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The environment on holidays or how a recycling bin informs us on the environment

Jutta Haider (Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 6 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This study sets out to explore how people account for their translation, negotiation and shaping of environmentally relevant practices as information practices in their everyday life during the holidays and asks further how these narratives can be seen as accounting for situated information practices. It aims to focus on how summer guests holidaying in southern Sweden talk about how they connect different kinds of common everyday life practices to environmental information.

Design/methodology/approach

The investigation was carried out over a period of five months during 2008. It is based on seven semi‐structured interviews with nine owners of summer cottages in a holiday village in southern Sweden, three field visits to the village, one including a guided tour, as well as textual analysis of official documents and a local journal. A qualitative thematic analysis, together with a theoretical reading, brings together the intertwined narratives on environmental and information practices, which emerged in the interviews with close readings of textual documents. The resulting themes were given additional meaning by relating them to observations from field visits.

Findings

First, there is no obvious link between people's theoretical knowledge of environmental issues and their actual practices in everyday life. This is also the case for those aware of the impact individual practices are said to have on the environment and on society at large. Second, certain objects and the practices tied to them seem to have become carriers of environmental information in themselves. They are so routinely connected to environmental issues that people “think” through them, when they account for how they think about the environment in a way that has meaning to them.

Social implications

Focusing on the situated information practices involved in creating meaning on environmental issues could have implications for how we think about information campaigns and policy making regarding environmental issues and lifestyles.

Originality/value

This paper suggests that a strong focus on the various perceived and constructed roles of information might contribute to conceptualise more robustly the role of objects and practices for conveying and enacting environmental issues and help to counter the de‐coupling of private and institutional responsibilities.

Keywords

Citation

Haider, J. (2011), "The environment on holidays or how a recycling bin informs us on the environment", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 67 No. 5, pp. 823-839. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220411111164691

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited