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Telling 'moral tales'? Family narratives of responsible privilege and environmental concern in India and the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Catherine WalkerORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Contemporary discussions of climate change response frequently emphasise individual moralresponsibility, but little is known about how environmental messages are taken up or resisted ineveryday practices. This article examines how families negotiate the moral narratives and identitypositions associated with environmental responsibility. It focuses on families living in relativelyaffluent circumstances in England and South East India to consider the ways in which the familiesconstruct their understandings of environment and take up identities as morally responsible.Our analysis focuses on a subsample of case studies involved in the ESRC National Centre forResearch Methods Family Lives and the Environment study, within the NOVELLA node, using amultimethod qualitative approach with families of children aged between 12 and 14. This articlefocuses on interviews with 10 of the 24 families in the sample, all of whom (in both India and theUK) discussed environmental concerns within moral narratives of the responsibilities of relativeprivilege. Findings highlight the potential of cross-world research to help theorise the complexeconomic and cultural specificity of a particular morally charged framing of environmental concern,addressing the (dis)connections between ‘moral tales’ of responsible privilege and individual andcollective accounts of family practices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Boddy J, Phoenix A, Walker C, Vennam U, Austerberry H, Latha M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Families, Relationships and Societies

Year: 2016

Volume: 5

Issue: 3

Pages: 357-374

Print publication date: 01/11/2016

Online publication date: 10/10/2016

Acceptance date: 14/09/2016

Date deposited: 17/04/2023

ISSN (print): 2046-7435

ISSN (electronic): 2046-7443

Publisher: Policy Press


DOI: 10.1332/204674316X14758399286843


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