Om miljöproblemen hänger på mig: individer förhandlar sitt ansvar för miljön

lf handling environmental problems is up to me: individuals negotiate their environmental responsibility

Over the last decade, the behaviors and lifestyles of the Swedish public have been depicted as having important environmental effects by both politicians and the media in Sweden. In this thesis, this is regarded as part of an ongoing tendency to individualize environmental responsibilities. Using a feminist poststructuralist point of departure, this individualized environmental responsibility is understood as a particular discourse that frames individuals as essential actors in handling environmental problems. How individuals position themselves in relation to the reasonableness and meaning of these responsibilities, however, is still an open question. The aim is to explore how individuals make sense of and negotiate the discourse of individual environmental responsibility in group discussions. Twelve focus group conversations involving people in various life situations and with various experiences of environmental issues and travelling are analyzed. The analysis investigates how the focus group participants position themselves in relation to the discourse and, thus, negotiate its meaning and relevance. The analysis seeks to understand what other discourses support, compete with, or challenge the discourse of individual environmental responsibility in order to illuminate how individuals can incorporate or resist this particular discursive description of the world. The thesis also investigates what subject positions are made troubled or untroubled by the focus group participants, which reveals how gender and class discourses position individuals as in various ways or to various degrees responsible for their individual impact on the environment. The analysis suggests that the discourse of individual environmental responsibility privileges independent, self-governing individuals, that is, people who assume responsibility without demanding either societal or social support. Some focus group participants depict individual environmental responsibility as morally significant and beneficial, while others depict it as unrealistic and unacceptable. The discourse seems to engender competition between individuals. Both people acting as highly environmentally responsible and people acting as unable or unwilling to take environmental responsibility are framed as troubled individuals in the conversations. Concurrently, other potential environmentally responsible actors and political scenes are often neglected. The discourse of individual environmental responsibility dominates; for some focus group participants, this discourse leads to a lack of faith in societal ability to handle environmental problems.


  • Swedish

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01575339
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • ISBN: 9789170611452
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Sep 1 2015 11:17AM