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Raising Awareness of Global Environmental Change: A Comparison of Perceived Efficacy of Involvement in Direct and Indirect Environmental Collective Action.

Cocking, Christopher. (1999) Raising Awareness of Global Environmental Change: A Comparison of Perceived Efficacy of Involvement in Direct and Indirect Environmental Collective Action. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This thesis was concerned with the study of socio-psychological processes associated with Global Environmental Change (GEC), and how to encourage effective action against it. Problems associated with GEC were discussed, mainly the potential physical and psychological effects on individuals and groups, and potential conflicts arising from its onset. Such conflicts were considered to be a social dilemma, where low individual efficacy can prevent action. However, such action is necessary to combat GEC, as well as a shift in values away from the political and socio-economic status quo. Theories of personal agency and ways to enhance such agency were examined. It was argued that belief in one's ability to act effectively encourages action. Such action arises in a social context, and so social influences on efficacy were examined. Pro-environmental theories were examined, and most of them appeared to favour a fundamental shift in values if GEC was to be abated. However, there are different pro-environmental perspectives, and so this study concentrated on examining two different pro-environmental behaviours; anti-roads protests, and Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS). Respondents' motivations, perceptions of the political and socio-economic status quo, and perceived efficacy were examined. It was expected that given the different nature of each behaviour, there would be differences in the perceptions of respondents. This was indeed the case, and while both groups experienced efficacy from their actions, the antiroads protestors had a more radical environmental perspective and experienced greater efficacy and positive in-group bias. This efficacy was dynamic and context dependent, with respondents feeling that they were more efficacious in raising awareness of GEC than in directly confronting its immediate effects. However, both groups questioned the values of the status quo, instead preferring more autonomous, decentralised action to combat GEC, and sometimes sought wider in-group inclusion. It was concluded that it was possible to encourage belief in the individual's ability to act against GEC, and that this could be done without relying on action through the dominant traditional political and social structures.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Cocking, Christopher.
Date : 1999
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1999.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 30 Apr 2019 08:08
Last Modified : 20 Aug 2019 15:33
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/851489

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