Riley E. Dunlap

Riley E. Dunlap
Oklahoma State University - Stillwater | Oklahoma State · Department of Sociology

PhD

About

239
Publications
424,953
Reads
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Introduction
I helped launch the field of Environmental Sociology in the 1970s and environmental issues have been the focus of my scholarly work ever since. My current emphases are climate change politics and organized climate change denial. However, I continue to have strong interests in environmental attitudes, beliefs, values and worldviews (the NEP); environmentalism and anti-environmentalism; cross-national studies of environmental concern; and theoretical developments in environmental sociology.
Additional affiliations
January 2006 - May 2015
Oklahoma State University - Stillwater
Position
  • Regents Professor and Dresser Professor
January 2005 - present
Oklahoma State University - Stillwater
Position
  • Dresser Professor and Regents Professor
September 1972 - December 2002
Washington State University
Position
  • Boeing Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sociology

Publications

Publications (239)
Article
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Although perceptions of common weather phenomena moderately align with instrumental measurements of such phenomena1, the evidence that weather or climatic conditions influence beliefs about anthropogenic climate change is mixed2–13. This study addresses both foci, which are important to scholars who investigate human–environment interactions and ob...
Article
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The conservative “echo chamber” is a crucial element of the climate change denial machine. Although social scientists have begun to examine the role of conservative media in the denial campaign, this article reports the first examination of conservative newspaper columnists. Syndicated columnists are very influential because they reach a large audi...
Article
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The conservative movement and especially its think tanks play a critical role in denying the reality and significance of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), especially by manufacturing uncertainty over climate science. Books denying AGW are a crucial means of attacking climate science and scientists, and we examine the links between conservative th...
Article
ABSTRACT This study uncovers the dynamics that exist among key government officials working to address impacts of climate variability and change within a hostile socio-political setting. Through qualitative analysis of interviews with Oklahoma government officials, this study finds evi- dence of a climate change spiral of silence impacting key gove...
Article
ABSTRACT This paper adds to our understanding of how people’s climate change concern and norms influence their leisure air travel. It does so by examining the roles of Norwegians’ beliefs about climate change and emissions from air travel, their felt responsibility to limit emissions (personal norm), and expectations and behaviors of friends and fa...
Article
Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases is facilitated by changes in several consumption activities, such as food choices. This paper examines factors explaining red meat consumption in Norway, especially the role of climate concerns. The paper adds to our knowledge as most existing analyses of (red) meat consumption focus on health and animal welfa...
Article
Few studies have investigated the impact of climate beliefs on everyday behavioral choices with significant climate impacts, such as the choice of travel mode. In addition, there is a lack of studies combining approaches from different disciplines. We develop a framework that integrates considerations of infrastructure and institutional and social-...
Article
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Rising rightwing populism (RWP) potentially constitutes an obstacle to climate change mitigation, as European RWP parties and politicians often espouse climate change skepticism and oppose climate policies. Meanwhile, their party positions and issue stances have also become increasingly characterized by nationalism. Using European Social Survey dat...
Chapter
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The key actors involved in producing climate change denial misinformation are identified and discussed, along with their connections to one another. The first set includes those acting primarily out of economic self-interest: the corporate world, front groups and coalitions, public relations firms, and astroturf groups and campaigns. The second inc...
Article
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Scholars who study the failure of climate change policy in the United States tend to focus on the mechanics of denial and the coordinated efforts of political operatives, conservative think tanks, and partisan news outlets to cast doubt on what has become overwhelming scientific consensus. In contrast, we address a factor that has been understudied...
Article
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Existing literature on climate change beliefs in the US suggests that partisan polarization begets climate change polarization and that the climate beliefs of those on both sides of the partisan divide are firmly held and invariable. Here, we use data from a large panel survey of Oklahoma residents administered quarterly from 2014 through 2018 to c...
Article
The world is facing a crisis of global warming due to the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses by human activities. Many scholars and stakeholders argue that information and communication technology (ICT) development will mitigate CO2 emissions. Advocacy of technological solutions to CO2 mitigation is consistent with ecological modernization...
Chapter
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Environmental sociology has come to be sufficiently large and diverse, particularly as it has taken root internationally, that its contents cannot be easily summarized. This chapter begins by examining the divide between realist and constructivist perspectives on environmental problems and how they have evolved. More recently, the constructivist/re...
Research
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Seminar Syllabus
Article
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This study examines whether an ecological worldview—operationalized by the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale--serves as the source of coherence of Environmental Concern (EC). Using data on four samples from the 1992 Gallup “Health of the Planet” Survey and the 2003 and 2010 Chinese General Social Surveys, we found that in all samples not only is...
Article
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ABSTRACT This study examines whether an ecological worldview—operationalized by the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale–serves as the source of coherence of Environmental Concern (EC). Using data on four samples from the 1992 Gallup “Health of the Planet” Survey and the 2003 and 2010 Chinese General Social Surveys, we found that in all samples not...
Article
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In complex systems where humans and nature interact to produce joint outcomes, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience require that humans perceive feedback—signals of health and distress—from natural systems. In many instances, humans readily perceive feedback. In others, feedback is more difficult to perceive, so humans rely on experts, heuristics...
