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Title: 'I live sustainably' : exploring sustainable narratives through the lens of identity expression and motivational drives
Author: Garnelo-Gomez, Irene
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 3673
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis explores narratives of individuals who self-identify as living sustainably, with two interlinked aims: (1) to explore how such individuals use sustainable narratives as an expression of their identity, and (2) to explore what motivates them to live sustainably. While novel insights emerge from each of these explorations, findings are also used to shed light on how expressions of identity and motivational drives interplay in sustainable narratives. A brief review of key theories in identity and motivation literatures identifies the Dynamic Model of Identity Development (Hillenbrand & Money, 2015) as well as the Four Drive Theory of Human Motivation (Lawrence & Nohria, 2002) as useful frameworks to guide parts of the empirical research. A more elaborate review and exploration of the existing literature on identity and motivations in relation to sustainability is then provided in the discussion of findings. For the purposes of the empirical research, a total of 35 semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals self-identifying as living sustainably. While the initial part of the interviews was conducted inductively using a range of projective techniques, the final part of the interviews was guided by the theories described above. The combination of inductive and deductive research enables both theory building and theory testing for the purpose of this study. Drawing on the analysis of participants‘ expressions of identity and motivational drives, as well as the analysis of their interplay, a new typology is developed. This typology classifies individuals as 'Holistically', 'Privately', 'Publicly' or 'Accidentally Sustainable', and offers a representation of associated identity characteristics and motivational drives for each group. Importantly, the findings reveal that individuals in each group differ in terms of key aspects of identity expression. These include whether aspects of personal or social identity are salient, and whether individuals are mostly motivated to live sustainably as a means of acquiring a status and financial benefits, to bond with others, to learn and develop themselves, or to defend their beliefs. While each group emerges with a distinctive portfolio of unique insights, it is the interplay between identity expression and motivational drives that is perhaps most interesting. This culminates with the presentation of a novel typology of identity and motivational elements which can – for the first time – describe, differentiate and explain sustainable narratives of individuals self-identifying as living sustainably.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available