Original Research - Special Collection: Climate and Beliefs

Challenges to belief systems in the context of climate change adaptation

Brechtje S. Jooste, Jon-Vegard Dokken, Dewald van Niekerk, Ruth A. Loubser
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 10, No 1 | a508 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v10i1.508 | © 2018 Brechtje S. Jooste, Jon-Vegard Dokken, Dewald Van Niekerk, Ananka R. Loubser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2017 | Published: 06 September 2018

About the author(s)

Brechtje S. Jooste, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, South Africa
Jon-Vegard Dokken, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway
Dewald van Niekerk, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, South Africa
Ruth A. Loubser, School of Philosophy, North-West University, South Africa

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This article focuses on the social aspects of climate change and explores the interrelationship between belief systems and adaptation. The links and interaction between external and internal realities are examined from the perspective of contextual vulnerability, with a focus on the multifaceted structure of belief systems. The aim was to determine those challenges regarding climate change adaptation that are caused by a community’s belief system and to make recommendations to overcome them. Diverse perceptions of climate change and beliefs from three townships in the North-West Province of South Africa were collected and analysed using Q-methodology, finding five distinct worldview narratives. These narratives were named naturalist collectivist, religious, religious determinist, activist collectivist and structural thinker. It is recommended that policymakers aim to address diverse views and should be informed by factors that increase resistance to belief revision. Information should be framed in ways that foster the perception of internal control, are clearly evidence based and encourage a desire to learn more.


climate change adaptation; belief systems; q-methodology; vulnerability


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Crossref Citations

1. Urban dwellers’ adaptive capacity as a socio-psychological process: Insights from Lima, Peru
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