How dare you? - The Normative Challenge posed by Fridays for Future

19 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020 Last revised: 26 Apr 2022

Date Written: October 12, 2021


Meeting the UN Paris Agreement will require unprecedented social change that goes hand in hand with technological and economic innovations. Research suggests that normative change, the change in what is perceived as morally acceptable, can drive wider large-scale social change, i.e., change in legislation, policy and behaviour. In this paper we explore the normative challenge posed by Fridays for Future. Basing the analysis on a theoretical understanding of norms and normative change, we analyse computationally a large data set of tweets in the context of this protest movement to understand the normative narrative that challenges the business as usual and that has the potential to trigger wider social change. We then discuss what it would take for the normative framework that Fridays for Future offers to spread and what this could mean for wider social change. We also reflect on the necessity of further research on how social change can be accelerated in response to the climate crisis.

Keywords: Climate Change, Normative Change, Social Change, Climate Protest Movement, Fridays For Future

Suggested Citation

Spaiser, Viktoria and Nisbett, Nicole and Stefan, Cristina, How dare you? - The Normative Challenge posed by Fridays for Future (October 12, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Viktoria Spaiser (Contact Author)

University of Leeds ( email )

Social Science Building
Woodhouse Lane
Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom
0044 7470 122518 (Phone)


Nicole Nisbett

Independent ( email )

Cristina Stefan

University of Leeds

Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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