ESRA logo

ESRA 2023 Preliminary Glance Program

All time references are in CEST

Survey data as a source to study sustainability and environmental issues 2

Session Organiser Dr Dennis Abel (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)
TimeWednesday 19 July, 14:00 - 15:00
Room U6-01c

Given the ESRA conference theme 2023 “Survey research in times of crisis: Challenges, opportunities, and new directions”, this session focuses on the fundamental ecological crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, which require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius” (IPCC 2018). The session showcases how heterogeneous methodological approaches in survey-based research benefit our understanding of the socio-ecological transition and systemically link protection of the environment with social goals. Therefore, this session discusses interrelations between social, economic, and environmental risks. The session papers collect case studies researching attitudes and behaviour in different geographical settings and subject areas. These concern justice considerations in energy cooperatives in the European Union, climate change framing in communication strategies, trade-off scenarios for marine spatial planning in the UK, sustainability in the building sector, belongingness of forest-dependent communities in central India, and the green gender gap in Norway.

Keywords: sustainability, global warming, socio-ecological transition

Understanding Personal Values Attached to Forest and its Inherited Collective Ethos in the Context of Rights-Based Approach: A Para- Ethnographic Study in Central India

Mr Santosh Gedam (IIM Ahmedabad) - Presenting Author

“Belongingness” motivation is a fundamental social motive that underlies a great deal of human behaviour (Leary & Cox, 2009). The need for belonging and acceptance can be due to several factors. World over rapidly spreading industrial development is influencing the forest-depend communities’ engagement with forest and market economy. I reflect on what belongingness to forest might mean to forest-dependent communities and what values emerge from the socio-demographic characteristics across generations. I use para-ethnography, key stakeholder interviews, and focused group discussions with the young generation of forest-dependent communities of central India. I study a village recognized with community forest rights under Forest Rights Act 2006, seen as India’s rights-based approach to conservation. Initial findings suggest that elderly members of forest-dependent communities practice multiple values and beliefs. Forest as a source of daily livelihood is seen as a mother. It represents a collective heritage of their colonial and post-colonial struggle, often violent with state actors, representing those stories and victories as a marker of self-belief in securing the custody of their mother. With the market entering their traditional ways of living, I found inter-generational variations in value perceptions of the forest. The younger generation was found to be more self-interest-driven under the perception of opportunities in a market economy and aspiring to migrate to urban areas, potentially causing longing concerns to elderly members about “what next” of their preserved collective heritage. However, minority voices among young members carry some value towards communities’ struggle and inherited ethos to repay in the future if the need arises. The study aims to contribute towards understanding values as consequences of how communities evolve their practices, negotiate traditions under competing situations, and inherit world views on various aspects of life.

Understanding the Green Gender Gap: The Role of Gender identity

Ms Ingvild Zinober (EUI) - Presenting Author

Previous research has found that, compared to men, women seem to be greener in a range of different domains. Women are more environmentally oriented, worry more about climate change, engage more in eco and climate-friendly behaviour and are more likely to vote for a green party. In my first paper, I found that a majority of European countries have a Green Gender Gap, and it cannot be explained by gender differences in educational level, occupation, or residence in urban areas. I also control for gender differences in political ideology by including self-placement on the right-left dimension, views on LGBTQ+ rights, and views on immigration. However, the controls did not affect the results, which indicates that women are generally more willing to engage with green ideology regardless of their political views. But why are men not adopting green ideology and behaviour at the same rate as women?

Gender researchers have long argued that traditional breadwinner masculinity is incompatible with green ideology and that caring for nature is associated with femininity. Experimental studies also find a cognitive link between femininity and engaging in eco and clime-friendly behaviour. Could it be that men are less green because it is unmanly?

To investigate this, I will be looking at the correlations between gender identity, views on climate and environmental issues and party support. I am introducing two new survey items meant to measure how feminine and masculine respondents view themselves. I also measure how much importance respondents place on their gender identity. The survey items will be given to 1500 respondents in the Norwegian Citizen Panel, and the results will be ready by the end of Mars.

Global warming vs. climate change frames. Revisiting framing effects based on new experimental evidence collected in 30 European countries

Mr Adam Stefkovics (Center for Social Sciences) - Presenting Author
Miss Lili Zenovitz (PPKE)

Existing evidence suggests that climate change beliefs can be subject to how the issue is framed. Particularly, the choice between a ‘global warming’ versus a ‘climate change’ framing influenced survey responses in some previous wording experiments. Furthermore, since the issue of climate change has become strongly polarized politically, framing effects were found to be moderated by political identification. Nevertheless, most of these framing effects were observed in the U.S. and may not be generalized in other cultures. To contribute to this area of research, I embedded an experiment in nationally representative telephone surveys in 30 European countries. I manipulated the wording of four climate change-related questions (‘global warming’ vs. ‘climate change’) and assessed treatment effects both in the full sample and separately among leftist, rightist, green, and right-wing party voters. I found little evidence of people being more skeptical or less worried when asked about ‘global warming’ compared to ‘climate change’, although trend skepticism was significantly higher in the ‘global warming’ condition. In general skepticism was higher on the political right, however, leftists, rightists, and green and right-wing voters reacted similarly to the two frames in our European sample. I consider possible explanations for the null findings and argue that the use of ‘climate change’ framing in communication strategies promoting climate action itself will do little to lower skepticism in Europe.