Family Socialisation & Construction of Environmental Meaning : A study of family units as socialisation agents in which environmental discourses are created through the interactions of family members

University essay from Jönköping University/Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation

Abstract: This thesis investigates how environmental meaning is constructed within families, considered as units of socialisation, and what role family members play in it. Family socialisation is a dynamic moment in which family members interact and generate meanings, values, beliefs and habits. Drawing on theories of the social construction of reality, symbolisation and symbolic interactionism, the thesis examines sustainable symbols and shared beliefs among parents and young adult children, considered relevant both for understanding how the family social group feels towards the environment and for understanding what motivations can be found behind the family's environmental habits. By conducting semi-structured interviews with parents and young adult children, recurring patterns of sustainable meanings and symbols were identified. The results show that the family context is regarded as the first site of environmental awareness and education, where sustainability discourses take the form of open conversations focused on individual behaviour and family values. In these conversation, parents and young adult children cover specific roles that dynamically contribute to the creation of environmental meanings. The thesis is considered relevant in that it creates a solid understanding of both the form that environmental discourse takes within families and the intrinsic motivations that justify this form, so that more conscious environmental communication and education can be developed.

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