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Conference Papers Year : 2013

Environmental Behaviors: What Kind of Rational Choice is Relevant?


In mobilizing citizens in order to implement environmental policies, European governments face two options. Either they encourage people to desire the common good and therefore promote education and communication campaigns to inculcate civic values; or this way is mere illusion and they should merely impose laws with rewards, prohibitions and punishments. This alternative is a traditional debate among sociologists trying to explain the mechanisms underlying environmentally friendly behavior. The discussion divides those who invoke ecological values or motivation to understand the involvement of citizens, while others call instead of the pure individual interest (Diekmann et Schmidt 1998); in short those who refer to a "value-oriented" action (wertrational), against those who call forth a "goal-oriented rational" one (zweckrational)(Weber 2003). In this paper, we propose to highlight the logic of different types of environmental actions (Stern 2000), both those related to civic commitment in the public sphere (e.g. participation in associations, demonstrations, boycotts...), and those relating the domestic sphere (recycling, friendly transports, energy saving...). Our hypothesis is that environmental behaviors are inherently heterogeneous, but can be explained by rational choice, either "value-oriented" or "goal-oriented". The two logics apply differently depending on the intensity of the commitment required and the nature of the social field in which they operate. In order to develop our demonstration, we plan to exploit the 2010 ISSP data, from a special survey dedicated to the environment and available now.
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halshs-00876935 , version 1 (25-10-2013)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00876935 , version 1


Jean-Paul Bozonnet. Environmental Behaviors: What Kind of Rational Choice is Relevant?. 11th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Aug 2013, Turin, Italy. ⟨halshs-00876935⟩
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