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Meanings of environment for families in India and the UK Project team: Janet Boddy, Ann Phoenix, Helen Austerberry, Hanan Hauari, Catherine Walker Young.

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Presentation on theme: "Meanings of environment for families in India and the UK Project team: Janet Boddy, Ann Phoenix, Helen Austerberry, Hanan Hauari, Catherine Walker Young."— Presentation transcript:

1 Meanings of environment for families in India and the UK Project team: Janet Boddy, Ann Phoenix, Helen Austerberry, Hanan Hauari, Catherine Walker Young Lives: Uma Vennam, Madhavi Latha, Virginia Morrow, Gina Crivello and Emma Wilson Thanks also to Natasha Shukla

2 Overarching aim To improve understanding of the negotiated complexity of families’ lives in relationship with their environments, with regard to meanings of ‘environment’ in narratives of everyday and habitual family lives and family practices. ‘climate change policy proceeds on the basis of an extraordinarily limited understanding of the social world and is, for the most part, untouched by theoretical debate of any kind’. Shove (2010, p278) ‘unambiguously identifying good and evil among individuals and ways of life’ Guha (2006, p25)

3 Environmental identity? ‘Every person has an environmental identity (whether it is concerned, apathetic, or antagonistic) that is a necessary part of her full identity. A foundational aspect of identity, as we examine Ricoeur’s ethic, is what one sees as the good life. For a person with a more engaged environmental identity, the good life involves interaction with and preservation of the natural world.’ Bell (2014, p142)

4 Learning from difference ‘the dominant thrust of the environmental movement in the North […] is toward the protection of pristine, unspoilt nature – this being a reservoir of biological diversity and enormous aesthetic appeal which serves as an ideal (if temporary) haven from the workaday world. […] the dominant thrust of the environmental movement in India […] powerfully foregrounds questions of production and distribution within human society. The concern here is with “the use of the environment and who should benefit from it; not with environmental protection for its own sake”’ (Guha, 2006, p67) Informing understandings of ‘translatability’ – and potential for shared learning across contexts – in cross-national research

5 5 Everyday lives and family practices “the sets of relationships (structures, collectivities) within which [family practices] are carried out and from which they derive their meaning” (Morgan 2011, no page numbers) Narrative addresses the meanings of family practices their relationship to individual and collective identities; connected not only socially but through time and space; their relationship to understandings of socially and culturally accepted norms.

6 Precarious life Judith Butler (e.g., 2004, 2012) An inevitable interdependency, based in an embedded sociality Encompassing dependence on those we do not know (distal and ‘other’) as well as those we do (proximate and familiar) Politically and economically constructed, and hence unequal ‘it is only when we understand that what happens there also happens here, and that “here” is already an elsewhere, and necessarily so, that we stand a chance of grasping the difficult and shifting global connections’. (Butler, 2012, p150)

7 7 Methods

8 Sample India (AP)State capital (Hyderabad)Rural area Gov’t schoolMamatha (girl, 11) Mother, father, two siblings Dharani (girl, 12) Mother, father, sibling Anand (boy, 14) Mother, father, two siblings Chandhrasekhar (boy, 12) Mother, father, sibling Private schoolGomathi (girl, 12) Mother, father, one sibling, cousin. Chitra (girl, 12) Mother, father, sibling Rahul (boy, 12) Mother, father, one sibling Hemant (boy, 12) Mother, father, sibling, two grandparents International school Amrutha (girl, 12) Mother, father, one sibling Reethika (girl, 12) Mother, father, sibling Aamir (12) Mother, father, two siblings, grandmother Mohanram (boy, 12) Father, step-mother, sibling, two grandparents UKCountry capital (London)Rural area State schoolsPhoebe (girl, 12) Mother, father, two siblings Amy (girl, 11) Mother, one sibling Nathan (boy, 12) Mother, step-father, three siblings Callum (boy, 11) Mother, one sibling Antonia (girl, 12) Father, mother, two siblings Helena (girl, 12) Father Kofi (boy, 11) Mother, two siblings Jack (boy, 12) Mother, father, one sibling Independent school Marnie (girl, 12) Mother, father, two siblings Rosie (girl, 12) Mother, father, one sibling Humphrey (boy, 12) Mother, father, one sibling Oliver (boy, 11) Mother, step-father, two siblings

9 Diverse meanings of environment  The immediacy of environmental considerations in everyday life (after Guha 2006)  Perceptions of precarity in relation to the environment (after Butler 2004, 2012)

10 Structural production of precarious environments Mamatha’s family (urban Indian girl, government school) Syamala: …What’s now, getting drenched outside and inside, that’s the scene […] Syamala: During heavy rains, will send the three children to my mother’s place, we both get drenched and stay, cover ourselves with blankets and sleep […] Madhavi: Then how are you managing? Syamala: What is there to manage? It’s all tension, they will evacuate this, when will they do, and [we are] afraid of when it happens! […] Syamala: We have kept the material at my dad’s place. Some of it [has been] kept at father’s place; the utensils, boxes at my mother’s place; and few for cooking and eating purpose utensils are kept with me, madam.

