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Changing Relations in Global Environmental Change

Räthzel, N and Uzzell, David (2008) Changing Relations in Global Environmental Change In: First ISA Forum of Sociology, Sociological Research and Public Debate, 2008-09-05 - 2008-09-08, Barcelona, Spain.

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This presentation was published as "Rathzel, N and Uzzell, D (2009). Changing relations in global environmental change. Global Environmental Change, 19 (3). 326 - 335. Available at: We discuss a cross-national pilot study in Sweden and the UK examining young people's environmental concerns and their perceptions of the causes and solutions. The study demonstrates that evaluations of the causes of environmental degradation are partly contingent upon the manner in which questions are framed leading to quite different interpretations of the findings. Moreover, attitudes also differ significantly between the British and the Swedish sample: in the UK environmental degradation is seen as more serious but also more distant from the respondents’ everyday experiences when answering pre-formulated questions. The causes of environmental degradation are located in both countries in government and industry policies promoting economic growth on the one hand. On the other, respondents identify distant developments in emerging economies as problems, without connecting their local experiences to the global effects they describe. In the open-ended part of the survey, individual behaviour is seen as the most important cause of environmental degradation. But while British respondents describe individuals as selfish, lazy and consumerist, Swedish respondents emphasise also structural causes like Western lifestyles and the market society. We present possible explanations for these differences and discuss the relationships between the global and the local in relation to constructions of the Other as well as the relationship of individualism and authoritarianism that emerge from the results.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Räthzel, N
Date : 6 September 2008
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 14 Mar 2017 14:30
Last Modified : 11 Mar 2020 12:27

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