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Boredom and the politics of climate change

Anderson, Ben

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In this position paper, I speculate on what we might learn about the politics of climate change if we stay with the possibility that boredom might be part of how subjects encounter and make sense of climate change. I argue that boredom enacts an ethically and politically ambivalent detachment from the demand to act that accompanies urgency-imbued vocabularies of crisis and emergency. Whether boredom is a refusal to face climate change, or a way of coping with and inhabiting the overwhelming, being bored with climate change allows existing attachments to fossil-fuelled lives and futures to continue. The event of climate change is ‘suspended’, in the sense that it is no longer affectively present. I distinguish this relation of ‘climate change suspension’ from two other ways of detaching from the event of climate change – ‘climate change denial’ and ‘climate change delay’. Unlike in denial or delay, in suspension the demand of climate change is held in abeyance, not ended. It returns in ways that blur the line between boredom and other affects. In conclusion, I reflect on the affective politics of climate change, and wonder about how boredom could become part of a progressive politics of climate change.


Anderson, B. (2023). Boredom and the politics of climate change. Scottish Geographical Journal,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 29, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 16, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date May 9, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 9, 2023
Journal Scottish Geographical Journal
Print ISSN 1470-2541
Electronic ISSN 1751-665X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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