Chapter

Norms

Thomas A. Heberlein

in Navigating Environmental Attitudes

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199773329
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979639 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773329.003.0006
Norms

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This chapter focuses not so much on rocks, but on the hydraulics of the river—the currents that guide our behavior, namely, norms. Internal and external sanctions, beliefs about negative consequences, and feelings of personal responsibility associated with norms are forces that push our behavior, much as currents push our boat. The failure of people to act consistently with their pro-environmental attitudes often comes when situations or other attitudes deactivate pro-environmental norms. In our investigation of norms, we again turn to Leopold. In his time, he smoked cigarettes and killed and ate wild trout. If he were to continue these behaviors today he would be paddling upstream against strong normative currents. Norms change, but not often and seldom quickly. The chapter concludes by exploring how new norms and currents emerge and strengthen over time.

Keywords: Aldo Leopold; consequences; norms; norm activation; norm change; norm focus; norm emergence; sanctions; responsibility

Chapter.  9978 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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