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Shameem Mahmud

Published On


Page Range

pp. 209-244

Print Length

35 pages

Living on the Frontier

Laypeople’s Perceptions and Communication of Climate Change in the Coastal Region of Bangladesh

  • Shameem Mahmud (author)
Despite a considerable increase in the number of studies on public perceptions of climate change, little attention has been paid to the development of public understanding of climate change in developing and less-developed countries, which have contributed comparatively few greenhouse gases emissions. This chapter contributes to address this gap in the literature by exploring how people construct meanings of climate change risks in an area at the forefront of climate change risks—the coastal region of Bangladesh. The study draws on in-depth interviews of local citizens, which were supplemented by field observations. The interviews reveal a recurring theme of localizing climate change risks in the context of local geo-hazards. Laypeople’s personal exposure to local extreme weather events, and experiences of weather and seasonal variances, influence their interpretations of mediated and non-mediated climate change information. The risks of local geo-hazards appear to be readily available as prior constructs in respondents’ minds, and are further intensified by newly acquired knowledge of climate change. The chapter concludes that laypeople’s perceptions of climate-change impacts in the coastal region of Bangladesh are constructed on the basis of their place identity, on the one hand, and the availability of regional geo-hazards, on the other.


Shameem Mahmud