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The cultural impacts of climate change : sense of place and sense of community in Tuvalu, a country threatened by sea level rise

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Item Summary

Title: The cultural impacts of climate change : sense of place and sense of community in Tuvalu, a country threatened by sea level rise
Authors: Corlew, Laura Kate
Keywords: Tuvalu
climate change
sense of place
sense of community
show 1 moreActivity Settings theory
show less
Issue Date: May 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
Abstract: The Psychology of Climate Change is an emerging field that focuses on human causes and impacts. The APA (2009) report noted a developed-nations bias in the current body of research. I add that there is also a continental bias. The current study explores the cultural impacts of climate change in Tuvalu, a developing island nation in the South Pacific projected to become uninhabitable in the next 50 to 100 years due to sea level rise. This study explores the Psychological Sense of Community and Sense of Place in Tuvalu's cultures, and applies Activity Settings theory to Tuvaluan cultural contexts and change. This study utilizes semi-structured qualitative interviews, ethnography, photographic images, and archival research. This research was conducted in collaboration with the Tuvalu Office of Community Affairs. Thematic analysis revealed that climate change is considered within the context of other cultural changes that Tuvaluans are facing. Tuvalu has a strong guest and gift culture, including a responsibility of community members to share resources and give of themselves by participating in community-supporting events. Tuvaluan identity is strongly related to home island identity. Funafuti is the urban center of Tuvalu and is undergoing a heightened period of development and cultural change. The outer islands are spaces in which traditional cultural activities, language, and values are most strongly practiced, although the outer islands are also experiencing modernization, development, and subsequent cultural changes. Tuvaluans are "renowned as being adaptable" and have a long history of successful adaptation to outside influences and changes in culture. Adaptability and other cultural strengths allow Tuvaluans to maintain their traditional lifestyle while simultaneously embracing cultural changes. Climate change is currently affecting the land, weather, and sea in Tuvalu, and consequently the lives of people who live there. Individual and community adaptations are being actively engaged. The 2011 drought and other events showcase cultural strengths that Tuvaluans naturally activate in response to disasters and slow-stressor changes. Tuvaluans also rely on their faith in God. Tuvaluans are adamant that they must implement every possible measure to protect their country from climate change, and will not consider migration at this time.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Psychology

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