Scientific publication

Collective climate action: Determinants of participation intention in community-based pro-environmental initiatives

Publication from Life
Internationale Klimapolitik und -ökonomik

Bamberg S., Rees J., Seebauer S.

Journal of Environmental Psychology 43, 155-165, 2015


There seems to be consensus that apart from individual behavioral change, system-wide transformations are required to address the challenges posed by climate change. Collective action is viewed as one core mechanism in social transformation but there is currently no systematic research on collective climate action. By reviewing theoretical perspectives and models explaining collective protest, we aim to provide a starting point for such a research program. Based on correlational data from a student sample (N = 652), a sample of participants of a local climate protection initiative (N = 71), and visitors of a climate protection event (N = 88), we tested constructs derived from these theoretical models. Social identity, perceived behavioral control, and participative efficacy beliefs consistently predicted substantial amounts of variance in participation intention. Implications for future research are discussed, such as recognizing the interplay between cost-benefit calculations and social identity, or temporal dynamics in collective action engagement.

Keywords: Collective action, Climate change, Transition Town movement, Dual-pathway model of collective action, Social identity model of collective action, Encapsulation model of social identity in collective action