Stuart, D., R. L. Schewe, and M. McDermott. 2012. Responding to climate change: barriers to reflexive modernization in U.S. agriculture. Organization & Environment 25:308-327.
The authors apply Ulrich Beck’s theory of reflexive modernization to examine how farmers in the United States perceive and respond to climate change. Using a case study, the authors identify diversions from Beck’s original theory and explore the importance of social constructionist and political economy perspectives. The article focuses on corn farmers in southwestern Michigan to examine climate risk recognition and reflexive responses, concentrating on the role of nitrogen fertilizer as a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Results from interviews, focus groups, and a mail survey indicate that dualistic worldviews and exposure to limited and/or biased information can inhibit farmers from acknowledging climate change as a risk. In addition, structural barriers inhibit farmers from reducing nitrogen fertilizer application in response to climate change. These findings offer insights applicable to climate change mitigation efforts and also demonstrate the importance of both social constructionist and political economy perspectives to identify barriers to reflexive modernization.
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