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ch.2, ec-p.7 – identifying the value and utility of the sociological social construction approach to social  problems for examining public opinion and concern about environmental problems…

“Among the many challenges faced by analysts of public environmental concern (Dunlap and Jones, 2002), the fact that an individual’s views vary over time makes the social constructionist view on social problems advantageous. The relevance of environmental problems to different kinds of people and social groups also varies (Freudenburg, 1991). Although explorations of environmentalism’s social bases offer cross-sectional and longitudinal snapshots, they cannot fully explore the social processes in which ecological conditions are defined as problematic. This failure includes revealing the cultural resources and social factors such as religious tenets that shape people’s perceptions of ecological conditions.”

 

 

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from the chapter two introduction…

“Sociological imaginations see material conditions (Marx… ), institutions (WEBER Protestant Work Ethic), structure (Giddens…), socialization (REFERENCE), interpersonal interactions (Goffman Presentation of Self), communication modes (Habermas), gender (Dorothy Smith…), sexuality (REFERENCE), and skin color (Du Bois …) all shaping our perceptions of, meanings about, and actions toward reality. The significance of individuals’ knowledge and perceptions in public opinion about environmental problems and support for environmental policy is the overarching theme I consider here.”

“In this chapter I detail aspects of sociological perspectives on social problems, religion, and environmentalism relevant to my interest in how highly religious people perceive environmental problems. I focus especially on elements of a constructionist view on social problems and the association of religion with expressions of environmental concern. I then present my analytical framework for examining how conservative Protestants view large-scale ecological conditions. I conclude with several broad research questions I explore in a case study of evangelical Christians’ perceptions of climate change.”

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Mun...

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Munich School of Philosophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A key assumption shared by policymakers and environmental activists is that people do not care about and will not support policy to address ecological conditions that they do not deem as problematic. This assumption underlies the significance of understanding the question: How do individuals come to perceive of an environmental condition as a crucial problem?”

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, ...

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, air pollution was not considered a national environmental problem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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