Narrative: An ontology, epistemology and methodology for pro-environmental psychology research

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The actions of individuals are recognised as crucial in reducing energy demand and shifting people towards sustainable energy sources. Much of the work that has occurred within environmental psychology has been built upon a social cognitive paradigm, which attempts to explain the drives, forces and processes that explain and determine individual behaviour. Despite the volume of this work, the promotion of pro-environmental behaviour has not achieved broad transformations in energy conservation behaviours. Recently, researchers working in the field of pro-environmental research have started to draw on narrative in their work as a framework to (re)integrate individuals into their historical, social and cultural settings. However, this work, when applied to energy conservation, remains in its infancy. This paper adds to the growing literature that is increasingly asserting the key role for narrative in the field of pro-environmental psychology research. The paper articulates the foundations of the narrative turn from its development within literary theory to its adoption by the social sciences, with particular reference to psychological theory. This paper provides a review of the ways in which taking a narrative perspective can offer rich insights into complex phenomena, as well as potential ways to reconceptualise ways forward for energy research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Early online date20 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


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