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Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 10th, 2017, 4:09 pm
by Bryan Hamilton
Open access! And possibly explains some of what goes on around here. ... via%3Dihub

The global rise of populism is having a profound effect on policies across many issues. We explore the potential
effects on wildlife conservation using the western United States as a case study. Global populist trends have been
explained through the phenomenon of cultural backlash, wherein those left behind in the value shift beginning
post-World War II started to mobilize by the end of the century to protect their core values and traditions. Our
prior work suggests that wildlife values in the western United States are shifting from traditional domination to
mutualism orientations. The current study looked for indications of backlash from the American hunting culture
that may be associated with that shift. Data from a 19-state survey (n = 12,673) revealed that, in states with a
higher prevalence of mutualism, residents with domination values had lower levels of trust in the state wildlife
agency. Traditional residents were also less supportive of broadly-inclusive governance models, and the potential
for social conflict over wildlife issues was much higher in those states. Finally, we found evidence of
actions to “fight back” against change among traditional groups in the growth of ballot initiatives from 1990 to
2016 to protect hunting rights. Backlash will likely affect different countries and jurisdictions differently, contingent
on the historical and cultural context. Nonetheless, it will be a global force with important implications
for conservation governance, even if only to intensify conflict. Governance innovations will be necessary to help
conservation institutions adapt to dramatic changes in the socio-political environment.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 10th, 2017, 7:15 pm
by chris_mcmartin
The authors' definitions of "domination" and "mutualism" seem troubling and unhelpful to opening a meaningful dialogue between what the authors characterize as polar/mutually-exclusive positions.
Mutualist values, for example, are associated with beliefs that human activity should be limited for the sake of wildlife protection, while domination values are tied to a belief that wildlife exists for human use.
. . .
A domination orientation was indicated by beliefs representing dimensions of hunting and wildlife use, whereas a mutualism orientation was indicated by belief dimensions of caring and social affiliation.
I submit perhaps these definitions are too generalized/polarized, and that there instead exists a continuum upon which most people will fall somewhere in between the two extremes. What is even meant by "wildlife use," or "caring," in these contexts?

There's a lot of broad-brushing, not just in these two definitions but attempting some social commentary to boot; e.g. assuming a culture of hunting/fishing necessarily means stereotyping gender roles, and also assuming the natural (dare I say the authors' hoped) progression for human society is to abandon consumptive use of animals.

Maybe I'm being overly critical but these things stuck out to me during an admittedly quick skim of the text.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 11th, 2017, 7:13 am
by Kelly Mc
Chris, I find the definitions to be on point, having some prior familiarization with examining the concept mutualism, which doesnt need quotations as the term isnt an invention of the author of this piece.

Many people might think they fall in somewhere in between as you stated but it most frequently extends only as far as their own reasons for caring, or for usage. The caring means being conscious of ones own impacts and modifying ones choices even if inconvenient or in opposition to gain.

Dominion is just what we see, all around us with development and a market driven society and is different from other forms of natural dominion of an organism that might exist because in part of the human construct of money which is wholly specific to our relationships with the world and with each other.

On the hunting, although case by case deviations from stereotypes exist in hunting it is demographically dominated by males and has been through all cultures, to preserve and protect motherhood and the rearing of young.

The thing I like about mutualistic thinking is it keeps at the forefront the actual reality that we are a single species and that there are millions and millions of other species on the planet yet we have polarized them.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 11th, 2017, 7:43 am
by Kelly Mc
An illustration of how subtle and deeply ingrained what I will term "Friendly Dominion" is, can be noticed in conservation appeals - "We must preserve [fill in blank] for our future generations, our children's children etc. Its the thing that relates to our sensibilities most readily. Instead of for its own sake, apart from our enjoyment, use, advantage.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 11th, 2017, 1:59 pm
by Kelly Mc
Even without the achievement of a goal its probably useful mentally to be aware of any form of habituated perspective one might have.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 11th, 2017, 2:45 pm
by Bryan Hamilton
I had some of the initial reactions as you Chris. I'm not familiar with the sociology field but the "dominance" model struck me as offensive. I think Kelly is right that it comes from "dominion", ie that resources are to be used by humans. I'm strongly on the dominance side of the coin but I see the push against mutalism as troubling.

