- Published: 27 January 2013 27 January 2013
Environmental theorists frequently argue that human–nature alienations are to blame for the increasingly severe global environmental crisis.
This article offers empirical evidence that supports such claims. Data and theory presented here show that phenomenal dissociation— defined as the lack of immediate, sensual engagement with the consequences of our everyday actions and with the human and nonhuman others that we affect with our actions—increases destructive tendency and that awareness is not enough to curb destructiveness. This study begins to reveal some of the psychodynamics by which phenomenal dissociations lead to destructive tendency; discusses how modern institutions, organizational structures, and technologies propagate harms by mediating between actor and consequences; and argues that environmental psychology, which commonly focuses on attitudinal variables such as awareness and concern, must expand its reach to account for the pervasive phenomenal dissociations of contemporary life.
Kenneth Worthy studies the phenomenological origins of modern environmental crisis using an interdisciplinary
approach that integrates history, philosophy, psychology, phenomenology, and cultural studies. He received his PhD in critical environmental theory at the University of California, Berkeley, and currently researches and teaches independently.
Published in Organization & Environment June 2008 21: 148-170
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The image is from Ken Worthy's article The Quietly Burning Earth: his latest article on Psychology Today on the "eco-apocalypse" of thousands of kilometers of fires raging across Indonesia right NOW.