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Volunteering to help conserve endangered species:an identity approach to human-animal relationships

Abell, Jacqueline (2013) Volunteering to help conserve endangered species:an identity approach to human-animal relationships. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 23 (2). pp. 157-170. ISSN 1099-1298

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Abstract

This study explores identity in providing voluntary help for endangered animal species. Identity is a cornerstone of social psychological explanations of helping behaviour but has not been understood in relation to human-animal relationships. Open-ended questionnaires were administered to 111 volunteers working in a range of international conservation projects aimed at protecting endangered animals. Participants were asked their reasons for volunteering, choice of project, experiences, and expectations. Thematic textual analysis explored common features across the dataset. Themes identified were: identifying with animals, humans dominating nature and collective identity with the organization and fellow volunteers. The paper suggests social psychological knowledge about helping behaviour be applied to understand human-animal interactions to offer insight into the conditions under which we will engage with conservational and environmental concerns and provide aid. Social psychology has been slow to apply its knowledge to an examination of human responses to the challenge of loss of biodiversity. To act, humans must identify with those they seek to protect.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: conservation ; volunteering ; identity ; helping ; endangered species
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 53407
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 29 Mar 2012 16:29
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 23:17
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/53407

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