Some of the social commentary seemed a little too tight, a little too political. But I thought it was a compelling story. At least its helped me make a little sense of the world right now. And I was entertained which doesn't always happen when reading papers.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 12th, 2017, 9:44 am
by Jimi
Oh, I think it explains or at least contextualizes a whole lot of what goes on around here. That, and normal intergenerational friction, I reckon. It's interesting seeing the 2 biggest generations in American history juxtaposed. As a leading-edge Gen X'er, I feel sort of caught in the middle, with strong impulses toward both of the other generations but I think a lot more in common with the boomers. Not to give too much credence to stereotypes - folks is folks.

Anyway, I agree that the term "domination" is a bit sharp-elbowed. "Utilitarian" is possibly more common, basically covers the same stuff, and is I think less harshly outspoken. But the authors - at least the 2 lead authors - are some of the luminaries in the field of Human Dimensions (in wildlife management). So for all I know, it is the term du jour. My education included basically zero human-dimensions stuff, it's all been on-the-job learning. I would call that a terrible defect of the system that extruded me.

For more interesting thoughts on this topic, I highly recommend the cited works Decker et al 2016 and particularly Jacobson & Decker 2008.

Kelly might like Holling & Meffe, 1996. That one was pretty radical at the time.

Here's one of the early works that laid the foundation for some of this stuff: ... t_approach


Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: October 13th, 2017, 3:25 am
by chris_mcmartin
Jimi wrote:Anyway, I agree that the term "domination" is a bit sharp-elbowed. "Utilitarian" is possibly more common, basically covers the same stuff, and is I think less harshly outspoken.
Excellent suggestion. I'm very interested in the human dimension as well, and as such it surprises me that connotations of words to describe stakeholders (even/especially if they're counter to one's personal opinions on How the World Should Work) didn't seem to be taken into account...after all, I think if you want to have a meaningful conversation with someone holding an opposing viewpoint, it's probably better not to call them something--however accurately one may think the description fits--that tends to create hostility (and perhaps even contribute to spawning the "backlash" noted). To me, it's akin to a pro-hunting/fishing group calling anyone inclined to a less-consumptive approach "tree huggers." Hard to gain traction that way.

the system that extruded me.
Another wonderful turn of phrase! :lol:

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: November 1st, 2017, 12:49 am
by Kelly Mc
Why is it important for a term to be gentled a supposed notch so that we are not offended? If we look at the definitions of dominion and utilization it is clear to which term is the more accurate description of anthropogenic impact.

I dont think the use of the word dominion was meant to be a dig. Should we care about being offended on behalf of homo sapiens - why is that important? Something seems important in not making word choices palatable for vague reasons.

Re: Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: November 1st, 2017, 11:08 am
by Jimi
Why is it important for a term to be gentled a supposed notch so that we are not offended?
Because if you gently kick El Mas Chingon in the balls, he's likely to break your jaw? Wild guess here. Not.

Exactly who is "we" here? I don't think it's mostly us, I think it's mostly them.

Seriously, the context of the thread is backlash against an emergent values orientation, by the current dominant/empowered values orientation. People's feelings matter. If the upstarts can't figure out how to talk constructively with the old guard, the upstarts aren't going to get anywhere. Not unless they're willing to just wait until the old guard dies out and is replaced by "something better for wildlife". Which may not happen - the old values will carry on in rural areas, while the urbanites may just forget that wildlife even exists.

