- Written by Paul Hoggett Paul Hoggett
- Published: 16 January 2013 16 January 2013
This article attempts a psycho-social analysis of the apocalyptic response to actual or imagined disasters and traces two variants of this response – the redemptive and the survivalist.
Climate change faces us with yet another in a long line of actual or potential disasters that have occurred over the last century. One powerful and recurring response to such events frames them as catastrophe from which either physical or spiritual escape is imagined. This article attempts a psycho-social analysis of this apocalyptic response to actual or imagined disasters and traces two variants of this response – the redemptive and the survivalist. Whilst such responses appear radical, I argue that they are essentially a defence in the face of despair that has already found expression within climate change science and activism. In contrast, I suggest that what is required is a realistic response to the possibility of climatic disaster, a possibility the probability of which cannot be known. The quandary we face is how to sound the alarm without being alarmist.
Paul Hoggett is a therapist, researcher and teacher. He is Professor of Social Policy at the University of the West of England and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and member of the Severnside Institute for Psychotherapy.
First published in Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society (2011) 16, 261–275. DOI:10.1057/pcs.2011.1
Full article here