Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 9:317–328, 2004
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN: 1087–1209 print / 1533-158X online
Human Dimensions of Wildlife94Taylor & FrancisTaylor and Francis 325 Chestnut StreetPhiladelphiaPA191061087–12091533-158XUHDWTaylor & Francis Inc.3042310.1080/108712004905057652004120M. J. Manfredo and A. A. DayerConcepts for Exploring
Concepts for Exploring the Social
Aspects of Human–Wildlife Conflict
in a Global Context
MICHAEL J. MANFREDO
ASHLEY A. DAYER
Colorado State University
Department of Natural Resource
Recreation and Tourism
Human Dimensions in Natural Resources Unit
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
This article develops an approach for exploring the social and cultural
aspects of human–wildlife conflict in a global context. The proposed micro-
macro level model integrates the cognitive hierarchy theory of human behavior
and materialist theory of culture. This model guides research of human
behavior in these situations and yields information that can aid conflict pre-
vention and mitigation on the local level and offer suggestions for effective
coordinated global, national, or regional efforts. Past applications of the
micro (individual level) component and preliminary research and potential
areas of future exploration for the macro (cultural level) component are dis-
cussed. Cross-cultural research will be highly useful in advancing an under-
standing of human–wildlife conflict.
Keywords human–wildlife conflict, culture and wildlife, values, behavior
Human–wildlife conflict (HWC) is pervasive in both developing and developed
countries. HWC occurs frequently in rural areas and has become common on the
urban fringe. The conflict is not limited to selected species, but rather involves a
variety of mammals, birds, fish, insects, and reptiles. Despite the diversity of situ-
ations and species that spawn HWC, there is one common thread: the thoughts and
actions of humans ultimately determine the course and resolution of the conflict.
Address correspondence to Michael J. Manfredo, Professor, Colorado State University, Department
of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, Human Dimensions in Natural Resources Unit, Fort
Collins, CO 80523, USA. E-mail: email@example.com
318 M. J. Manfredo and A. A. Dayer
Because humans are the constant in HWC, models that provide a scientific under-
standing of human behavior will be most critical for dealing with this phenomenon.
This article overviews a model for exploring HWC in a global context. Two
considerations are particularly important. First, the global nature of HWC
requires both micro and macro levels of analysis. Individual level factors affect
the behaviors of people involved in a HWC situation and cultural level factors
account for differences between people in diverse social and cultural conditions.
Second, the model should yield information useful in an applied context. Infor-
mation at the individual level helps to understand people’s behavior and gives
clues about the success of potential prevention and mitigation measures. At the
macro level, the model should elucidate similarities and differences among HWC
situations in different countries or regions and suggest whether techniques found
successful in one area are likely to work in another.
Understanding Individual Behavior in HWC Situations
Will a farmer attempt to kill wildlife that enters his fields? Will people in a commu-
nity accept a novel compensation program? How will the public vote on ballot initi-
atives to eliminate certain management practices? What does the public understand
about an issue and can they be educated to adopt new views? We use theory about
attitudes, norms, and values to explain the range of people’s responses on these
types of questions. We adopt this conceptual approach because (1) it offers an inte-
grative approach that links basic characteristics of an individual (values and value
orientations) with thoughts that are direct antecedents of behavior (attitudes and
norms) and the observable behavior exhibited by an individual, (2) this framework,
particularly the attitude-behavior link, has received extensive attention and empiri-
cal support in the social sciences, and (3) while theoretically sound, this approach
can provide clear implications at a practical level. The following section describes
our view of the hierarchy of thoughts that direct human action: values-value orien-
tations-attitudes and norms-behavior.
The theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen,
1975; Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992) and theory of planned behavior (Azjen, 1991;
Ajzen & Driver, 1992) suggest that human behavior is directed by attitudes,
norms, and perceptions of control. An attitude is a favorable or unfavorable dis-
position toward an action, an issue, an event, etc; a norm is an evaluation based
on beliefs about the expectations of others; and perceived behavioral control is
an assessment of whether a person possesses the abilities to affect a behavior. An
understanding of why a person performs a particular behavior is found by exam-
ining the beliefs that provide the basis for the corresponding attitude, norm, or
perception of control. Assessments of attitudes have been the most common type
of human dimensions investigations of HWC.
