The Everyday Transition

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Søren Brøndum Christensen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
In this master thesis it has been attempted to shine a light on how a dedication to environmentally and sustainable actions influence the everyday life, and further more to reveal how one comes to the idea, that we need to act, and act now, in order to avoid a future dystopia. Thus asking:
How is the idea of an environmentally burdened planet being constructed, and what are the consequences of this in everyday life?
On the backdrop of a study conducted by Kari Marie Noorgard (2009) concerning how we are apparently Living in Denial when it comes to accepting the impact we have on climate change, this study involves individuals who are definitely not living in denial, and seeks to gain a deeper understanding of how the everyday life is perceived from their perspective. Many a study has emphasized how macro structures influence our daily lives and force us to make unsustainable choices e.g. concerning consumerism. But it appears as though there is a gap regarding studies of the role environmental behavior in everyday interactions. The study therefor draws on especially Erving Goffmans (1922-1982) theories of The Presentation of Self (1959) and Stigma (1963), while also drawing Alfred Schütz’ (1899-1959) perceptions of the lifeworld, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the everyday mechanisms. The study involves seven informants who all are or has been involved with the Transition Towns movement, underlining their commitment to the environmental cause. The informants where asked to fill out a diary and take pictures during their everyday life concerning their environmentally oriented actions over the course of seven days after which follow-up interviews were conducted.
Among other things the study shows that even though you are deeply committed to the environmental cause, you are likely to not raise the subject in interactions with people who you perceive to be not as interested in the cause. One of the reasons for this is the doubt regarding the abstract knowledge linked to environmental matters, but another point is that there is the danger of facing sanctions from the other part. This indicates the matter is deeply liked to emotions and moralizing, and is perceived as being something which ought to be ones own decision, as it is a part of the everyday sphere, and therefor concerning e.g. ones household. Furthermore the study shows that compromises are an important part of the everyday life of environmentally concerned individuals, just as turning environmental choices into habits seems important.
Publication date7 Aug 2014
Number of pages88
ID: 202015932