Anuschka Peelen
Anuschka Peelen

Anuschka Peelen wins KHMW Jan Brouwer Thesis Award

Anuschka Peelen has won the KHMW Jan Brouwer Thesis Award for Sociology and Anthropology with her thesis ''A changing climate? A meta-analysis of (polarisation in) climate change attitudes between 1986 and 2022''.

Climate change and polarisation

Anyone following the climate change debate in the media today would think that opinions on climate change have polarised considerably in recent years. For her thesis as part of her research master in Social and Cultural Science at Radboud University, Anuschka Peelen examined these opinions based on eight large representative surveys from 1986-2022. In total, she examined 71 different aspects and how they developed over time.

Anuschka arrives at the surprising conclusion that opinions were already strongly divergent in the past. Polarisation has even decreased over time; opinions have come closer together. Although she did not specifically investigate this, Anuschka suspects that the current focus on contrasts is due to the influence of talk shows and social media.

Anuschka understands that journalists want to attract attention. 'You simply attract more readers or viewers when you use catchy quotes. But it would be good if they brought more nuance to their reporting. There is, after all, a middle ground that does not hold such extreme views at all. There is a big difference between the polarisation we see in the media and online, and the situation in society itself. The idea that there is already polarisation only exacerbates polarisation."

Jan Brouwer Thesis Award

The Royal Holland Society of Sciences annually awards eight thesis prizes of € 2,000,-  each for the Humanities and Social Sciences in eight different fields of science. Anuschka received the prize in the field of Sociology and Anthropology. The livestream of the 2024 award ceremony can be watched back here.