People’s support for wolf reintroduction in Colorado illustrates an application
of the attitudinal component of this model (Pate, Manfredo, Bright, & Tischbein,
Concepts for Exploring 319
1996). As part of an assessment of the social and biological consequences of
reintroducing wolves into Colorado, a survey asked a random sample of the
public whether reintroduction would be a favorable or unfavorable occurrence
(i.e., their attitudes toward reintroduction). Seven out of ten respondents favored
reintroduction—a positive attitude toward reintroduction. To understand the
basis for this attitude, respondents were asked their beliefs about the likelihood
of certain outcomes of reintroduction, as well as their evaluation of the positive
or negative nature of the outcomes. People supporting wolf reintroduction
believed positive outcomes would occur. Reintroduction would “return the envi-
ronment to the way it once was,” “help keep deer and elk populations in check,”
“help people understand wilderness,” and “help preserve the wolf as a species.”
Conversely, those opposing reintroduction thought reintroduction would result in
negative outcomes: “attacks on livestock,” “wolves wandering into residential
areas,” “financial loss to ranchers,” and “large losses of deer and elk populations.”
Norms and perceptions of control have received less attention in research
related to HWC. However, as cross-cultural research expands, these two compo-
nents may prove to be particularly important. Support for this proposal is found
in Douglas and Wildavsky (1982), who theorize about two critical dimensions of
social organization that affect a person’s view of the natural environment. The
grid dimension ranges from authoritarian (those who perceive low behavioral
control) to independent choice (those who perceive high behavioral control), and
the group dimension ranges from communally-influenced (those to which norms
would be highly important) to individually-directed (those to which norms would
be marginally important). Certainly, research reported in this issue, suggesting
that some farmers on the fringe of protected areas believe they have little control to
affect conflict situations, highlights the importance of perceived behavioral control.
From an applied perspective in the United States, attitudes and norms
research suggests that public tolerance thresholds (e.g., Wittmann, Vaske,
Manfredo & Zinn, 1998; Zinn, Manfredo, Vaske, & Wittmann, 1998) or wildlife
acceptance capacities (Carpenter, Decker, & Lipscomb, 2000; Decker & Purdy,
1998; Zinn, Manfredo, & Vaske, 2000) for HWC can be established to improve
management effectiveness. Attitudinal and norm information provides the most
directly practical information regarding a conflict incident by highlighting the
extent of public division about specific issues of concern to wildlife profession-
als. An understanding of the cognitive basis for attitudes, norms, and perceptions
of control gives guidance for structuring more effective prevention and mitiga-
tion strategies, public participation/conflict resolution efforts, and education
efforts. In the case of wolf reintroduction in Colorado, for example, successful
wolf reintroduction would be more likely with mitigation measures that minimize
financial loss to ranchers. Public participation efforts could be fostered that focus
on discussion of that issue. Educational efforts might be aimed at widely held,
erroneous beliefs, such as reintroduced wolves would wander into residential
areas and potentially pose a safety risk to humans.
320 M. J. Manfredo and A. A. Dayer
Wildlife Value Orientations Influence the Pattern
of Attitudes and Behaviors
Humans strive toward consistency in the beliefs they hold. From a non-scientific
perspective, they generally expect uniformity and predictability in the beliefs
held by individuals, and are surprised by apparent inconsistencies. Theoretical
concepts introduced in the cognitive hierarchy model (Fulton, Manfredo, &
Lipscomb, 1996) address the topics of consistency and connectivity among the
beliefs held by an individual.
At the foundation of the cognitive hierarchy are values, which are funda-
mental, affect-laden beliefs about desirable goals and modes of conduct. Exam-
ples of values are freedom, honesty, self-respect, obedience, and independence
(Rokeach, 1973). Theory suggests that values are acquired early in life, are highly
resistant to change, and are few in number. The expression of values frequently
differs among people. For example, two people may hold a value of “respect for
life” but differ greatly in beliefs about humane treatment of wildlife. One person
may believe wildlife should be killed if the result benefits humans (e.g., for food)
and the act of killing does not induce extraordinary animal suffering (the expres-
sion of humaneness). Another person may believe that killing wildlife for human
benefit is unjustified and inhumane in all circumstances.
Fulton et al. (1996) propose that individual differences in value expression
can be accounted for by examining the basic beliefs associated with values. Basic
beliefs are conceptualized as central beliefs, developed early in life, which resist
change. They are learned in association with values, giving the values shape and
meaning to the individual. Parental instructions initiated with “It is cruel to . . .”
illustrate the type of association process that occurs. Fulton et al. advance the
concept of wildlife value orientations (WVO), which are revealed in the pattern
and direction of basic beliefs about wildlife. Research conducted using this
approach demonstrates that people in the United States can be arrayed along an
orientation continuum with strong “wildlife protection” on one end and strong
“wildlife use” on the other. Those with a wildlife protection orientation emphasize
that wildlife have rights similar to humans and oppose hunting, fishing, and a
utilitarian view of wildlife. Those with a wildlife use orientation believe wildlife
should be used for human benefit, hunting and fishing are positive activities, and
wildlife do not have rights. A second WVO is “wildlife appreciation.” The
higher a person scores on this dimension, the more important wildlife is in his or
her day-to-day life and for the future.
