The humanities and social science

2020 Issue №1

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Social and cultural determinants in the perception of environmental risks: Douglas grid group analysis



This research aims to determine the characteristics of the perception of environmental risks using the case of a salt deposit in the Kaliningrad region as an example. To achieve this aim, the author analyzed the social and cultural determinants of the population. The grid-group analysis was used as a sup­porting technique for the identification of cultural determinants. The follow­ing cultural determinants were identified: individualism, hierarchism, fatal­ism and egalitarianism. Social determinants were factors related to the re­spondents' living environment — urban or rural. The main method of re­search was a focus group with subsequent processing of results using ATLAS.ti software programme. The study revealed that environmental risks are not a priority problem for the region. Rural residents are more concerned about en­vironmental risks. There are similarities in the assessments of environmen­tal conditions by urban and rural residents. However, the author identified some differences particularly regarding the development of the salt deposit. These differences can be explained by different cultural types: a negative atti­tude prevails among individualists and egalitarians, a contrasting position prevails among hierarchs. It has been established that there are socially deter­mined forms of communication regarding overcoming environmental risks, for in­stance, word of mouth and appeals to government institutions (villag­ers) and street protests (city residents). There are also differences in the choice of effec­tive methods of risk communication, depending on the respondent’s cultural type. Hierarchs prefer communication in social networks; egalitarians tend to organize petitions and appeal to the authorities; the fatalists do not ex­press their own opinion; individuals strive for greater control over the situa­tion and therefore prefer all possible forms of interaction.


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