Environmentalism as Cultural Paradigm

Carolyn Abbott
Glenn Harris

DOI: 10.2190/5HKT-V8LU-8LKW-XXTB


This research examined the application of Kuhn's paradigmatic theory to the study of the environmental movement. It explored the extent of a paradigmatic shift toward environmentally considerate values. This study of residents in northern New York State showed slight support for a new environmental paradigm (NEP). The variables of age, education, and income did not correlate with scoring on the NEP scale. Significant differences in NEP values were not found between males and females, or between those with a high school education and those with any college education. A significant difference was found for age; those under forty were more supportive of the NEP values when the NEP was defined in a way that included reorganizing social structure and community. Respondents showed different support of different subsets of the NEP. Most strongly supported were concepts recognizing the place of humans within the balance of nature. Less accepted was the concept that economic growth should be controlled, and least accepted were values opposing science and technology.

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