Shaping Cultures of Prediction

Knowledge, Authority, and the Construction of Climate Change

Research project financed by the Danish Council for Independent Research - Humanities 2013-17

This project examines the emergence of climate modeling as a culture of prediction in the formative period between ca. 1960 and 1985. Climate modeling has played a major role in forging a scientific consensus about climatic change. Scientific consensus, however, tends to hide the social relations, complex negotiations and tangible interests behind the consensus itself. It straightens the diversity of scientific perceptions and the complexities of historical processes that have shaped it.

This project aims at analyzing the scientific conflicts, social processes and underlying presumptions that contributed to (1) the emergence of climate modeling as a predominant research strategy, and (2) the controversial application of these models as predictive tools. It will show how climate modeling and its uses emerged from a competition between different knowledge claims and epistemic standards and attained hegemonic status within a diversity of knowledge cultures.