Original Research - Special Collection: Climate and Beliefs

Cultural beliefs of time orientation and social self-construal: Influences on climate change adaptation

Aida C. Terblanche-Greeff, Jon-Vegard Dokken, Dewald van Niekerk, Ruth A. Loubser
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 10, No 1 | a510 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v10i1.510 | © 2018 Aida C. Terblanche-Greeff, Jon-Vegard Dokken, Dewald Van Niekerk, Ananka R. Loubser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2017 | Published: 25 October 2018

About the author(s)

Aida C. Terblanche-Greeff, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, South Africa
Jon-Vegard Dokken, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway
Dewald van Niekerk, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, South Africa
Ruth A. Loubser, School of Philosophy, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges humankind faces and adaptive behaviour is an imperative response to such change. Culture and the resulting worldview are determinants of behaviour and eminent cultural beliefs are that of time orientation (TO) and social self-construal (SSC). To date, no research focuses on these beliefs from an indigenous South African perspective or the manner in which it may subsequently affect a community’s adaptation towards climate change. Q-methodology was used to study perspectives and beliefs in three peri-urban communities in South Africa and to investigate the interrelation between themes such as TO, SSC, climate change awareness and climate change causality. It became apparent that the communities are aware of climate change, yet little to no efforts are currently being made to adapt to climatic change. This absence of motivation to adapt may be attributed to limited risk perception and cultural beliefs of TO and SSC. This study aims to contribute to the understanding of cultural beliefs and its impact on climate change adaptation behaviour in the South African context. It is concluded that TO and SSC from an indigenous South African perspective influence community adaptation to climate change.

Keywords

adaptation; Afro-polychronism; climate change; community-based disaster risk management; indigenous South African perspective; risk perception; social self-construal; time orientation; Q-methodology

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