University of Twente Student Theses


How do people discursively construct their meaningful encounters with nature?

Böckenhoff, Hanna Maria (2022) How do people discursively construct their meaningful encounters with nature?

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Abstract:Everybody encounters nature and discusses their experience differently. Thereby it is of interest to understand how people construct meaningful nature encounters. Past research has qualitatively studied specific kinds of nature encounters and studied their effect on psychological states quantitatively but has not focussed on the way people discuss nature encounters. Stemming from social constructionism, Discourse analysis is used to analyse how language is used to construct meaning while considering the sociocultural context. The research question is: How do people discursively construct their meaningful encounters with nature? This paper studied the discursive constructions of 37 nature encounters of 18 participants. The data are interview excerpts in which the participants described their meaningful encounters with nature. A total of 8 different types of discursive constructions of encounters with nature were classified during the analysis of the excerpts. Nature encounters were most often constructed as explorative but also often as spiritual or aesthetic. Participants also discursively constructed how animals actively sought contact and ascribed a mind to nature. Further, nature encounters were discursively constructed as recreational, dangerous or recognising damage done to nature. Most nature encounters were constructed as a positive experience as well as an extraordinary aspect of nature. The results showed a variety of nature encounters. Nature was displayed as magical and perfect, aesthetic and calm, an adventurous place, as well as a predator to and a victim of humans. Some interviewees used social narratives for construction, like nature being a threat or humans damaging nature. Further research should examine the subjective reality of nature in social media postings in association with the discursive constructions of the nature encounter behind the post to learn more about the subjective reality of nature encounters.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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