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ch.2, ec-p.1 – opening introductory paragraph for environmental concern section describing the beginning of sociological attention to public concern about ecosystems and support for greater protection of the environment…

“After the first Earth Day in 1970, US sociologists began intensively exploring which constituencies of the population were amenable to and supportive of the environmental movement’s goals (Buttel 1977, Heberlein and Black 1978, Van Liere and Dunlap 1981). This exploration included describing the strength of public concern about ecological conditions (Dunlap 1992), gauging support for environmental policies (Buttel and Flinn 1976), and associating support with social and demographic characteristics (Dunlap and Van Liere 1984). Analysts explored individuals’ perceptions about ecological conditions through original research surveys (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig and Jones 2000) and by using secondary data from opinion polling (Dunlap and Scarce 1991). Professional acceptance of environmental sociology as a sub-discipline accelerated studies of environmental concern (Catton and Dunlap 1980). More than a thousand assessments have been conducted since then, most relying on quantitative methodologies (Dunlap and Jones, 2002). Analysts take these views about environmental problems and the variability of expressed environmental concern to reflect the environmental movement’s “social bases” of public support (Dietz, Stern, and Guagnano 1998, Dunlap and Mertig 1992, Jones and Dunlap 1992, Van Liere and Dunlap 1980). These social bases reveal who is concerned about the biophysical world or practices pro-environmental behaviors.”

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the hopefully, final structure, of the literature review chapter. in other matters, can anyone tell me if “analytical” is not a grammatically correct word? auto-spell checks keep flagging it!

“In this chapter, I first examine the literature on the social constructionist perspective, as the theory and empirical work developed on the social construction of meaning. I then review the literature on the association between religion and environmental concern to identify possible deficiencies leading to unclear results. Finally I present the analytical framework adopted for my study of evangelicals’ perceptions of global climate change.”

where do people turn when they don’t trust experts and can’t see the thing (atmosphere) we’re talking about?

“Large-scale environmental conditions especially are hidden from most people until their ecological consequences disrupt individual’s everyday routines and draw personal attention to them, or someone else informs them about what is occurring (Carolan 2004). This is particularly true of global climate change, where the ‘objective’ conditions of the Earth’s atmosphere remain transparent to most everyone except professional scientists (Garvin 2001). People mistrustful of scientists typically consult other non-scientific, cultural experts and elites, or turn to similar others for clues to interpret ambiguous situations. ”Subjective norms are positively related to both [information-]seeking and avoidance, which suggests that one’s social environment has the potential to strongly influence the way he or she handles climate change information”(Yang and Kahlor 2013). The basis for similarity depends on the salience of the group to which a person belongs. Conservative evangelical Christians likely turn to religion in forming their perceptions of global climate change. Yet substantial research conducted over decades has failed to demonstrate clear or consistent results on the association between religion and environmental concern.”

i’ve been neglectful. my excuse: i’ve been consumed in a major re-write of chapter 2, which is true. but what’s probably a more accurate reason for avoiding this self-imposed practice of virtual accountability (to who? just me?) is the frustration (and all the other psychological stuff) that comes with being asked to draft 5 pp., writing 20, and then being told to re-write new text in 10. despite this, clarity comes closer. so in the end, it’s all good. but i’ve got some catching up to do… here we go:

“Sympathy with environmental movement goals requires that citizens share movement grievances. But defining environmental conditions as a policy issue is problematic. Contemporary environmental risks tend to be technologically complex and ambiguous – even invisible (Beck 1992). Experts are thrust into positions as interpreters for policymakers, yet the intrinsic uncertainty of science allows for multiple expert interpretations. The public comes to mistrust science and view its credentialed experts with more skepticism (Beck 1992). Consequently, people form perceptions of environmental quality with less reliance on scientific knowledge– they socially construct meanings on their own. Global climate change is perhaps the most ambiguous ecological problem facing the planet. How do people socially construct their views of global climate change?”

James Hansen

James Hansen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

summary paragraph on religion and environmental concern research, specifically work focusing on conservative Protestants and evangelical Christians…

“Social scientific understanding of religion’s role in environmental concern is murky though. Decades after Lynn White’s (1967) charge that Christianity causes modern ecological crises, the association of religion with environmentalism still appears contradictory. “Environmental evangelicals” exist, Christians care about creation, and interfaith coalitions join secular advocates in protests lobbying policymakers for action on climate change. Conservative Protestants who oppose government environmental protection policies contrast this pro-environmental activism and are the most likely nonbelievers in US society about if global climate change is happening. The accumulated evidence from quantitative survey-based inquiries remains mixed about if, and how, “dominion” or “literalist” biblical beliefs, a Christian “fundamentalist” orientation toward the world, conservative Protestant eschatology, and dispensationalist theology explain climate change skepticism and lack of public support for environmentalism among this religious sector of US society.”

 

 

continuing through the very beginning, narrowing the dissertation’s focus for the reader… is it working?

“The inherent complexities of ecological conditions is perhaps nowhere more clearly illustrated than in global climate change. The magnitude and severity of threats posed by global climate change make mitigating policies imperative (REFS: IPCC, US NAS, International insurance adjusters, & US military assessments). Reliance on natural resources that contribute to climate change for production substances to drive economic growth turns policymakers simultaneously away from it. Environmental movements use public concern about climate change to pressure policymakers, but face challenges in broadening the social bases of their support among large segments of the population. Meanwhile vocal skeptics and representatives of business interests doubt climate science and argue for certainty as a criterion for policy action (REFS). Given such complexity, individuals are likely to rely on their own cultural resources and experts when making decisions about the nature of climate change, its effects, and calls by climate protection advocates to support government actions for addressing it. Highly religious people, for example, may draw on their religious doctrines as they form their perceptions of the existence and threat posed by global climate change.”

 

Climate Change is no joke.

Climate Change is no joke. (Photo credit: hmcotterill)

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)

Mobilizing Ideas

Activists and Scholars Debate Social Movements and Social Change