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"I AM NOT JUST AN ECOMOM": HOW ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS MOTHERS MAKE MEANING OF THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION
Schloss, Renata Faye
Khamis, Sahar M
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Although publics have been recognized in the field of public relations as active players in the communication process, there is still a need for better understanding different publics and listening to the voices of individual members of publics, especially those who have been marginalized. The purpose of this study was to explore how members of a particular public, namely "environmentally conscious mothers," make meaning of their environmental engagement and communication and how their diverse identity markers impact this process. In doing so, the study also investigated how they obtain information about environmental issues of interest to them, what their best channels for obtaining such information are, and what determines the credibility of such sources of information. Studies dealing with culture and meaning making, identity, publics, women's and mothers' environmental awareness, engagement, and communication, channels of communication, and source credibility formed the foundations of the literature review for this study. Based on this literature review, four research questions were posed, namely: What are the avowed identity markers of "environmentally conscious mothers" and how do they self-define their own environmental roles? How do "environmentally conscious mothers" make meaning of their engagement in environmental issues and activity? What channels of communication do "environmentally conscious mothers" rely on to increase their environmental awareness and discuss environmental concerns? How do "environmentally conscious mothers"' various identities impact how they make meaning of communication around environmental issues? To allow the individual voices of the participants to be heard and expressed throughout this study, a qualitative research methodology was adopted. Through conducting 36 in-depth, semi-structured personal interviews with self-defined "environmentally conscious mothers," they were given an opportunity to speak for themselves and share their knowledge and experiences. Guided by feminist standpoint and ecofeminist epistemologies, a grounded theory approach was adopted to analyze the collected data.