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Is there more to environmental participation than meets the eye? Understanding agency, empowerment and disempowerment among black and minority ethnic communities

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Abstract:

We centred the research gaze on the cultural and ethnic interpretations of environmental dis/engagement among black and minority ethnic groups, which has been under-explored in the UK literature on public participation. We conducted focus groups with black and minority ethnic communities and in-depth interviews with community representatives and key actors facilitating sustainability policy. We identified from our analysis the sub-themes of a ‘different mindset’ and ‘self-empowering spaces’ that demonstrated the contextual, diverse and contested perceptions and experiences of agency, empowerment and disempowerment in environmental behaviours and initiatives. Our conclusions draw on the implications of our findings for the environmental and sustainability policy and planning community.

Keywords: Southern England; agency and dis/empowerment; black and minority ethnic communities; environmental participation; in-depth case study

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2010.00970.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Sciences, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT, Email: l.clarke@mdx.ac.uk 2: Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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