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Title: Environmental communication and behaviour change in the Bible Belt of the United States
Author: Layne, Mary Kristen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 4063
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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The Christian church in the southeast United States is a dominant institution that, if mobilised, has the potential to be a powerful force for environmental engagement and the promotion of pro-environmental behaviour. In an effort to advance understanding of the barriers to such engagement and behaviour change in the region, this thesis considers, in the context of religious Bible Belt communities, 1) the relative influence of different forms of social power on grassroots pro-environmental behaviour change, 2) the alignment of environmental and prosocial engagement, and 3) the characteristics of effective programmes for stimulating grassroots pro-environmental behaviour change. It approaches these areas of research from three different angles: an interdisciplinary review of the literature on behaviour change models, social power, framing and environmental communication more broadly; a Multi-Grounded Theory analysis of 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders in environmental and Christian organisations in the southern US; and a statistical analysis of a web-based survey of self-identified Christians across the politically and religiously conservative region (N = 400, across eleven states) regarding participants’ attitudes towards, participation in and beliefs about environmental and prosocial issues. Key findings include the identification of the ‘champion’ and ‘bridge’ models of action in religious organisations, as well as evidence for distinct (and opposing) influences of religious beliefs (orthodoxy) and religious practices (religiosity) on the gap between prosocial and environmental engagement. The thesis also introduces a new researcher reflexivity methodology for use in qualitative research. Based on the findings, the thesis argues that reducing the liberal stigma of environmentalism is paramount in mobilising Christians for climate change action. To this end, a sustained focus on encouraging specific pro-environmental behaviours framed in terms of altruistic concerns should be undertaken to encourage pro-environmental actions in southern Christian populations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GE Environmental Sciences ; H Social Sciences (General)