Publication Details

Head, L., Klocker, N. & Aguirre-Bielschowsky, I. (2019). Environmental values, knowledge and behaviour: Contributions of an emergent literature on the role of ethnicity and migration. Progress in Human Geography: an international review of geographical work in the social sciences and humanities, 43 (3), 397-415.


Amidst calls for paradigm shifts in environmental scholarship, we track an emergent literature on how environmental values, knowledge and behaviour (EVKB) change (or not) with the migration process. We focus on the role of Majority World migrants to the Minority World. Large-scale survey research into EVKB is beginning to consider both ethnicity and migration history as important variables, but tends to leave the concepts of environment and environmental behaviour unexamined. Western EVKB indicators thus tend to be universalized rather than understood as themselves culturally specific. An emergent literature attempts to improve both quantitative and qualitative research on EVKB by broadening the conceptualization of environmental behaviour to include the practices of Majority World migrants. Those studies throw new light on the process of acculturation as having disruptive or solidifying potential for sustainable practices. We summarize four implications for future research. There is a need to go beyond western logics in research design and method. Straightforward assumptions about the 'pro' in pro-environmental behaviour need to be challenged. Cases of EVKB's persistence post-migration and positive influence on the broader population should be sought out and examined. The migration process provides real-time experiments in enacting alternative worlds.

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