The Baltic Region

2021 Vol. 13 №1

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Cultural types and the perception of current environmental risks by local communities of the Baltic Sea region



This work presents findings from research into the relationship between the structural organisation and cultural attitudes of local communities in the Baltic Sea region and the way they perceive environmental risks. The response of the Kaliningrad community to the development of a local potassium and magnesium salt mine is used as an illustration. The article deals with how local communities perceive the image of risks formed and reproduced via various communication channels. The structural context and the context of communication are taken into account. Another focus is on how this perception is affected by the type of community members’ cultural attitudes (according to Mary Douglas’s grid/group model). The space of categorical variables obtained through multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) aids in clustering the cases (respondents) as well as in testing theoretical assumptions for compliance with the findings. The communicative practices characteristic of all the clusters (classes of cases) are examined; the relationship between the structural organisation of groups, their cultural attitudes, their perception of environmental risks, and the performance of environmental agencies are explored. An evaluation of the comparative efficiency of different ways and means of risk communication with the identified groups is made. It is concluded that the proposed model is methodologically promising and there is a need for differentiated risk-communication strategies.