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Developing a Compassionate Sense of Place: Environmental and Social Conscientization In Environmental Organizations

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Title: Developing a Compassionate Sense of Place: Environmental and Social Conscientization In Environmental Organizations


1
Developing a Compassionate Sense of Place
Environmental and Social Conscientization In
Environmental Organizations
  • Randolph Haluza- DeLay
  • Doctoral Dissertation
  • Socio-cultural contexts of Education
  • Joint Ph.D. in Education
  • University of Western Ontario
  • January, 29, 2007
  • Full presentation available as download
  • http//csopconsulting.tripod.com/dd

2
  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Project
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change I, II,
    III
  • Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
  • Ecological Footprint of Cnd Cities
  • PUBLIC AWARENESS, BUT LITTLE CHANGE (or at least,
    not enough)

3
  • LITTLE CHANGE (or at least, not enough)
  • More Environmental Ed?
  • Governmental regulation?
  • Social Mvmtsnew frames/cognitive praxis?
  • (see The Death of Environmentalism)
  • Sociologically robust
  • Not cognitive ONLY
  • Practical (that is, everyday lived practice)
  • Imaginative/evocative (ergo, replace the modern
    social imaginary C. Taylor (2004)

4
  • Our analyses may be right as rain but they have
    little or no ability to move people about such a
    deeply resonant array of experience as are
    implied in for example the relation to
    nature.
  • - Neil Smith (1998)
  • Nature at the millennium Production and
    re-enchantment (p. 280)
  • The goal Living environmentally without trying
  • Michael Bell (2004)
  • Introduction to Environmental Sociology

5
Todays talk
  • Getting to the goal of Living environmentally
    without trying
  • Via a compassionate sense of place (an
    environmental logic of practice)
  • Investigate Caring for Place (with attention to
    sociological theory)
  • Provide suggestions for social movement
    organizations as educative.

6
A Compassionate Sense of Place
  • a place-conscious ethos of caring.
  • a field of care involving the intersection of
    self-awareness and practical attentiveness to the
    flourishing of socio-ecological relations.
  • a place-conscious ethos of caring.
  • a field of care involving the intersection of
    self-awareness and practical attentiveness to the
    flourishing of socio-ecological relations.

7
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10
Developing a Compassionate Sense of Place
Environmental and Social Conscientization In
Environmental Organizations
  • Dissertation Integrated Article format
  • (3 independent articles,
  • a literature review, introduction, expanded
    methods conclusion)
  • Involved field research in Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Draws heavily on the sociological tools of Pierre
    Bourdieu and his theory of practice.
  • For example, the conceptualisation of habitus
    helps explain why socio-ecological change has
    been so difficult to generate ALTHOUGH we have
    heard so much about the decline in environmental
    conditions.

11
Integrated article format
  • Introduction Placing the Research
  • Education, social movements and environmental
    learning
  • Article1 The practice of environmentalism
    Creating ecological habitus
  • Interlude Ethnography as method
  • Article2 Habitus and cognitive praxis among
    environmentalists
  • Article3 Caring for place? Possibilities for a
    compassionate sense of place among
    environmentalists
  • Caught not taught Growing a compassionate sense
    of place...

12
Bourdieusian Concepts
  • Bourdieu is good to think with
  • Bourdieus theory of practice, includes
  • Field
  • Habitus
  • Logic of Practice (sens pratique)
  • Forms of capital symbolic power/violence
  • The theory of action that I propose (with the
    notion of habitus) amounts to saying that most
    human actions have as a basis something quite
    different from intention, that is, acquired
    dispositions which make it so that an action can
    and should be interpreted as oriented toward one
    objective or another without anyone being able to
    claim that that objective was a conscious design
    (Bourdieu, 1998, p. 97-98).
  • People do not think their lives they live
    them.

13
The Practice of Environmentalism.
  • EE research - knowledge and behaviour not well
    linked.
  • Cognition only small part of environmental
    practice.
  • Nevertheless, EE ee are highly rational
    information driven.
  • OVEREMPHASIS on the cognitive aspects of
    behaviour.

14
The Practice of Environmentalism.
  • I dont know what that change is. Its not like
    people dont have the information. Anything
    were doing or not doing is not because of a lack
    of information. So what is it? Whats the key
    here?
  • (Interview, Chrissy)
  • I think theres a social aspect to all this that
    I just cant define. In some ways it's advancing
    because it is socially acceptable to recycle or
    naturalize your lawn... but I think the social
    aspect has a hold that's larger than we give it
    credit.
  • (Interview, Brian)

15
Methods investigating practice
  • Analytic Ethnography (Lofland 1996 Snow,
    Morrill Anderson, 2000)
  • Theory-driven, NOT grounded theory, nor thick
    description.
  • Enables sustained theorizing across cases
  • Refinement of a compassionate sense of place
  • Extension of habitus ? ecological habitus

16
Methods
  • Placing the Field -
  • Thunder Bay
  • The North, far removed from the South
  • Specific issues local environmentalism

17
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19
Methods
  • Placing the Field -
  • Thunder Bay
  • The North, far removed from the South
  • Specific issues local environmentalism
  • Involved for 3 ½ yrs.
  • Deliberate fieldwork from May -November of my
    last year.
  • Just under 20 organizations (most ad hoc)
  • Culminated in 24 formal interviews with 27
    environmentally active people.

20
Caring for place? Possibilities for a
compassionate sense of place among
environmentalists
  • Extensive literature on place
  • Diverse literature on caring, love, ethic of
    care
  • Lots of theoretical ecophilosophical writing
    (especially, ecofeminism)
  • How does it work in practice?
  • Caring for Place?

21
Caring for place?
  • The assumption
  • grounded in and supports the development of a
    love for ones place.
  • - Principles of Successful Place- Based
    Education
  • http//www.promiseofplace.org/how_pbe_works/

22
Place
  • Places are very complex sites of continual
    reconfiguration of position, and representation.
  • Thus, Place will be contested and fluid, as
    actors weight different values/meanings/practices/
    positions, and mobilize resources.
  • Furthermore, places are porously boundaried, a
    mashup of varied relations, INCLUDING Ecological
    relations.
  • Place is important as location of lived
    practice.
  • The goal of environmentalism is to create an
    effective environmental logic of practice.
  • Effective is effective on the ground, in
    practice.

ENVIRONMENT north has a pro-north perspective,
and attempts to represent interests and
particular issues of the region.... We think
objectives of diversifying the economy while
maintaining the natural resource base need to be
central in regional practices. In other words, a
sustainable North, where economic and social
decisions contribute to the long-term.
(http//www.environmentnorth.ca/about_us.htm.
Punctuation as in original)
23
Findings Environmental habitus
  • Many ways of being an environmentalist
  • Characteristics across these many ways
  • trying to live environmentally
  • awareness of inconsistency

24
  • I don't live in an urban setting, or a co-op. I
    live in the country. My house is surrounded by
    trees. I don't harvest them. I harvest only what
    has fallen to the ground. I don't cut trees off
    my property although wood-burning to heat the
    house. Only those trees that have reached the end
    of the life-cycle. My children are the same way.
    We do promote recycling. Composting. Vegetable
    garden. Not enough to keep us going for a year,
    but we try to practice what we preach. I have
    some things that I have not been able to get a
    handle on. My family is a large consumer of
    fossil fuels. We commute back and forth two
    vehicles, and a third trip back at some point.
    Can I do anything about that right now? Not if I
    want to live in the country.
  • (Interview, Edward)

25
Findings Environmental habitus
  • Many ways of being an environmentalist
  • Characteristics across these many ways
  • trying to live environmentally
  • awareness of inconsistency
  • There is a feel for how to live well
    (environmentally), but people have a hard time
    doing so.

26
Bourdieusian Concepts
The FIELD ?- ? ? The logic of
PRACTICE (sens pratique) HABITUS ?-
27
Findings Environmental Habitus
  • Many ways of being an environmentalist
  • Characteristics across these many ways
  • trying to live environmentally
  • awareness of inconsistency
  • engaged in self-disposing
  • reflexive
  • There is a feel for how to live well
    (environmentally), but
  • Meisenhelder (1997) says habitus is naturalized
    (p. 166), but the ecological habitus cannot
    currently be so, because it is NOT natural to
    the field of an unecological society.

28
FINDINGS - Place
  • Place
  • Practical Performative (meaning-contested)
  • Experiential (site of lived practice, affects
    person)
  • Places link/scale up
  • Place Matters
  • Environmental dispositions important
  • (Place matters ? place matters
    environmentally)
  • Habitus needs somewhere to operate.

29
Caring
  • A function of all humans.
  • Socially shaped consists of practices rather
    than emotions.
  • Attentive e.g., listens to/for needs.
  • Responsive becomes practical action.
  • Caring for (close-by relations), but also
    caring about (at a distance, even politicised).

30
FINDINGS Caring
  • Caring
  • Deeply authentic
  • Disposed to action
  • Associated with emotion

31
  • Deeply authentic
  • Mary Can't force people to care.
  • Brian You are seeing caring as an end goal,
    so the person is beyond respect, and now they
    are REALLY into it.
  • Randy You both are making it sound like respect
    is good, caring might be better.
  • Both agreed.
  • (Interview, Mary Brian)
  • Not only does compassion keeps us from being
    strident or judgmental compassion can be a
    fundamental principle that can reorient our
    relationships with all the world.
  • (Kane speaking, Fieldnotes, October 29)
  • Disposed to action
  • What is more important to my work? Caring.
    Because caring implies doing something about it.
    Respect is OK, but it's not doing anything. So
    what?
  • (Interview, Stan)

32
  • Disposed to action
  • Randy Do you have any examples of caring?
  • Roger (rattled off several). I care for Lake
    Superior very strongly.... And I cared enough to
    bring the two parties together. The government
    was getting nowhere and I did some secret
    negotiations with name deleted and worked out
    a deal that helped protect the lake.
  • Randy And you said that's because you care about
    Lake Superior?
  • Roger Right, if I didn't care who cares? If I
    didn't care that it was a beautiful body of water
    and we have to get this crap out of the lake? And
    we did that.

33
  • Caring as emotion
  • Love/compassion has to take on structures or
    they are just emotions.
  • (Sam, Interview)
  • Mary said they wished to use reason, facts,
    logic and technical soundness rather than
    something like caring.
  • Chrissy, describing her little plot of land, and
    a desire to take care of it well, got
    embarrassed.
  • I never lost my sense of how beautiful that was
    and how I did not want to see that beauty
    destroyed in any way. Cutting down a tree hurt my
    feelings. laughs Talk about a tree hugger!

34
FINDINGS Caring
  • Caring
  • Deeply authentic
  • Disposed to action
  • Associated with emotion
  • Caring for whom/what?
  • More than self-interest, family, close-by.
  • Could extend to socio-ecological
    actants/relations of the place (including the
    other-than-human).
  • Caring involved specifics, but could recognize
    that places were linked to other places

35
  • Caring involved specifics, but could recognize
    that places were linked to other places
  • Roger carefully Caring for the issues that
    affect the planet, the biosphere.
  • Randy So caring more about particular issues or
    caring for
  • Roger Talking over me, speeding up You
    can't really look at the whole world, you have to
    pick something that contributes to the whole
    world. Anyone says theyre going to look after
    the whole world the question is how? There are
    millions of issues out there that but if anyone
    took on a few issues to care and to advance, then
    the whole planet is positively affected. You
    can't really say Well, I'm gonna save the whole
    planet.

36
FINDINGS Caring
  • Caring
  • Deeply authentic
  • Disposed to action
  • Associated with emotion
  • Caring for whom/what?
  • Perceived as politically ineffectual
  • Too emotional not reason/rationality
  • Over peoples heads (TOO deep)

37
  • Caring as too deep
  • No, I dont think describing environmental work
    as caring will work because I dont think most
    people are there. Youre talking over their heads
    or youre talking a foreign language.
  • (Interview, Richard)
  • Caring as too emotional
  • All in all, I don't think we try to appeal much
    to the emotional side of these issues And as
    an organization... we've avoided that term
    environmentalist. In a lot of ways,
    environmentalists are seen as emotionalists, and
    that is why we've taken a distinctly different
    tack, to try to keep things logical and so forth.
    Because the minute you get emotional, then it's
    personal.
  • (Interview, Mary)

38
FINDINGS - Environmental Organizations
  • The ENGO became a site for socialization of the
    habitus,
  • as well as for the maintenance of a more
    ecological habitus.
  • Environmental discourse extends the bounds of
    attentiveness to include other components of the
    place.
  • ENGOs concentrated response.
  • HERE, an environmentally-oriented way-of-being is
    OK.

Your behaviour does change. I think your level of
awareness, understanding it's education in a
way. I mean that's obvious you work at a job for
a couple of years and you're gonna learn
something and I think you do. I can't speak for
Mary (she is agreeing). but I do think your
behaviour does change as a result of some of the
things that do go on. I think those are positive
changes. (Interview, Brian)
39
ENGOs ?- ? ? An eco-logical logic
of practice? (required a reflexive
component) Ecological ?- HABITUS
40
Sustainable society ?- Living well
(environmentally) ? ? without
trying Ecological ?- Habitus (includes
dispositions of caring)
Sustainable society ?- Living well
(environmentally) ? ? without
trying Ecological ?- Habitus (includes
dispositions of caring)
41
Caring and Place
  • Both Caring and Place are practice-based logics
  • Therefore, attentive to particularity, they
    challenge universalizing rationality and
    rule-oriented practice.
  • Ethos, not ethic
  • Both are performative, experiential, operating at
    multiple scales valid outside of strictly human
    domains (e.g., socio-ecological places).

42
  • (Fieldnotes, December 19, talking with Stan)
  • Why does do this stuff? Is it because he is in
    Thunder Bay? He said, maybe he would do it if
    elsewhere. Also it's the stage in life hes at.
    His kids are grown. Maybe he would do it if
    elsewhere.
  • Then he said, Sure, if I was in another
    community, if I felt a connection to the
    community and wasnt just a transient... hmmm, I
    can see the benefits of your labour.

43
Caught not taught Growing a compassionate sense
of place...
  • Caring can be commended as a possible orientation
    for an eco-logic of practice,
  • but with reservations.
  • Caring habituates (a deeply authentic
    orientation)
  • Caring disposes to action
  • Action occurs in a place (potentially scaled up.)
  • But, Caring devalued
  • THEREFORE,
  • We need PRACTICE in caring
  • We need a better language for caring, love,
    compassion
  • Must be politicised (not sentimentalized)

44
  • Darder, Freire Critical Pedagogy is founded on
    love
  • Love is... an act of courage, not of fear, love
    is commitment to other men. No matter where the
    oppressed are found, the act of love is
    commitment to their cause the cause of
    liberation.... As an act of bravery, love cannot
    be sentimental.... It must generate other acts of
    freedom otherwise, it is not love....
  • (Freire, 1983, pp. 78-79)

45
A Compassionate Sense of Place
  • A logic of practice
  • a place-conscious ethos of caring.
  • a field of care involving the intersection of
    self-awareness and practical attentiveness to the
    flourishing of socio-ecological relations.
  • Living well in a place
  • a place-conscious ethos of caring.
  • a field of care involving the intersection of
    self-awareness and practical attentiveness to the
    flourishing of socio-ecological relations.

46
Todays talk
  • Getting to the goal Living environmentally
    without trying
  • Via a compassionate sense of place (an
    environmental logic of practice)
  • Investigate Caring for Place (with attention to
    sociological theory)
  • Provide suggestions for social movement
    organizations as educative.

47
The Practice of Environmentalism.
  • Can environmental social movement organizations
    teach an alternate logic of practice
    sufficient for socio-ecological change?

