9) Feb. 4 Causes: Values, anthropocentrism
Harding, Ronnie, Carolyn M. Hendriks and Mehreen Faruqi (2009). extract from “Chapter 3
Values and Value Systems.” Environmental Decision-Making: Exploring Complexity and
Context. Sydney: The Federation Press. pp. 51-57.
Richard G. Botzler and Susan J.Armstrong (1998). extract from “Chapter 7.Anthropocentrism.”
Environmental Ethics: Divergence and Convergence. Boston: McGraw Hill. pp. 309 – 311.
Fox, Warwick (1990). "Chapter 1: MovingAway from Human-Centredness: From Silent Spring
to Deep Ecology." Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for
Environmentalism. Boston: Shambhala. pp. 3-22.
. values Harding et al, quoting Berlin, reader p. 179 "what we think good and bad...."
. who is the "we"? all global citizens? all Canadians? the chattering classes who engage in
. within any given group, such as Canadians today, obviously there are many conflicting
values (eg, abortion is good or bad), but some are more widely-held, more dominant -
anthropocentrism is currently a dominant value
. norms basically defined as "rules"; Values (what we consider good) are closely
associated with norms/rules (what we should do in order to achieve what we think good): we
think an educated populace is a good thing, and so we have laws requiring children of a certain
age to attend school. We think industrial toxic pollution is a bad thing, and so we have laws
regulating the firm's environmental management.
Hechter, Michael and Karl-Dieter Opp (2001). Social Norms. New York: Russell Sage
Foundation. p. x1 define norms this way: “Norms are cultural phenomena that prescribe and
proscribe behaviour in specific circumstances.”
. they distinguish a “social norm” (unplanned, unwritten) from “law” (based in social
norms, but planned and carefully written)
. they distinguish between 1) norms with “a moral imperative” (prescription) and 2)
“behavioral regularities that generate social expectations without any moral obligations” (p. xiii)
Thus we need to distinguish between two types of rules: norms, rules enforced in an unorganized
way by society; laws, rules enforced in an organized, systematic way by the state, using coercive
power. Plus we need to recognize a third type of norm – “patterns of behaviour” which has a
similar effect as a rule (we do what we see others doing, even if there is no enunciated rule, eg
fashion trends, using a re-usable water container.
Thus to the extent we consider environmental protection a good thing, we are more likely to have
rules (norms and laws) requiring environmental protection. Recycling is today a social norm
(although not required by law). Reduction (refrain from buying products) is not a social norm.
. legitimacy a standard used to judge behaviour, based upon values and norms
Suchman, Mark C. (1995). “Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches,” The
Academy of Management Review. vol. 20, no. 3, p. 574.
“Legitimacy is a generalized perception or assumption that the actions of an entity
are desirable, proper or appropriate within some socially constructed system of norms, values,
beliefs and definitions.”
Perceptions of legitimacy are another powerful way by which society enforces values and norms.
But just as any given society contains clashing values, so does it contain clashing perceptions of
. unexamined assumptions a society's understanding of reality which is largely
immune from critical examination and debate; eg, in Europe in the DarkAges "the world is flat";
in Canada today, "capitalism is the best way to organize a society"
. interests a) Harding et al, p. 179 "having some personal or group advantage or detriment
associated with a decision" ie, a "stake" in the decision, which is why we refer to "stakeholders"
in environmental decision making, those affected by the decision
b) Harding et al p. 180 "strategic one that involves having their position adopted";
in this instance, the term "interest" is synonymous with the "objective" of the actor
Usually when one considers the interest (objective) of an actor, one also has to consider the
power of the actor (Carter reading pp. 44-47; Feb. 6 lecture) - ie, the ability of the actor to
achieve that objective.
These concepts come together for our subject matter in the following way:
. the extent to which valuing environmental protection is seen as legitimate and so is a
dominant societal value determines, in part, the strength of the rules we put in place to protect
. the unexamined assumption that consumption of material products will bring happiness
also constrains the strength of those rules;
. different actors (eg business firms, environmentalists) have different stakes/interests/
objectives respecting those rules and so engage in political debate and conflict
!But there is no agreement on what we mean by "valuing environmental protection" - eg, it is defined by some as
Recycling, by others as Reduction.
!2 . the outcome of that debate and conflict depends in large part on the relative power of
those actors, which in turn is influenced by their perceived legitimacy - in a capitalist society,