A Natural History of an Environmentalist: Identifying Influences on Pro-sustainability Behavior Through Biography and Autoethnography

Evangelos Manolas, John Hockey, Michael Littledyke

Abstract


This natural history of an environmentalist uses autoethnography through biographical interview to investigate the contextual analysis of influences affecting active pro-sustainability behavior, which is interpreted as environmentalism. Education for sustainability categories of environmental, socio-cultural, political and economic factors were used to identify factors that interact to influence affective and cognitive domains, which affect environmentalist behavior. These influences in reality operated symbiotically but for purposes of analysis they have been portrayed sequentially. The portrayal of the autoethnographer's vocabulary of motives and identity theory applied to group commitment were used as analytic tools. The research methodology employed provides a strategy for investigating biography, which gives access to lived experience as a basis for understanding factors influencing environmentalism. Processes of metacognition and reflexivity, supported by critical engagement with co-researchers, provide access to deep analysis of the biography. Whilst it was not possible to make statistical generalizations from a single case study it was possible to make limited qualitative generalizations, or in other words "moderatum generalizations." Subsequent examination of the natural histories of other life-long environmentalists would certainly not reveal detailed similarities in terms of specific biographical occurrences. However, the abstract categories of influence outlined provide a useful template for further investigating the process of activist identity development which we know little about at the present time.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1301151


Keywords


autoethnography; biography; environmentalism; sustainability behavior

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Copyright (c) 2013 Evangelos Manolas, John Hockey, Michael Littledyke

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