Fortunately, a reflexive component can be a part
of the habitus. This gives hope to pedagogical
efforts.
BUT its not about knowledge only.
48
Learning in Social Movements
  • Careful ethnographies show a tacit dimension to
    learning in social movements.
  • Internalisation of experience, within a situated
    context
  • Learning must be understood as the gradual
    transformation of knowledge into knowing, and
    part of that transformation involves a deepening
    internalisation to the point that people and
    their knowing are totally integrated one with
    the other (Le Cornu, 2005, p. 175, emphasis
    added).
  • This understanding fits the notion of a
    reflexive, ecological habitus.
  • CAUGHT not TAUGHT

49
The Practice of Environmentalism Creating an
Ecological Habitus
  • An ecological sens pratique negotiating an
    un-ecological society will need
  • Details of ecologically sound lifestyle
    practices
  • Analysis of the social structures that inhibit
    ecological lifestyle
  • Understanding how social relations resist an
    ecological worldview and lifestyle
  • Internalisation an ecological habitus will
    thrive only in a social field where it is
    sensible. CAUGHT not TAUGHT.

50
IN CONCLUSION
  • Bourdieus theory of practice does advance social
    movement theory, AND movement praxis.
  • To be effective, ESMOs would do well to
  • Address field and habitus concurrently
  • See themselves differently as fields of
    practice in which living environmentally
    without trying begins to make sense.
  • Be fields which operationalize a compassionate
    sense of place.
  • There IS potential for environmental
    organizations to provide opportunities for
    transformation of the habitus.
  • JUST THE START (for me)!

51
Caught not taught Growing a compassionate sense
of place...
  • Full presentation and all papers (including an
    extended piece on transformative imagining and
    movement intellectuals) available as downloads
  • http//csopconsulting.tripod.com/dd
  • MERCI BEAUCOUP
  • Go Forth, and LIVE WELL (without trying)

52
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53
Observations
  • How will Socio-ecological improvement happen?
  • The Bourdieusian answer Transformation of
    individual habitus difficult apart from the
    field.
  • Progressive social change, but habitus is
    conservative?
  • Habitus is overly deterministic?
  • NO, but inertial.
  • Fortunately, a reflexive component can be a part
    of the habitus. (and this gives hope to
    pedagogical elements!)

habitus tends to ensure its own constancy and
its defense against change through the selection
it makes within new information by rejecting
information capable of calling into question its
accumulated information (Bourdieu Wacquant,
1992, p. 167).
54
  • I find that with a lot of activists, theyre too
    far down the road. Maybe they partially live in
    the changed world but it hasnt changed yet. So
    they develop plans and programs and stuff that
    dont work because the people that are in there
    municipal government or other positions of
    influence arent ready for them.
  • (Interview, Richard)

55
The Practice of Environmentalism Creating an
Ecological Habitus
  • Environmentalism will be challenged in a field
    centred around hegemonic versions of realities
    that are generally contrary to its goals.
  • It will struggle to articulate its frames in
    contention with dominant logics in which it does
    not make sense.
  • Fortunately, a reflexive component can be a part
    of the habitus.
  • (and this gives hope to pedagogical efforts!)

56
  • I dont think where I live has driven my
    opinions. And I dont think that if I lived in
    Malawi, London or Toronto, I would have a
    fundamentally different approach towards my
    politics. Maybe what Im arguing is I dont know
    how much place matters to why people come to
    politics, or come to activism.
  • (interview, Christoff)

So my sense of place drives specifics but my
overall interest in politics, my overall interest
in being involved in the political and the
decision making process of society, I think, is a
bit more fundamental to ME with emphasis, as
opposed to being to the location or the locale
that Im in.
At some level or another things are global and
you have to address that... But you also have to
have some level of recognition that people
locally have to deal with their issues.... And
thats where the local driving the priorities is
reality. Im not saying its perfect .... But you
have to at some degree focus on what you know and
what you feel you can directly get your hands
around.
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