Dystopian Narratives:Testing Qualitative Story Completion Method with Theory from Degrowth
Abstract: In the global north, we seem well informed of the pending climate crisis, but despite criticism of un-sustainability, it seems as if we lack alternatives to eco-modernist solutions. Although not unproblematic, degrowth and other alternatives do exist, but are somehow non-existing in the public debate. Within political ecology and ecological economics this can be explained in terms of “capitalistic hegemony” and “growth paradigms'', and for which the degrowth literature suggest the need for a “decolonization of the imaginary”. In order to reconceptualize discourses, they must first be identified. Through a novel method from psychology called story completion, people's perceptions and social constructs can be identified. This dissertation tested the story completion method with theory from the degrowth literature, by letting ten participants finish a fictional story circulating the topics of climate crisis and solutions through future consequences. Empirical data revealed mostly dystopian patterns in the analysis, which points towards a need for more discussions on these topics. The method is evaluated to have potential in this area since it directs focus on specific social constructs. Especially, when having these difficult conversations, addressing social constructs opposed to personal views, is much easier regarding sensitive subjects such as environmental concern and behavior.
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