• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Climate is an enduring idea of the human mind and also a powerful one. Today, the idea of climate is most commonly associated with the discourse of climate-change and its scientific, political, economic, social, religious and ethical dimensions. However, to understand adequately the cultural politics of climate-change it is important to establish the different origins of the idea of climate itself and the range of historical, political and cultural work that the idea of climate accomplishes. In Weathered: Cultures of Climate, distinguished professor Mike Hulme opens up the many ways in which the idea of climate is given shape and meaning in different human cultures – how climates are historicized, known, changed, lived with, blamed, feared, represented, predicted, governed and, at least putatively, re-designed.

What is Climate?
What is Climate?
Introduction

This needs saying right from the start: climate is hard to place and even its existence is questionable. It seems to be everywhere (Can you escape from climate? Is anywhere on Earth climate-less?) and yet it is nowhere (Can you point to climate or take me to see it?). People seem to know intuitively what climate is and yet they struggle to articulate an adequate definition of it. And yet if climates didn’t exist they would have to be invented; in fact, maybe they are invented. The value of the idea of something like ‘climate’ is evidenced by the wide metaphorical usage of it in everyday speech, referencing different intangible realities. Thus, political, intellectual, moral and economic climates are ...

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