. 2007. Weather or climate change? In: S. C. Moser and L. Dilling (eds.), Creating a Climate for Change. Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.  Google Scholar
  8. Callison, C. 2014. How Climate Change Comes to Matter: The Communal Life of Facts. Durham: Duke University Press (Experimental futures: technological lives, scientific arts, anthropological voices).  Google Scholar
  9. Chen, X. 2011. Why do people misunderstand climate change? Heuristics, mental models and ontological assumptions. Climatic Change. 108 (1 – 2), pp. 31 – 46.  Google Scholar
  10. D’Andrade, R. G. 1995. The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.  Google Scholar
  11. DENR – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ed.) 2012. Climate Change Adaptation. Best Practices in the Philippines. Manila.  Google Scholar
  12. Douglas, M. 1992a. A credible biosphere. In: M. Douglas (ed.), Risk and blame. Essays in cultural theory (pp. 255 – 270). London, New York: Routledge.  Google Scholar
  13. Douglas, M. 1992b. Risk and blame. Essays in cultural theory. London, New York: Routledge.  Google Scholar
  14. Douglas, M. and Wildavsky, A. 1982. Risk and culture. An essay on the selection of technical and environmental dangers. Berkeley: University of California Press.  Google Scholar
  15. Doyle, J. 2011. Mediating Climate Change. Burlington, VT: Ashgate (Environmental Sociology).  Google Scholar
  16. Ellen, R. and Harris, H. 2000. Introduction. In: R. Ellen, P. Parkes and A. Bicker (eds.), Indigenous Environmental Knowledge and its Transformations: Critical Anthropological Perspectives (pp. 1 – 31). Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.  Google Scholar
  17. Esselstyn, J. A., Widmann, P. and Heaney, L. R. 2004. The mammals of Palawan Island, Philippines. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 117 (3), pp. 271 – 302.  Google Scholar
  18. FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2010. Global Forest Ressources Assesment. Main Report. Rome.  Google Scholar
  19. Friedrich, T. 2017. Die Lokalisierung des Klimawandels auf den Philippinen. Rezeption, Reproduktion und Kommunikation des Klimawandeldiskurses auf Palawan. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.  Google Scholar
  20. Hastrup, K. 2015. Comparing Climate Worlds: Theorising across Ethnographic Fields. In: H. Greschke and J. Tischler (eds.), Grounding Global Climate Change. Contributions from the Social and Cultural Sciences (pp. 139 – 154). Dordrecht: Springer.  Google Scholar
  21. Hulme, M. 2009. Why we disagree about climate change. Understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Google Scholar
  22. Hulme, M. 2015a. (Still) Disagreeing about Climate Change: What Way Forward? Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. 50 (3).  Google Scholar
  23. Hulme, M. 2015b. The Many Uses of Climate Change. In: J. Barnes and M. R. Dove (eds.), Climate Cultures. Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change (pp. 289 – 299). New Haven: Yale University Press.  Google Scholar
  24. IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007. Climate change 2007. Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Google Scholar
  25. Jasanoff, S. 2007. Designs on Nature. Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States. 4th ed. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press.  Google Scholar
  26. Jasanoff, S. 2010. A New Climate for Society. Theory, Culture and Society. 27 (2 – 3), pp. 233 – 253.  Google Scholar
  27. Kahan, D. 2010. Fixing the communications failure. Nature. 463 (7279), pp. 296 – 297.  Google Scholar
  28. Kempton, W. 2001. Cognitive Anthropology and the Environment. In: C. L. Crumley (ed.), New Directions in Anthropology and Environment: Intersections (pp. 49 – 71). Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press.  Google Scholar
  29. Kempton, W., Boster, J. S. and Hartley, J. A. 1995. Environmental values in American culture. Cambridge Mass et al.: MIT Press.  Google Scholar
  30. Klein, N. 2014. This changes everything. Capitalism vs. The Climate. New York: Simon and Schuster.  Google Scholar
  31. Kreft, S., Eckstein, D., Junghans, L., Kerestan, C. and Hagen, U. 2014. Global ­Climate Risk Index 2015. Who Suffers Most From Extreme Weather Events? Weather-related Loss Events in 2013 and 1994 to 2013. Bonn: Germanwatch e.V.  Google Scholar
  32. Lagmay, A. M. F. A., Tejada, M. L. G., Pena, R. E., Aurelio, M. A., Davy, B., David, S. and Billedo, E. 2009. New Definition of Philippine Plate Boundaries and Implications to the Philippine Mobile Belt. Journal of the Geological Society of the Philippines. 64 (1).  Google Scholar
  33. Latour, B. 1993. We have never been modern. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  Google Scholar
  34. Long, J. B. and Giri, C. 2011. Mapping the Philippines’ Mangrove Forests Using Landsat Imagery. Sensors, 11 (12), pp. 2972 – 2981.  Google Scholar
  35. Lutes, M. W. 1998. Global Climatic Change. In: R. Keil, D. V. J. Bell, P. Penz and L. Fawcett (eds.), Political ecology. Global and local (pp. 157 – 175). London, New York: Routledge (Innis centenary series).  Google Scholar
  36. NDRRMC – Natural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (ed.) 2014. NDRRMC Update. Updates of the Effects of Typhoon “YOLANDA” (HAIYAN). Quezon City: Natural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center.  Google Scholar
  37. PAGASA – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (ed.) 2015. PAGASA modifies Public Storm Warning Signal.  Google Scholar