11 Structural production of precarious environments Rosie’s family (rural UK girl, independent school) Sally:He's just going to make money from it. […] And at the meetings (...) I'm sorry; at the meetings everyone here’s quite af-afraid of him because he's a wealthy man and we all know him. Janet:Does he own a lot of the – is there a lot of tied property to the estate? Sally:A lot of property. The [farmland in this area] all belongs to him. It's all tenanted by farmers. But obviously they […] but they um (...) but they, they're in a position where they can't really be the ones to object. Even though they're farmers and farmers generally would say absolutely not, this is terrible and could poison the soil. But they can't say a word because he's the landowner. It's a terrible position. And had we known about this, under no circumstances would we have bought our house.

12 Environmental and economic production of precarious life Chandhrasekhar’s family (rural Indian boy, government school) Sumathi:Everything had drowned and was damaged, not a single [tool] was in a workable condition. We just had to leave everything including the eatables as it occurred at night. As it had gotten spoilt we had to buy everything from the beginning. We borrowed money from the money lender with an interest of Rs. 10. Thus we bought the tools and started working and repaying the debt. Whenever we needed we borrowed money and thus the interest kept on accumulating. You can calculate how much it would come up to for an interest of Rs. 10. It feels like we are half dead because of the accumulated interest. The main reason for our deplorable situation is paying the large amounts as interest. Because of the interest to be paid we have reached this situation, our lives are ruined. […] Madhavi:Did you sell your old house because of that or was there any other reason? Sumathi:Yes. Because of these difficulties and loans and as we were unable to pay the interest, we had to sell the house.

13 Distal environmental precarity, made proximate Humphrey’s family (urban UK boy, independent school) Roger:... We have changed the way in which we live over the last (...) ten years, and certainly over the last few years to... […] Julia:I, I think it's been longer than that. Roger:...minimise (...) our (...) carbon footprint... (Helen: Yeah) use a, a better, another term. (Helen: Yeah) And I think it's considerably less than it used to be. [gives example of using car club] Roger:So yes. But I mean you could (...) we're not (...) hair shirt type things... (Helen: Yes) …you know, fanatics or something. …(Helen: Yeah) … We, we think that if (...) if everybody did (...) I suppose took the same responsible position that we were taking, then (.) the whole country's carbon footprint would be you know, we'd meet our targets that we're supposed to be reducing by 2020 fairly easily I would have thought. Julia:I think it's partly because we read the newspaper. (Roger: Mmm) … I've (.) been quite (...) startled at (...) intelligent, I thought well informed people (...) who just last year were not aware that fish stocks were running out. Now, if you read the paper... Humphrey: Even I knew that. Julia:Well that’s partly because we keep telling you.

14 Distal environmental precarity, made proximate Amrutha’s family (urban Indian girl, independent school) Natasha: Mmm, and have you heard about climate change or global warming? Aruna: Yes! One quick you can call it as a joke, if I switch on the AC in my car, my kids will shout, Amma you are increasing the global warming, switch it off, polar bears will die (laughs). Every time this is the fight in the car. […] Natasha: And what do you say when the kids say that? Aruna: We just laugh (laughing). We keep telling them it is not just because we switch on the AC, it is one of the factors though. Natasha: So then what happens, who wins? Aruna: Definitely them, you cannot argue with them, then after a couple of minutes they will forget and then I will switch it on. I am not supposed to lie though (laughing). Especially this girl is very particular, ‘let’s open the windows and we drive, because we will be killing the polar bears’, I say where do you see polar bears here (laughs). She heard this one from her sister, and just that point went into her brains maybe and since then this is what, and whenever she turns on the AC when she wants to sleep, I tell her ‘polar bears are crying, why are you switching on the AC’ (laughs). Sooo.

15 The responsibility of privilege? Amrutha’s family (urban Indian girl, independent school) Vijay: So we kind of, uh, live in this dilemma of whether are really doing the right thing by providing all the comforts to them and shielding them from reality. Well I’m kind of thinking that maybe once they grow a bit older then we’re gonna show them what life is so that [they really = Amrutha: = I’m okay! = Vijay: = Appreciate this] life and also [understand the realities = Amrutha: = Dad I’m okay = Vijay: = you know?]

16 An environmental identity? Nathan’s family (urban UK, state school) Jordan: What goes on in our lives every day (.) matters to me more than (...) what goes on in the environment. It's more important. Helen: Pollution? Jordan: Well for me it's more important. (Helen: Yeah) …I'm not saying that it's, it's (.) the environment’s not important. But for me (...) doesn’t (...) that (...) what goes on in our everyday lives over (...) powers anything else. Nathan: Did you know, pollution can kill you? Jordan: Because that’s what affects us the most. Helen: Are there any particular things in your immediate environment affect you, like your day-to-day, that affect you more than other things? Jordan: Well just every general daily life. Like making sure the kids get to school, the sh-the shopping’s done. (Helen: Yeah) … You know, it's just (...) washing. Everything (...) general living… (Helen: Yeah) …that’s what we have to deal with.

17 Shades of environmentalism  Meanings of environment in both countries do not necessarily fit global north paradigms of environmental concern Understandings are temporally and spatially located, framed by economic and political factors The centrality of the everyday, encompassing past, present and imagined futures Moralising categorisations neglect structural inequality and important concerns in family lives  A narrative multi-method approach enables understanding of social ecology, encompassing diversity, equity and sustainability (from Guha 2006)

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