Understanding pathways to shifting people’s values over time in the context of social–ecological systems

  • Dave KendalEmail author
  • Christopher M. Raymond
Special Feature: Original Article Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability


Despite rich theorisation on the structure and content of people’s values and great interest in the concept of value change, there is currently little coordinated understanding of how people’s values might shift over time. This paper draws upon different value traditions in a multi-level framework that articulates possible pathways of value change within individuals and groups and within a social–ecological context. Individual- and group-level values may change in response to events over an individual’s life course or changes in the social–ecological context that people are living in. Group-level values may also change as the composition of individuals within a social group change. These pathways are likely to act differently on values conceived as guiding principles (transcendental values) and values that people assign to people, places, or things around them (contextual values). We present a research agenda to develop a better understanding of these pathways: assessing the associations between value change and demographic change in a highly mobile world; developing a theoretical and empirical basis for understanding value shifts associated with social–ecological and land-use change; clearer identification of the groups of people that are subject to proposed mechanisms explaining value shifts; and bridging psychological framing of values to other more embodied understandings that may be better placed to explain value shift in the context of social–ecological change.


Value shift Value change Social–ecological systems Regime shift Environmental change Adaptation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Technology, Environments and DesignUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesFaculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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