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Religion, Mastery-Over-Nature, and Environmental Concern

Carl M. Hand and Kent D. Van Liere
Social Forces
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Dec., 1984), pp. 555-570
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2579062
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2579062
Page Count: 16
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Religion, Mastery-Over-Nature, and Environmental Concern
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Abstract

Religious institutions are identified as important in maintaining a mastery-over-nature orientation in Western culture. This orientation has presumably influenced environmental attitudes in a negative manner. Despite widespread discussion, little empirical research has been undertaken to examine these relationships. This paper identifies three alternative approaches to examining the link between religious identification and commitment, mastery-over-nature orientation, and concern for environmental problems: (1) White's model, (2) a denominational diversity model, and (3) a "no difference" model. These approaches are examined empirically using data from a mail survey of Washington State residents. The results indicate support for the view that Judeo-Christians are generally more committed to the mastery-over-nature orientation than non-Judeo-Christians, but that this commitment varies considerably among denominations. Furthermore, commitment to the mastery-over-nature orientation is instumental in shaping concern for environmental problems.

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