Article
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ABSTRACT Environmental sociology is a growing field producing a diverse body of literature while also moving into the mainstream of the larger discipline. The twin goals of this paper are to introduce environmental sociologists to innovations in content analysis, specifically a form of text-mining known as topic modeling, and then employing it to i...
Article
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Three tributes to William R. Catton, Jr., pioneering figures in environmental sociology.
Article
Environmental sociology, the study of societal-environmental interactions, developed four decades ago in the USA and has spread internationally and become institutionalized around the world. Key foci of the field include examining the social construction of environmental problems as well as analyzing the causes and impacts of, and solutions to, suc...
Article
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There is a strong political divide on climate change in the US general public, with Liberals and Democrats expressing greater belief in and concern about climate change than Conservatives and Republicans. Recent studies find a similar though less pronounced divide in other countries. Its leadership in international climate policy making warrants ex...
Book
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The volume is the report of the American Sociological Association's Task Force on Sociology and Global Climate Change, and the 13 chapters provide syntheses of sociological (and related) research on key aspects of climate change.
Article
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Objective We compare the relative performance of two measures of identification with the environmental movement: a self-identified environmentalist indicator and an environmental movement identity indicator.Methods We utilize data from the March/April 2000–2010 Gallup Polls to examine how these two measures of identification with the environmental...
Article
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Since the mid-2000s, U.S. conservative leaders and Republican politicians have stepped up efforts to challenge the reality and seriousness of anthropogenic climate change (ACC). Especially with the rise of the Tea Party in 2009, ACC denial has become something of a litmus test for Republican politicians to prove their conservative bona fides. Two r...
Article
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The recent study reported by McCright et al (2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 044029) extends current research on conservatives' distrust of science by distinguishing between public trust in production versus impact scientists (i.e. those whose work yields new technologies and marketable products versus those assessing the health and environmental impact...
Article
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After briefly covering Bill Freudenburg's early years, this essay reviews his major scholarly contributions and professional accomplishments while a faculty member at Washington State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of California-Santa Barbara. Bill's unique strengths -especially his keen sociological imagination - And c...
Article
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Despite growing efforts to assess the views of Chinese citizens toward environmental issues, a crucial question remains unanswered: Do Chinese have a coherent system of environmental attitudes and beliefs as has been found among North Americans, making it appropriate to speak of “environmental concern” or “environmental consciousness” in China? To...
Article
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Given the well-documented campaign in the USA to deny the reality and seriousness of anthropogenic climate change (a major goal of which is to “manufacture uncertainty” in the minds of policy-makers and the general public), we examine the influence that perception of the scientific agreement on global warming has on the public’s beliefs about globa...
Article
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Extending existing scholarship on the white male effect in risk perception, we examine whether conservative white males (CWMs) are less worried about the risks of environmental problems than are other adults in the US general public. We draw theoretical and analytical guidance from the identity-protective cognition thesis explaining the white male...
Article
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In recent decades environmental problems have become globalized in terms of their existence and impacts as well as the socioeconomic forces that generate them. After briefly noting the growth of international awareness of environmental problems, this entry examines first the nature of environmental problems and their global reach, then evidence tha...
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Even as the consensus over the reality and significance of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) becomes stronger within the scientific community, this global environmental problem is increasingly contested in the political arena and wider society. The spread of debate and contention over ACC from the scientific to socio-political realms has been detr...
Article
We examine whether conservative white males are more likely than are other adults in the U.S. general public to endorse climate change denial. We draw theoretical and analytical guidance from the identity-protective cognition thesis explaining the white male effect and from recent political psychology scholarship documenting the heightened system-j...
Article
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We examine political polarization over climate change within the American public by analyzing data from 10 nationally representative Gallup Polls between 2001 and 2010. We find that liberals and Democrats are more likely to report beliefs consistent with the scientific consensus and express personal concern about global warming than are conservativ...
Article
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Societies have always benefited from nature’s processes and been harmed by its massive perturbations, such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Population growth as a consequence of scientific advances is presently putting far greater numbers of people in harm’s way. Technological development is not only creating new possibilities, such as nucl...
Article
Die Beschäftigung mit Umweltproblemen Ist grundsätzlich ein Interdisziplinäres Unterfangen, und zwar sowohl In den Sozial- als auch in den Naturwissenschaften. Dennoch wird die zentrale Rolle der Sozialwissenschaften im Allgemeinen und der Soziologie im Besonderen erst langsam erkannt (vgl. Brewer and Stern 2005). Diese Erkenntnis rührt vom steigen...
Article
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The American conservative movement is a force of anti-reflexivity insofar as it attacks two key elements of reflexive modernization: the environmental movement and environmental impact science. Learning from its mistakes in overtly attacking environmental regulations in the early 1980s, this counter-movement has subsequently exercised a more subtle...
