Drought, Endurance and Climate Change 'Pioneers': Lived Experience in the Production of Rural Environmental Knowledge

Deb Anderson


Abstract

This article explores the politicisation of environmental knowledge on rural Australia, in an analysis of discourse on the lived experience of drought. It draws on research conducted in dryland farm communities in the Mallee wheat-belt of Victoria – where rural histories have presented spirited sagas of community perseverance in ‘battling’ a harsh climate – during a period of marked shift in public awareness of climate change (2004-07). Indeed climate change projections have intensified debate over rural futures in Australia, where droughts have played a powerful role in the mythologizing of rural battlers and landscapes, and where drought discourse has been dominated by the language of war. Cultural engagement with climate is, however, under constant renegotiation, as rural cultural research is apt to reveal.

Keywords

drought discourse; climate change; lived experience; endurance; risk; environmental knowledge

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