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Open Access Telling 'moral tales'? Family narratives of responsible privilege and environmental concern in India and the UK

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Contemporary discussions of climate change response frequently emphasise individual moral responsibility, but little is known about how environmental messages are taken up or resisted in everyday practices. This article examines how families negotiate the moral narratives and identity positions associated with environmental responsibility. It focuses on families living in relatively affluent circumstances in England and South East India to consider the ways in which the families construct their understandings of environment and take up identities as morally responsible. Our analysis focuses on a subsample of case studies involved in the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Family Lives and the Environment study, within the NOVELLA node, using a multimethod qualitative approach with families of children aged between 12 and 14. This article focuses on interviews with 10 of the 24 families in the sample, all of whom (in both India and the UK) discussed environmental concerns within moral narratives of the responsibilities of relative privilege. Findings highlight the potential of cross-world research to help theorise the complex economic and cultural specificity of a particular morally charged framing of environmental concern, addressing the (dis)connections between 'moral tales' of responsible privilege and individual and collective accounts of family practices.
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Keywords: CROSS-NATIONAL; ENVIRONMENT; FAMILY PRACTICES; INDIA; NARRATIVES; UK

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected] 3: Email: [email protected] 4: Email: [email protected] 5: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 November 2016

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