With an understanding of a person’s WVOs, the pattern and direction of his
or her attitudes and norms on certain wildlife related issues can be predicted.
Research has shown that the WVOs are effective in predicting hunting, fishing,
and wildlife viewing participation (e.g., Bright, Manfredo, & Fulton, 2000;
Fulton et al., 1996) and that the protection-used dimension is strongly associated
with attitudes and intentions toward wildlife management proposals (e.g., Manfredo,
Concepts for Exploring 321
Pierce, Fulton, Pate, & Gill, 1999; Manfredo, Zinn, Sikorowski, & Jones, 1998;
Teel, Bright, & Manfredo, 2003). This research suggests that the use of orientations
is associated with more severe responses to wildlife (e.g., destroying nuisance
wildlife, hunting for urban wildlife, and wildlife trapping).
WVOs are proposed to have direct utility for wildlife planning and manage-
ment (Teel, Manfredo, Bright, & Dayer, 2004). Bright et al. (2000) conducted
research that illustrated how segmentation of the public based on WVOs can
guide the wildlife planning process. Orientations can be used to identify distinct
groups of the public that have divergent preferences for management programs
(e.g., hunting, fishing, viewing, educational). Information about these groups can
help anticipate receptivity to and polarization over prevention and mitigation
strategies. In addition, by understanding societal factors that give rise to different
WVOs, it is possible to predict the trends of shifting orientations, which can be
used in planning for future conditions.
Understanding Cultural Character
We use the term cultural character to define the unique patterns of thought, which
distinguish societies and social groups. The term is similar to Milton’s (1996) use
of the term cultural perspective (ways of understanding the world). While it is
convenient to think of cultural differences along political–institutional bound-
aries (i.e., nations), we acknowledge that the process of globalization has severely
diluted the accuracy of such distinctions. Still, there remain broad trends in social
thinking that are useful in explaining differences between societies and groups within
societies. The following sections briefly describe trends in cultural character that may
be particularly relevant to understanding HWC.
One of the most important distinctions among cultural characters is how
humans perceive themselves in relation to the natural environment. This rela-
tionship may be oriented toward domination of nature or subjugation by nature.
Many pre-industrialized societies believe a powerful environment influences
their fate (Milton, 1996). The environment provides for society, and society
must reciprocate. In contrast, modern nature conservationists in post-industrial
society believe they live in an environment that is fragile and needs human
protection. Ideological separation of humans and nature and the view of
domination instead of subjugation mark the transition of worldviews from
hunter-gatherer societies to pastoral societies (Ingold, 1994). Ingold contends
the human–nature separation was fueled by a belief that cultural advancement
was attained only by rising above the natural world and dominating it. In contrast,
hunter-gatherers trust the environment: “the hunter does not transform the world,
322 M. J. Manfredo and A. A. Dayer
rather the world opens itself up to him” (p. 16). These diverse views of the
relationship of humans and nature greatly influence human behavior in HWC.
Cultural character is highly reflective of religious tradition, and various religions
view wildlife and the environment differently. Certainly, the role of wildlife in
religion has varied greatly across stages of cultural development. For example,
among past civilizations, wildlife was “fused” with culture and religion (Schwabe,
1994). Wildlife were important symbols of religious deities, totems that served as
representations for organization of social knowledge, and references for estab-
lishing social identity and lineage. This provides a stark contrast to views of
wildlife among post-industrialized societies, yet, even there, views of wildlife
vary across religious traditions. Judeo-Christian religion is believed to have
spawned the human–nature separation and advanced the prominent Western
worldview of human domination over nature (White, 1967). In contrast, Hindu-
ism sees humans as part of nature. Dwitvedi (2001) describes Hindu beliefs of
God having dominion over all life, and humans having no control over their own
lives or non-human life. Hindu and Buddhist religions believe that the Supreme
Being was reincarnated in the form of various species. The Buddhist code of eth-
ics requires avoidance of injury to all and kindness to all creatures; the notion
of karma and rebirth further encourages sympathetic attitudes toward animals
(De Silva, 2001). For Muslims, other living creatures are worthy of protection
and kind treatment (Deen, 2001).