Article
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Abstract Using data obtained from National Opinion Research Center's General Social Surveys (1973–1990), this paper tests two hypotheses concerning possible changes in the sociopolitical correlates of environmental concern. The “broadening base” hypothesis predicts that environmental concern will diffuse throughout the populace, resulting in a broa...
Article
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Abstract This research examines the relationship between endorsement of agricultural paradigms and reported farming practices. An agricultural behavior index is constructed from measures of pesticide use, source of nitrogen fertilizer, farm diversity, and whether or not people grow a home garden. This index and the individual measures of farming pr...
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Abstract Despite the fact that groups of alternative and conventional agriculturalists do not differ in their overall scores on an agrarianism scale, their responses do differ significandy on several of the agrarianism items and on the items related to agrarianism from a scale designed to assess competing agricultural paradigms. This suggests that...
Article
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Climate change is the preeminent environmental problem of our time, and Joseph Molnar’s call for greater attention to it by rural sociologists is both welcome and timely. The agenda he lays out for rural sociology’s engagement with climate change, however, seems rather narrow and restrictive. Examining the potential impacts of climate change, feasi...
Article
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Abstract The environmental movement is one of the most successful social movements in recent decades, garnering substantial public support throughout western Europe and the United States. Environmentalism is also considered a key “new social movement” (NSM), assumed to share fundamental characteristics with other NSMs such as the women's, antinucle...
Article
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Objective. We offer an empirical measure of “social movement identity” vis-à-vis the environmental movement. Our measure of environmental movement identity complements existing efforts to measure the ambiguous concept of “environmental identity.” Methods. We utilize data from a 2000 Gallup Poll of 1,004 adults to examine relationships between our m...
Article
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Using six years of Gallup data, we examine the effects of environmental movement identity on several characteristics of environmental problem belief systems within the general public. We find that the environmental problem belief systems of self-identified active participants in the environmental movement exhibit greater consistency, greater consen...
Article
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The author discusses his collaboration with William Catton that led to several early articles aimed at providing an intellectual foundation for a field of environmental sociology. The differing backgrounds and interests they each brought to their collaboration and the context in which it developed are outlined, along with the author's assessment of...
Article
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Social movement scholars argue that movements within the same social movement family represent an ideologically coherent social force driven by an overarching master frame. Yet this claim has thus far been poorly documented. Analyzing public opinion data from a nationally representative April 2000 Gallup Poll, we find substantial evidence of a prog...
Article
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The New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale, published in The Journal of Environmental Education by R. E. Dunlap and K. D. Van Liere (1978), has become the most widely used measure of environmental concern in the world and been employed in hundreds of studies in dozens of nations. This article tells the story of the NEP Scale, beginning with how the...
Article
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Conventional wisdom has long held that widespread citizen concern for environmental quality is limited to wealthy nations. Both academics and policymakers assume that residents of poor nations are too preoccupied with satisfying their “material” needs to support the “postmaterialist” value of environmental protection. This view was challenged by re...
Article
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Open access here http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09644010802055576 Environmental scepticism denies the seriousness of environmental problems, and self-professed ‘sceptics’ claim to be unbiased analysts combating ‘junk science’. This study quantitatively analyses 141 English-language environmentally sceptical books published between 197...
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The authors revised and validated the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) Scale for use with upper elementary students. Researchers use the NEP Scale extensively with adults, but it was not designed for children. Interviews with 5th grade students helped the authors revise the NEP Scale for use with children. The authors spent 2 years validating the modi...
Article
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Objective. The dimensionality of "environmental concern" remains ambiguous despite decades of research on environmental attitudes and beliefs. We attempt to provide insight into this issue by using the belief systems perspective and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to test a comprehensive conceptualization of environmental concern. Methods. The s...
Article
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Environmental sociology comprises a diverse set of interests, with the built-environment/natural-environment cleavage being especially significant. Yet, by virtue of their interest in societal-environmental relations, all environmental sociologists depart significantly from the disciplinary tradition of ignoring the physical environment. We offer a...
Article
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Results of a survey of participants in the April, 1979 antinuclear demonstration in San Francisco are compared to those obtained from a similar study of participants in the May, 1979 antinuclear demonstration in Washington, D.C. Both sets of demonstrators are found to be young, well-educated and politically liberal, and to reject several dominant A...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to examine some conditions under which moral norms, i.e., respect for the health of others, would be expected to influence environmentally related behavior. In particular, using a model developed by Schwartz, the study was conducted to determine whether variation in awareness of consequences (AC) and ascription of resp...
Article
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This article does not attempt to rebut Shellenberger and Nordhaus's "The Death of Environmentalism" but does raise two key questions. The first concerns the limited evidence they offer for a key element of their autopsy-namely, that there has been a growth of conservative values and consequent decline in public support for environmentalism. Alterna...