A Narrative Perspective on Climate Change and Ontological Stability (working title)

A Research Project by Jonas Müller


Developing an adequate response to the ongoing climate crisis is arguably the most pressing concern of the 21st century. Even with a clear-cut, actionable plan, bringing greenhouse gas emissions to a halt would be a herculean task, but just thinking about the climate crisis in itself has proven to be one of the more problematic aspects in formulating a way forward.

Based on the understanding that we make sense of ourselves and our surroundings by narrative means, my project aims at exploring the ways in which the climate crisis challenges this practice. This discussion will combine perspectives from narrative theory with ecocritical approaches in order to further an understanding of how the Anthropocene threatens the ontological stability of our narrated world.

The above line of inquiry will be supplemented by an exploration of the mental health implications of the Anthropocene, as both being affected by “natural” disasters exacerbated by the climate crisis as well as the prospect thereof have impacts on our psychological well-being. Typically subsumed under “climate anxiety” or “climate depression,” these phenomena will be discussed in their relation to the narrative ruptures and contradictions that are part and parcel of the current environmental crisis. Through combining these distinct approaches I hope to contribute to the growing body of research on the climate crisis by developing an understanding of how pathways to a greener futures can be theorized.

Author: Jonas Müller