Is Generation X the new Civic Generation? An exploratory analysis of social capital, environmental attitudes and behaviours in an Australian community

Miller, Evonne & Buys, Laurie (2004) Is Generation X the new Civic Generation? An exploratory analysis of social capital, environmental attitudes and behaviours in an Australian community. In Bailey, C., Cabrera, D., & Buys, L. (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century Conference; Centre for Social Change Research; Queensland University of Technology.


This study investigated generational differences and similarities in social capital, environmental attitudes and behaviours in an affluent Australian community, comparing the Civic Generation (60 years+) with the independent youth of today, the "Generation X-ers" (18-30 years). Interest in social capital, an indicator of community wellbeing succinctly defined as social connectedness, has grown exponentially as researchers link social capital with the success of environmental and sustainable initiatives. Environmental researchers, struggling to encourage individuals and communities to adopt environmentally sustainable behaviours, believe that by fostering social capital, people will be encouraged to act at a community level to preserve the natural environment. Unfortunately, social capital has steadily declined as the Civic Generation has been replaced by generations less involved in the community, creating communities of isolated residents. This study is the first to explicitly test these assumptions, comparing social capital, environmental attitudes and everyday water-usage reported by the youngest and oldest Australian citizens. Unexpectedly, Generation X-ers reported the highest level of social capital, with both generations displaying reasonably high levels of environmentally friendly attitudes and behaviours. The implications and limitations of these unexpected findings are discussed in detail, with the results suggesting that the resurgence of social capital in our research, led by the Generation X-ers, bodes well for both the natural environment and the community.

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ID Code: 641
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: social capital, environmental attitudes and behaviours, generational differences, Australian community
ISBN: 1741070813
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Evonne Miller and Laurie Buys
Deposited On: 21 Dec 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:07

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