At a glance
PARC: Local Analysis of Research Paradigms on Adaptations to Climate Change
Summary of the research project
As a social psychologist actively involved in climate change research on mitigation and adaptation, Raquel Bertoldo recognizes the challenges of interdisciplinary practice. Using social psychology as an analytical framework, the project provides an opportunity to examine paradigms and worldviews in terms of social representations. Through theoretical and methodological tools from social psychology, the project expects to strengthen local networks and generate scientific output in the form of an interdisciplinary article and a research report summarizing the conducted interviews.
The pressing challenge of climate change demands new ways of thinking and living. Increasing interest in alternative lifestyles is a response to eco-anxiety arising from the prospect of collapse if we fail to address the impact of our current lifestyles. Various scientific communities engaged in understanding present and future climate issues are locally present through mediation organizations (GIEC, MEDEC) collaborating with public policies within the Aix-Marseille region. However, disciplinary frameworks have their limitations in addressing the necessary transitions ahead (Gillard et al., 2016; Ismail-Zadeh et al., 2017). The required transformations for climate change demand a complex and transdisciplinary vision that often clashes with the discipline-centered logics of scientific excellence, like publications and academic advancements.
Understanding Research Paradigms and Worldviews
Inspired by Thomas Kuhn’s analysis of scientific revolutions as socially and historically situated processes, the PARC project aims to describe the different research paradigms and worldviews practiced by researchers involved in climate change research within the Aix-Marseille region. Paradigms represent the philosophical and normative commitments that guide research approaches, determining what constitutes a valid inquiry method and scientific practice. Examples of paradigms include behaviorism, critical theory, ethnography, grounded theory, hermeneutics, phenomenology, and psychometrics. Worldviews inform these paradigms and are the basis for divergences around the concepts and nature of scientific activity. Exploring these worldviews allows identification of different stances concerning the broader philosophical debates about the validity and logic of scientific evidence, encompassing issues of diversity, integration, and the superiority of divergent epistemologies.
Aims and Outcomes of the PARC Project
The PARC project aims to explore the research paradigms and worldviews of interdisciplinary research networks in the Aix-Marseille region, specifically focusing on researchers studying various aspects of climate change. By explicitly describing the research approaches and underlying worldviews often implicit in project design, the study seeks to identify better-suited collaboration perspectives for addressing complex environmental challenges like climate change. This analysis is particularly significant for enhancing interdisciplinary collaborations since paradigms and worldviews often transcend disciplinary boundaries, meaning researchers from different disciplines may share potentially closer approaches than within a single scientific field. Ultimately, through in-depth local analysis, the project aims to facilitate the identification of potential collaborations based on similar paradigms and worldviews.
Raquel Bertoldo (2021 HDR in Psychology from AMU; 2014 PhD in Social Psychology from ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute; 2008 Msc in Environmental Psychology from Paris Descartes; h-index: 15; citations: 791) is a social psychologist specialized in human-environment relations, with a focus on social knowledge, science-society dynamics, risks, and social norms.
Raquel has directed and participated in several interdisciplinary projects centered around applied social psychology, including RISKMED (funded by LabEX OT-Med) – an interdisciplinary project aimed at constructing a Mediterranean framework for science-society communication on natural risks. Her research has been published in high-impact journals such as Public Understanding of Science, Journal of Risk Research, and International Journal for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Currently, Raquel serves as the President of the Association for Research in Environmental Psychology (ARPENV) and is an elected member of the National Committee of Universities (CNU 16).