My view from the trenches, anyway. Bleak, muddy, shell-shocked, and bone-tired. But not lacking experience...

rxr : Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservation

Posted: November 1st, 2017, 6:59 pm
by regalringneck
.. good stuff ... so im going to go a bit more global ... we are a deeply divided country & have been on many if not all issues for a long (long time) , as a young buck : } ... i observe as a european observer ... that the fundamental schism in our america is religion ... religious folks can do anything to their fellow man as long as they tigthe (sp) and repent on sunday ... we progressives pay lip service & some of us dedicate our lives to live the truth every day... they get rich .. we stagnate or slide backward ... now which model twerks ?
The worst "allies" we conservationists have are those who want to seperate us from nature ; don't collect / don't hunt / don't explore the back country ... so it on line as they do ... from sinapore or brussels ... uugghh ... look how many of you here on the FCF espouse dont touch/dont collect ... while they drive their z cars @ take off @ max velocities ...
When will the progressives getta set & call out the repugliCONS & dummycrats ..& demand an "amerixcan peoples party" : pro environment / pro small buisness ( < 25 employees) pro family farmer / pro union ???
Do the rightys via thir righteous volume, get to hold the kareoke mike (& agenda) 4ever ? Send our sons and daughters off to war 4ever ?

Heres a missive i recently experienced ... see if it explains anything for anyone ...

My 1st football game

How it came to be ; one of my racquet ball partners, ( & past chief of police for phx & a negroe fwiw ), asked me if i'd like to go as he had an extra ticket, i stifled my 1st instincts & said yes... after all ... expanding my cultural horizon is on my self improvement plan!

Jerry's idea to use the lite rail access to DT tempe was a great idea.
The pregame street scene was amazing, w/ throbbing music, throngs of people, a few bums, & cops everywhere, from all
agencies, i even saw a lonely game ranger standing guard in front of the stadium. Businesses were pounding out product. Fresh healthy looking young people were everywhere & in pairs to goodly sized groups.
Security dude gives my partner the no on his binocular case, i solve it by stating the case is actually my purse! we get in!
People are pouring in it seems from all directions, all wearing special shirts & colors. Somehow everyone seems to know where to go, i follow Jerry.
Anything for sale inside is outrageous 5.- water 7.5 for a plain hotdog, 6.- for a cushion to sit on... we buy em all.
There must have been 50 or more helmeted players per team ... i think only 11 play at a time... so plenty of xtras. They are throwing & kicking footballs to each other everywhere warming up. I'm amazed no one gets clunked.
A large band is playing on the field, cheerleaders male & female, are warming up their routines, baton twirlers are doing incredible stunts w/ their lighted batons.
A huge HD flat screen possibly 200' x 100' tall is high up at the end of field... i'm in total awe of the public investment in all of the infrastructure for this game. More people continue to pour in, & crowd around us ... my claustrophobia and anxiety meter is hitting ~ 6.5 on a 10 pt scale ...
The teams leave the field & a bizarre video begins to unfold where sparky the ASU mascot (a devil) erupts from fire & hell and begins marching across a backdrop of phx w/ a huge haboob dust wave rolling in behind him ... by the time he crosses mill ave bridge he's huge & the thunderstruck (ACDC) music is so loud, the speakers are distorting.
The crowd is getting amped and the huge screen is telling us to make noise / get louder I realize the group is becoming 1 organism, two tribes preparing for battle ... the borg is forming right in front of me. the industrial strength psychology i had anticipated is happening, i am intrigued yet mortified. I realize i am in the modern roman coliseum, will they feed some luckless soul to a lion ?

