Synthesizing individualistic and collectivistic perspectives on environmental and collective action through a relational perspective

Martijn van Zomeren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theorizing about environmental or collective action relies on individualistic or collectivistic assumptions, respectively. Thus, a unified explanation for lowering one's thermostat (a form of environmental action) and participating in mass protest (a form of collective action) is lacking. Building on a broad literature that views humans as relational beings, I aim to show that (a) a relational perspective synthesizes these two perspectives by reconceptualizing environmental and collective action as types of social interaction that regulate social relationships and (b) therefore, environmental and collective action have a similar motivational profile. This implies that both collective and environmental action are ultimately relational phenomena; that any assumption that environmental action is motivated by individualistic concerns and collective action by collectivistic concerns, limits our understanding of either type of action; and that future theorizing and research on environmental and collective action will benefit from adopting a relational perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-794
Number of pages20
JournalTheory & Psychology
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2014

Keywords

  • environmental action
  • collective action
  • motivation
  • meta-theory
  • social relationships
  • SOCIAL IDENTITY MODEL
  • PANCULTURAL SELF-ENHANCEMENT
  • MORAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • BEHAVIOR
  • ATTACHMENT
  • VALUES
  • BELIEFS
  • CHOICE
  • NEED
  • IDENTIFICATION

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