Emotions, Subjectivity, and the Environment: A Study of Environmental Involvement in a Campus Community
Awareness of environmental issues and the necessity for more sustainable solutions are common topics, particularly in the academia and on university campuses. Researchers and public figures have stressed multiple times the importance of knowledge in encouraging more environmentally-friendly behaviors. Efforts to raise awareness about environmental issues are common all around the world. However, a gap remains between environmental concern and the apparent lack of overall engagement in environmentally-friendly behaviors, notably in the U.S. It appears that even though individual knowledge about the impact of human activities on the environment has increased and related information is more readily available than ever before, participation in environmental protection remains marginal. Since environmentally-friendly behaviors differ greatly from our current way of life, it is primordial to understand the complex interactions between the individual, knowledge, and the environment. Drawing on literature from feminist political ecology, masculinity studies, and emotional geography, this study aims to understand how young, educated white males in the South of the U.S. personally relate to nature and environmental discourse. Using insights from theories on emotions and affects, I argue that my participants’ emotions and experiences come together to discursively build nature as an emotional “sanctuary”. At the same time however, this strong emotional bond also detaches nature from the realm of the everyday, as nature is built in opposition to the rational culture of society. I further argue that this discursive divide between nature and the everyday is shaped by hegemonic masculine ideals such as emotional neutrality. In addition, I demonstrate how environmental discourse, by its focus on scientific values and its emphasis on global issues, becomes disconnected from the everyday and nature as a place of emotion. This research provides further insights on how subjectivity and emotions can be used as a way to promote environmental protection. Through this study, I strive to present how a better understanding of emotions and subjectivity can help uncover new ways to connect environmental concerns and the everyday in order to improve community participation in environmental protection.
Kresz, Camille. (July 2018). Emotions, Subjectivity, and the Environment: A Study of Environmental Involvement in a Campus Community (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6930.)
Kresz, Camille. Emotions, Subjectivity, and the Environment: A Study of Environmental Involvement in a Campus Community. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, July 2018. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/6930. January 28, 2020.
Kresz, Camille, “Emotions, Subjectivity, and the Environment: A Study of Environmental Involvement in a Campus Community” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, July 2018).
Kresz, Camille. Emotions, Subjectivity, and the Environment: A Study of Environmental Involvement in a Campus Community [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; July 2018.
East Carolina University