The teams begin to file out again, the crowd is clearly condensing into 1, they are the team, not mere spectators like myself, complete w/ tomahawk gesticulations while doing the "fork" .
I am looking wistfully at the sky boxes high above us ... and in dread at the pieces of dark desert mtn. w/ a clear view, surely i muse, there are pre positioned snipers covering these alleys ..yet i know its not so, much more fun to be hunting plentiful .08 blood alcohol cases than preparing for such a highly unlikely event, i force myself to banish further thoughts on that matter, when suddenly there is a series of explosions, i instinctively duck and feel every muscle in my body turn rigid, along w/ an incredible surge of power, power i cannot use as i'm completely encased in bodies ... the tribe screams in unison & joy, as fireworks are exploding above us ... i feel the steady drops of my own sweat hitting my neck.
... damnit Sarah i think to myself why didnt you mention this (she gave me a pre-game briefing)? I deploy deep breathing & it takes most of my residual cognition to suppress the desire to "go find a restroom" (= leave) that ensues, i tell myself ; you must not do that.
The Natl anthem plays, everyone rises ... i suppress my thought to take a knee, & that probably saved my life! fireworks are now being launched from the field, exploding right from the field, the still air filling w/ gunsmoke. I stand at parade rest, many have their hand over their hearts.
The teams square off, there are officials/coaches/aids/ everywhere, all seem to know their jobs, an incredible display of organization.
A particularly festive group of young men, older than students thoughtlessly stand up & block our view, i try to watch sideways on the big screen & finally give in & stand up too.

The game goes on & ASU is getting crushed, the crowd is encouraged on the big screen & elsewhere to get louder & they
do ... some USC fan is really screaming behind us ... i pray to iitoi he will go hoarse & do it soon.
I marvel at the deception & skill the athletes display. Jerry seems to see & know everything & calls out all manner of things i never see but the ref's eventually make apparent. I manage to come down to a 3-4 on my anxiety meter as the game progresses.
The tribe roars boos and taunts the opposition, but they play far better. I secretly feel happy for them.

Jerry predicts as the beating continues that by 1/2 time folks will be leaving, i wonder, as surely this tribe can not be divided now midgame ... Jerry turns out to be right & ~ 10% leave, the night air finally cools ... my shirt is finally beginning to dry out. I'm grateful to achieve my normal baseline level of anxiety.

There are cameras panning the crowd; i study the images on the huge crystal clear screen ... nearly all are whites,
with everything from heavily tattood hippies to old folks (not many) many appear obese, but all are smiling from ear to ear, & making their best "forks" ... their collective joy is palpable, i am happy for them, football truly is a uniter in america. i look for a drone but see none, i dont want them to zoom in on me thats for sure!
I am envious & wonder what sort of huge public event would it take for me to feel like they do ... i cannot come up w/ any idea. Perhaps a mass demonstration to protect our public lands?
It is a sad realization to know that will never happen.

There are no receptacles for trash, it accumulates around us at a astounding rate ... i think about the clean up crew
in the am. Job security. The music blares & the band takes to the field & have their time in the spotlight. Endless
troupes’ of performers come out and do gymnastics &/or cheers ? i am suitably impressed and wonder how much training
was done to perfect their various routines. Awards are given for all manner of veterans / important alumni / community philanthropists.

The game goes on, as does the beatdown, the youngmen in front of us are now engaged in a verbal altercation w/ the
still screaming USC fan behind us ... lovely ... & we're in the middle. i contemplate how i will bodyslam the 1st idiot to try & jump over me to access the other ...uughh, but fortunately, they finally cool it.
Jerry announces somewhere in the 3'rd 1/4, "its over & lets go", i offer no protest & with many others we stream out & into the city ... people & police are everywhere, the party still is full on. On the light rail, most are silent, possibly tired & spent, i suspect they feel they own the loss. A homeless man stares at me as if from another world ... i am
still in amazement from what i have just experienced, but i feel for the moment, i understand him.

I drop Jerry off @ his beautiful home & head back to my sonoran hollow, where i know i will need a big glass of wine & the soft hooting of the owls under the 1/2 moon in order to get to sleep. I also know that while this will surely be my last major football game, i am delighted to have done it.

Re: rxr : Values, trust, and cultural backlash in conservat

Posted: November 2nd, 2017, 8:14 am
by chris_mcmartin
regalringneck wrote:.. good stuff ...
We missed you, but you don't have to make up for your hiatus entirely in one post! :lol: