The ways that people talk about natural resources: Discursive strategies as barriers to environmentally sustainable practices

The ways that people talk about natural resources: Discursive strategies as barriers to... In this paper, we analyse talk about water and energy use taken from nine interviews with citizens of Perth, Western Australia. Participants' talk offered representations of water as a scarce, shared, natural resource that must not be wasted, whereas talk about energy use focused on the environmental impacts of different technologies for generating electricity, rather than on energy as a consumable resource. Participants accounted for their water‐use habits by positioning themselves as caught between a personal desire to conserve water and an (incompatible) social obligation to maintain the appearance of their gardens in keeping with the aesthetic appeal of the suburbs in which they lived. We identify several discursive strategies by which people construct the environmental impact of their actions as minimal or unavoidable. These constitute a barrier to the promotion of more environmentally sustainable practices. Potential implications for environmental policy development are discussed, as are the wider issues associated with the development of ‘applied’ discourse analysis. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Journal of Social Psychology Wiley

The ways that people talk about natural resources: Discursive strategies as barriers to environmentally sustainable practices

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
2005 The British Psychological Society
ISSN
0144-6665
eISSN
2044-8309
DOI
10.1348/014466604X18064
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this paper, we analyse talk about water and energy use taken from nine interviews with citizens of Perth, Western Australia. Participants' talk offered representations of water as a scarce, shared, natural resource that must not be wasted, whereas talk about energy use focused on the environmental impacts of different technologies for generating electricity, rather than on energy as a consumable resource. Participants accounted for their water‐use habits by positioning themselves as caught between a personal desire to conserve water and an (incompatible) social obligation to maintain the appearance of their gardens in keeping with the aesthetic appeal of the suburbs in which they lived. We identify several discursive strategies by which people construct the environmental impact of their actions as minimal or unavoidable. These constitute a barrier to the promotion of more environmentally sustainable practices. Potential implications for environmental policy development are discussed, as are the wider issues associated with the development of ‘applied’ discourse analysis.

Journal

British Journal of Social PsychologyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2005

References

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