As governments and the wider public become increasingly concerned about environmental problems, the necessity for competent environmental policies is growing. The contributors to this highly original book attempt to demonstrate how the use of Q methodology can result in the development of more effective, socially sensitive, environmental policy options.
The book highlights the history of Q methodology, a technique for systematically studying the subjectivity of individuals, and provides a brief yet comprehensive account of its theory and a detailed guide to the various stages of a Q study. The methodology is then applied, to explore the discourses concerning the relationship between society and a diverse range of environmental issues including, environmental protest, civil aviation policy, forest policy and land use options.
The authors demonstrate how the use of Q methodology offers a methodical insight into the public conceptualisation of environmental issues, thus providing improved frameworks for identifying environmental topics and facilitating policy dialogue. They emphasise the deconstructive advantages of Q methodology as a means of re-examining controversial issues and providing policymakers with a more authentic understanding of the beliefs of stakeholders, prior to developing policies. This analytical approach, the book argues, is more ‘democratic’, as it provides a greater recognition of socio-political attitudes than the findings of conventional polls and surveys.
This definitive book will prove a much needed addition to the empirical literature on environmental attitudes and will be invaluable reading for ecological economists, environmental policymakers and organisations, and students, researchers and practitioners of Q methodology.