Transition as Cultural Revitalization

Exploring Social Motives for Environmental Movement Participation

in Nature and Culture
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  • 1 Ohio State University, USA willow.1@osu.edu
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Abstract

This article explores the Transition movement for climate change resilience as a cultural revitalization movement that is unfolding in response to the unique problems and prospects of the Anthropocene era. Drawing on ethnographic research, I suggest that personal well-being and community cohesion are essential motives for environmental movement participation. As Transition participants work to generate more satisfying cultural options, they relieve existential angst, reclaim the possibility of a positive future, create a safe space for radical resistance, and engender a simultaneously local and global sense of community. Ultimately, I argue that embracing environmental and (inter)personal action as both complementary and inextricably intertwined is essential if we are to catalyze the broad behavioral changes needed to evade catastrophic climate change and socioecological collapse.

Contributor Notes

Anna J. Willow is Professor of Anthropology at the Ohio State University. An environmental anthropologist who studies how individuals and communities experience and respond to environmental change, she is the author of Understanding ExtrACTIVISM: Culture and Power in Natural Resource Disputes (Routledge, 2018) and Strong Hearts, Native Lands: The Cultural and Political Landscape of Anishinaabe Anti-Clearcutting Activism (SUNY, 2012). Willow received a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison as well as an MS in natural resources and environment from the University of Michigan. For additional information about her work, please see http://anthropology.osu.edu/people/willow.1. Email: willow.1@osu.edu

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