Related to differences created through religious views, cultural perspectives
would vary greatly according to whether scientific/rational explanations prevail
over traditional (including religious) explanations of phenomenon. To illustrate
the importance of this perspective, Weber (1930/1948) argued that the rise of
scientific/rational thought and the Calvinist ethic of domination provided the
driving forces of capitalism and the European expansion into North America.
This factor has important implications for interpreting the meaning of WVOs.
The rational/scientific tradition in North America provides an overlay of meaning
for both the use and protection ends of the protection use dimension. North
American explanations of why wildlife behave the way they do, how to deal with
human–wildlife interactions, how/why to preserve, utilize, or control wildlife are
largely guided by scientific thinking.
The field of cross-cultural psychology also provides valuable insight into cul-
tural character, offering the bipolar dimension of individualism (prioritizing
individual goals) and collectivism (prioritizing group goals). Hofstede’s
Concepts for Exploring 323
(1980) classic study of IBM employees in 66 countries introduced individual-
ism as one of four dimensions of cultural variation. Research on individual-
ism–collectivism has since proliferated in behavioral, cognitive, emotional,
and motivational domains, demonstrating the relevance of this dimension in
linking psychological variables to culture (Kagitçibasi, 1997; see also Kim,
Triandis, Kagitçibasi, Choi, Yoon, 1994; Triandis, 1995). Correlations
between individualism–collectivism and how cultures address distributive jus-
tice and cooperation–competition (see Kagitçibasi, 1997) suggest the dimen-
sion’s applicability for understanding behavior related to human–wildlife
conflict issues. It might be expected that those cultures that are individualist
would emphasize competition over wildlife resources for individual use and
gain, whereas collectivist cultures would emphasize sharing of wildlife
resources for collective benefit.
The related concept of authoritarianism (Altemeyer, 1988) overlaps to some
extent with this dimension (Kemmelmeier et al., 2003). A collectivist culture
emphasizing the attributes of authoritarianism would likely believe in the strict
enforcement of culturally accepted codes of conduct related to wildlife, whereas
a non-authoritarian culture would place less emphasis on punishing those deviat-
ing from such codes.
Materialist–Post-Materialist Need Structure
Inglehart and Baker (2000) proposed a theory of culture change in modern societ-
ies that focused on shifting need states. In industrialized or industrializing societies,
the prevailing motivational forces are directed toward satisfying basic human
needs (security, shelter, food). The process of modernization gives rise to
economic growth and affluence. As societies emerge into a post-industrial
stage, concerns about satisfying basic needs no longer predominate. Affluent
societies place increasing emphasis on quality of life and self-expression,
which Inglehart (1990, 1997) describes as a Post-Modern worldview. This
shift from industrialized to post-industrialized is marked by a shift from
materialistic to post-materialistic value priorities expressed by individuals
(Inglehart, 1990, 1997). Materialist values emphasize economic and physical
security, whereas post-materialist values emphasize self-expression and qual-
ity of life.
Teel et al. (2003) measured materialism—post-materialism values and
the protection-use WVOs in a study of six states in the Western United
States and showed a clear association between scales used to measure the
values and the WVOs. Materialists were more likely to emphasize use of
wildlife, whereas post-materialists were more likely to have protection
views. The materialist–post-materialist distinction also revealed important
differences in people’s preferences for wildlife management and tolerances
324 M. J. Manfredo and A. A. Dayer
Factors That Shape Cultural Thought Toward Wildlife
What causes the emergence of certain WVOs and what cultural conditions are
associated with certain worldviews toward wildlife? Materialist theorists’ explan-
ations of culture change, and hence cultural ideology, emphasize the importance
of the mode of economy and technology. Prominent among these theories is
cultural materialism in anthropology, which proposes that cultural thought is a
function of the interaction of environment, demography, technology, and mode
of economic production (Harris, 1999). This “infrastructure” dictates the institu-
tional “structure” within culture. Additionally, “infrastructure” and “structure”
dictate “superstructure,” which is the realm of cultural thought and values.
Inglehart (1990, 1997) applies materialist reasoning to explain the culture
shift from materialist to post-materialist values. Economic, cultural, and political
changes are suggested to occur together in coherent patterns that alter the world
in predictable ways. Inglehart provides empirical support that the shift from
materialist to post-materialist values is associated with economic growth. His
cultural change theories were supported by empirical data obtained at a global
level that included data from 65 countries and 75% of the world’s population
(Inglehart & Baker, 2000).
