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Title: The myth of apathy : psychosocial dimensions of environmental degradation
Author: Lertzman, Renee Aron
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 9907
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis presents a psychosocial investigation into environmental subjectivity, through the lens of the myth of apathy. The central argument is for the acknowledgement of unconscious processes, in particular defence mechanisms, and themes of loss, mourning and ambivalence, in how environmental issues are perceived, experienced and responded to. The research draws from qualitative fieldwork in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2007, involving three in-depth interviews with ten participants selected through the use of an online survey. Surveys were sent out to 1067 residents in Green Bay, 163 responded. The interviews were conducted using a dialogic, relational interview approach, and the analysis based on psychoanalytic qualitative research methods. The analysis centres on several core themes as emerging in the data and in the context of industry in Green Bay: loss, mourning and melancholia; ambivalence and splitting; and concern, care and reparation. The data analysis presents two case studies and four analytic thematic chapters. Based on psychoanalytic clinical work on reparation, the thesis presents a case for the incorporation of creativity and concern in the practice of environmental communications and advocacy, and critiques the concept of apathy as based on assumptions regarding a lack of concern or care. Further the thesis critiques the concepts of the gap between values and practices, or between concern and action, and advocates an appreciation for the complex dilemmas, struggles, and contradictions that may arise from environmental issues and degradation. The thesis aims to contribute to the field and practice of environmental communications and policy, in addressing unconscious dimensions and the need to incorporate affective elements of environmental degradation in addition to attitudes, values and behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available