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Beyond 'common sense': unveiling human behaviour in nudging and affordance theory and how it informs social-ecological transformation theory.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The major driver of the global environmental crisis is the human, whose behavior is necessary to understand and transform. Humans and human behavior are perceived in various ways through worldviews that are embedded in different disciplines and theories such as affordance theory and nudging.

These worldviews can enrich social-ecological transformation theory by inspiring novel solutions to the global environmental crisis. Analysing the ontologies of these theories results in unveiling underlying assumptions about the human that may go beyond ‘common sense’.

This study shows that the holistic ecological approach of affordance theory portrays humans as one species of animal that is part of nature and perceives the environment in an embodied way.  Whereas in nudging, being a toolkit to change behavior, the human is an irrational being, deviating from the rational homo economicus. 

The study suggests that elements of affordance theory such as contextuality and perception can be bridged to nudging. Such a connection can be illustrated with nudging that affords hiding places for the choice architect. Furthermore, it is suggested that the notion of agency connects affordance theory to social-ecological transformation theory. 

Several aspects of nudging and affordance theory are revealed through an interpretive research design. These aspects may inform social-ecological transformation theory. 

The implication of the findings about affordance theory may open up alternative ways of thinking about humans’ place in nature.  Nudging can provide support to the agent portrayed in affordance theory when creating pathways towards social-ecological transformations. The present research on nudging and affordance theory could inform future studies of human behavior, as part of a systemic behavior, representing a channel between local and global transformations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 39
Keywords [en]
affordance theory, behavioral economics, social-ecological transformation, interpretive research design
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-170350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-170350DiVA, id: diva2:1331726
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Sustainability scienceAvailable from: 2019-06-27 Created: 2019-06-27 Last updated: 2019-06-27Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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Output format
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