New FWO project on middle-class sustainability politics

PhD fellowship for Robine Horckmans

As we all know: combatting climate change and adopting a more sustainable way of living, are some of the greatest challenges of our time. A transition towards sustainability is therefore highly necessary and will affect everyone and all aspects of society. Although we definitely need change on the societal level, changes on the individual level should not be ignored. At the same time, the strong ecological attitudes and lifestyle changes that are needed to complete this transition might affect the way social groups delineate their identities and thus trigger intergroup tensions and class-based polarisation. Against this background, this project focuses on young, highly-educated, middle-class people and their relationship to sustainability. We aim to empirically investigate how their attitudes towards sustainability and their behaviour relate to each other and if these sustainable attitudes form a basis for distinction processes and intergroup dynamics.