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Public engagement concerning environmental and sustainability issues

Research theme I

Many of the most pressing sustainability problems, such as climate change, are anchored in people’s lifestyles and behaviors. To reach a more sustainable society it, therefore, becomes important to understand these behaviors and everyday choices (consumption, recycling, energy saving, etc), as well as more profound decisions to change lifestyles in a sustainable direction. This can be seen as preconditions for communicating with different groups, to promote transformative learning, and to be able to govern behaviors in a more sustainable direction. It is also important to get more knowledge about collective engagement, public support for political decisions, and power relationships in these change processes. Additionally, we need more research about how to create constructive deliberative processes where people learn to work with other people from different backgrounds to solve these problems and to find creative and inclusive future visions. It is also important to take account of emotions, emotion regulation strategies, and aspects related to trust in people’s risk perception, not least due to a more polarized society. With its multidisciplinary profile CESSS has the capacity to contribute with cutting-edge research in this subfield.

In our research we focus on different age-groups such as children, teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged people as well as on families, networks and organizations. Our methodological competence spans from quantitative studies in the form of cross-sectional and longitudinal survey studies and experiments to qualitative studies such as interview studies and text analyses (phenomenological and discourse analytical approaches).

Maria Ojala leads CESSS’s work on this theme.

Examples of publications in this theme:
Boström, M.
(2020) The social life of mass and excess consumption, Environmental Sociology, DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2020.1755001. More about the publication

Boström M, Andersson E, Berg M, Gustafsson K, Gustavsson E, Hysing E, Lidskog R, Löfmarck E, Ojala M, Olsson J, Singleton B. E., Svenberg S, Uggla Y & Öhman J. 2018. Conditions for transformative learning for sustainable development: a theoretical review and approach. Sustainability 10 (12), 4479. More about the publication

Ojala, M. (2016). Facing anxiety in climate change education: From therapeutic practice to hopeful transgressive learning. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 21, 41-56. More about the publication

Ojala, M. (2016). Young people and global climate change: Emotions, coping, and engagement in everyday life. T. Skelton, N. Ansell, & N. Klocker (Eds.), Geographies of children and young people handbook (pp.329-346). Springer. More about the publication

Ojala, M. & Bengtsson, H. (2019). Young people’s coping strategies concerning climate change: Relations to perceived communication with parents and friends and pro-environmental behavior. Environment and Behavior, 51 (8), 907-935. More about the publication

Soneryd, Linda and Uggla, Ylva (2015) “Green governmentality and responsibilization: new forms of governance and responses to ‘consumer responsibility’”, Environmental Politics, 24 (6), 913-931. More about the publication

Uggla, Ylva (2019). Taking back control: Minimalism as a reaction to high speed and overload in contemporary society. Sociologisk forskning, 56 (3-4), 233-252. More about the publication