  38. PCSD – Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (ed.) 2004. State of the Environment. Palawan Philippines. Puerto Princesa City: Palawan Center for Sustainable Development.  Google Scholar
  39. Peterson, N. and Broad, K. 2009. Climate and Weather Discourse in Anthropology: From Determinism to Uncertain Futures. In: S. A. Crate and M. Nuttall (eds.), Anthropology and climate change. From encounters to actions (pp. 70 – 86). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.  Google Scholar
  40. Pettenger, M. E. (ed.) 2007. The social construction of climate change. Power, knowledge, norms, discourses. Aldershot, Hampshire, England, Burlington, VT: Ashgate (Global environmental governance).  Google Scholar
  41. President of the Philippines 1991. Administrative Order No. 220: Creating an Inter-Agency Comittee on Climate Change. A. O. 220.  Google Scholar
  42. President of the Philippines 2007. Administrative Order No. 171: Creating the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change. A. O. 171.  Google Scholar
  43. Rayner, S. 1989. Fiddling While the Globe Warms? Anthropology today. 5 (6), pp. 1 – 2.  Google Scholar
  44. Rayner, S. 2003. Domesticating Nature: Commentary on the Anthropological Study of Weather and Climate Discourse. In: S. Strauss and B. S. Orlove (eds.), Weather, climate, culture. Oxford, New York: Berg.  Google Scholar
  45. Republic of the Philippines 2009. Republic Act No. 9729 – Climate Change Act. CCA.  Google Scholar
  46. Republic of the Philippines 2011. National Climate Change Action Plan 2011 – 2028. NCCAP.  Google Scholar
  47. Roncoli, C., Crane, T. and Orlove, B. 2009. Fielding Climate Change in Cultural Anthropology. In: S. A. Crate and M. Nuttall (eds.), Anthropology and climate change. From encounters to actions (pp. 87 – 115). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.  Google Scholar
  48. Roncoli, C., Ingram, K., Jost, C. and Kirshen, P. 2003. Meteorological Meanings: Interpretations of Seasonal Rainfall Forecasts in Burkina Faso. In: S. Strauss and B. S. Orlove (eds.), Weather, climate, culture (pp. 181 – 200). Oxford, New York: Berg.  Google Scholar
  49. Rudiak-Gould, P. 2011. Climate change and anthropology. The importance of reception studies. Anthropology today. 27 (2), pp. 9 – 12.  Google Scholar
  50. Rudiak-Gould, P. 2012. Promiscuous corroboration and climate change translation: A case study from the Marshall Islands. Global Environmental Change. 22 (1), pp. 46 – 54.  Google Scholar
  51. Rudiak-Gould, P. 2013. “We Have Seen It with Our Own Eyes”: Why We Disagree about Climate Change Visibility. Weather, Climate, and Society. 5 (2), pp. 120 – 132.  Google Scholar
  52. Rudiak-Gould, P. 2014a. Climate Change and Accusation. Current Anthropology. 55 (4), pp. 365 –386.  Google Scholar
  53. Rudiak-Gould, P. 2014b. Progress, decline, and the public uptake of climate science. Public understanding of science. 23 (2), pp. 142 – 156.  Google Scholar
  54. Schnegg, M. 2014. Epistemology. The Nature and Validation of Knowledge. In: H. R. Bernard and C. C. Gravlee (eds.), Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology (pp. 21 – 53). 2nd ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.  Google Scholar
  55. Turnbull, D. 2003. Masons, Tricksters and Cartographers. Comparative Studies in the Sociology of Scientific and Indigenous Knowledge. London, New York: Routledge.  Google Scholar
  56. VanWey, L. K., Ostrom, E. and Meretsky, V. 2005. Theories Underlying the Study of Human-Environment Interactions. In: E. F. Moran and E. Ostrom (eds.), Seeing the forest and the trees. Human-environment interactions in forest ecosystems (pp. 23 – 56). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.  Google Scholar
  57. WWF Philippines and BPI Foundation (eds.) 2014. Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impact. 16 Philippine Cities. Manila.  Google Scholar



The Philippines is a country that is very prone to tropical cyclones that cause much economic damage and numerous causalities each year. However, not all parts of the archipelago are equally affected. The main part of the island of Palawan in the country’s south west is rather unlikely to be hit by a strong storm, which is why its inhabitants don’t fear very harmful typhoons. At the same time, however, they consider climate change and its adverse effects as a serious threat, and very destructive cyclones like super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 are well understood as intensified by climate change. In this article I will resolve this apparent contradiction. By means of cognitive anthropological methods, I will demonstrate how the scientific discourse on global climate change and thus scientific climate knowledge is incorporated in, and intertwined with pre-existing local ecological knowledge and ubiquitous national and local discourses about the environment. As the presented empirical data indicates, there exists a widespread conviction within the island’s capital that environment-friendly behaviour mitigates extreme weather events as much as morally bad environmental behaviour induces all kinds of natural hazards, including climate change. Therefore, Palawan serves as a good example to show how the located (re)production of scientific climate change knowledge, its local communication, and its entanglements with other forms of cultural knowledge eventually shape the way people perceive and make sense of climate change.

Keywords: climate change, knowledge and discourse, epistemology, cognitive anthropology