Manfredo, Teel, and Bright (2003) explored the applicability of these expla-
nations of cultural change in examining differences in WVOs and beliefs about
HWC in the study of six Western states mentioned earlier. The researchers
defined “traditionalists” as those with materialist values (using Ingelhart’s scale)
and a pro-use WVO (using Fulton et al.’s scale). The findings showed a correla-
tion between a higher percentage of traditionalists in a state and lower income,
urbanization, education level, and residential mobility. Certainly these findings
are preliminary and focused only on North America; however, they suggest that
these materialist theory factors will, through effects on values and WVOs, shape
response to HWC. This finding merits further investigation.
Applications of the Macro Level Inquiry
To some, the exploration of cross-cultural wildlife values may appear merely an
academic exercise. How, this reasoning might propose, can these cross cultural
comparisons help in dealing with on the ground problems at specific locations?
We contend that such an approach is essential for gaining the level of under-
standing that can guide people toward human–wildlife co-existence.
First, as managers in one location experiment with different mitigation strat-
egies, it is possible that the findings would benefit other managers at different
locations. However, when generalizing about management effectiveness, it is
critical to realize that the viability of strategies interacts with the societal condi-
tions that are present. What may be effective with one social group may be totally
ineffective with another due to cultural differences. An exploration of management
Concepts for Exploring 325
effectiveness must account for these potential differences if a level of predictability
in generalizing about effective management strategies is to be attained.
Second, policy makers are increasingly aware that the sociopolitical bound-
aries are not effective units of analysis for dealing with management of species
and ecosystems. Effective techniques require trans-boundary approaches. Such
endeavors, however, must recognize and account for the variability of cultural
groups involved. Strategies with a sound biological basis are simply not adequate
unless they account for the differences among people involved.
Third, efforts to effect wildlife conservation are often initiated by groups
external to those directly affected. Although this is particularly true in the exam-
ple of NGO involvement in developing nations, it applies as well to situations
where centralized control is present, and there are effects due to differences of
rural-urban influence. To have lasting effectiveness, and to attain an ethical
involvement in the affairs of others, it is essential that external groups attempt
an understanding and consideration of the cultural environment in which they
HWC is a global phenomenon that requires a cross-cultural research approach to
prevent and mitigate conflict and aid in coordinated global, national, and regional
action. The micro-macro model of human behavior that we propose explains the
behavior of individuals in specific HWC situations and provides a structure for
examining HWC situations in a cross-cultural context. Admittedly, a cross-cul-
tural examination of HWC would be a daunting undertaking. There are scientific,
practical, and logistical challenges to pursuing such an endeavor. The lack of a
defined institution with responsibility for wildlife at the global level minimizes
the available sponsorship for such trans-boundary pursuits. Yet, cross-cultural
investigations are one of the most important priorities for the future success of
HWC mitigation. Theoretical elaboration and empirical investigation of concepts
that distinguish cultural groups and also cross-cultural methods for measuring
these concepts are needed. By understanding the factors that shape human response
to HWC across cultures, a base of knowledge can be built that allows for the
successful application of experiences learned at one site (both managerial and
scientific) to needs at another site. The following priorities are noted for the
initial research efforts.
Assessing the Global Validity of a Protection-Use Value Orientation
A protection-use wildlife value orientation that has predictive ability and meaning
in North America has been described. The applicability of the concept beyond
this geographic region may, or may not, be useful, but is worthy of further test-
ing. Alternative orientations should also be explored.
326 M. J. Manfredo and A. A. Dayer
Developing Effective Cross-Cultural Measurement Approaches
The instrument developed for measuring WVOs in the United States may have
limited utility globally. In addition to cultural character, limitations in utility are
due to (1) the common reference to recreational hunting in the WVO measure-
ment instrument and the unique American tradition of hunting, (2) the tradition
of public ownership of wildlife that is distinct from other countries, and (3) the
association of hunting with social class privileges in some nations. Although
Inglehart (1990) provides an applicable approach for measuring materialist–post-
materialist needs, cross-cultural measures that assess dimensions such as scien-
tific–religious and domination–subjugation are largely non-existent. Develop-
ment of these techniques will require a concerted effort.
In developing these methods, self-administered, pencil-paper questionnaire
approaches are unlikely to work beyond developed countries. For example,
Inglehart (1997) employs interviewer administration of survey questions. Alter-
native response stimuli (e.g., questionnaire items or pictorial items), response
formats, and means of administration should be explored. Multiple methods
could be tested for convergent validity.
Pursuit of Globally Collaborative Investigations
Concepts introduced in this article can only be examined through a coordinated
global effort of practitioners and scientists. Given effective institutional leader-
ship, such collaborations can be productive and useful to researchers and practi-
tioners alike. Means for facilitating this collaboration should be a priority for
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