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Title: Blind belief in a commodified natural resource : a grounded theory
Author: Pearce, Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2013
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This research examines the application of a Classic Glaserian Grounded Theory methodology to the phenomenon of drought when viewed from the perspective of household water users in southern England. The resulting conceptual work calls into question the effectiveness of water-wise messaging and current Government policies on water management, by highlighting the double assurances afforded to the public through their own observations of the natural cycling of water resources between atmosphere and land, and the continuous operation of the regulated water industry, that together sustain blind belief in the ongoing availability of potable water resources. To establish a clear separation between the development of substantive theory and mixed method studies that claim to take a grounded theory approach that are generally more popular within the discipline of Human Geography, the theory is presented alongside two pieces of work; a collection of modern drought histories and a questionnaire. Developed as part of the necessary process of cycling alternate projects to enable a theory to emerge from the data whilst the researcher is distracted from forcing her own ideas onto it, both these pieces can be viewed separately or as supportive companions to the theory. Additionally, in acknowledging the difficulty in presenting a Classic Grounded Theory in the traditional discussional form, for the benefit of the reader the theory is preceded by an autoethnography, which incorporates descriptive elements taken from field notes and the author’s personal water diary. These works draw data from subjects in three counties in England (Norfolk, Kent, and Devon), following the northwest – southeast rainfall gradient. Supplementary material for the drought histories is drawn from local and national archives and recorded oral histories. The primary emphasis of this work is placed on assessing the merits of each of the methods deployed in addressing environmental social science issues in the context of climate change, which hitherto have been focused on perception questionnaires and the development of popular cultural typologies.
Supervisor: Barr, Stewart; Dessai, Suraje; Hinchliffe, Stephen; Wright, Julian Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) CASE Studentship with the Environment Agency
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Grounded Theory ; Sustainable Water Management ; Drought ; Climate Change ; Home Water Use ; Drought and Climate Change ; Environmental Behaviour ; Behaviour Change