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What Lies Beneath the Surface? A Case Study of Citizens' Moral Reasoning with Regard to Biodiversity

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  • Maria Ojala
  • Rolf Lidskog

Abstract

This paper focuses on a Swedish case where a biological insecticide has been used to fight mosquitoes in order to reduce the nuisance to humans. The case concerns conflicting values regarding environmental protection. People's quality of life in the summers is placed in opposition to long-term risks to biodiversity. On the surface, the affected lay-population is one-sidedly positive about the intervention. However, interviews with citizens revealed a more complex picture, where the majority also touched upon value conflicts. At the same time, different psychological mechanisms for handling these dilemmas hindered more critical and doubtful views from being included in societal deliberations concerning the intervention. By way of conclusion, we argue that it is important to create deliberative arrangements that acknowledge the emotional and contradictory side of human nature and that encourage people to dare to voice standpoints that may be seen as uncomfortable or inconsistent.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Ojala & Rolf Lidskog, 2011. "What Lies Beneath the Surface? A Case Study of Citizens' Moral Reasoning with Regard to Biodiversity," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(2), pages 217-237, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev20:ev2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leskinen, Leena A., 2004. "Purposes and challenges of public participation in regional and local forestry in Finland," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 605-618, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. McComas, Katherine A. & Schuldt, Jonathon P. & Burge, Colleen A. & Roh, Sungjong, 2015. "Communicating about marine disease: The effects of message frames on policy support," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 45-52.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Insecticide; value conflicts; ambivalence; coping mechanisms; deliberation;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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