Ambivalence in environmental representation

A theoretical contribution

  • Ylva Uggla
  • Magnus Boström
Nyckelord: representatives, coping, environment, organization, dilemma, sustainability, uncer- tainty, tension


In this paper, we examine the phenomenon of representation through the theoretical lens of ambivalence, concentrating on the people involved in representation: representatives . We argue that the theoretical concept of ambivalence can be helpful in analysing and understanding the various tensions environmental and other representatives encounter in their practice . Based on the concepts of “sociological ambivalence”, “ideological dilemma”, and “the organizational centaur”, as well as on insights from social studies of science and sustainability studies, the paper develops a typology of three potential sources of ambivalence: role conflicts, value conflicts, and conflicts between goals and means . In addition, the paper identifies various ways of co- ping with ambivalence, including the construction of meta-norms, organizational and network support, pragmatism, drawing boundaries for reasonable and acceptable actions, rule bending and discursive negotiation . The paper concludes that the concept of ambivalence adds crucial insights to the positions, practices, and challenges of environmental representatives and notes that ambivalence is not only a matter of tensions and conflicts but can be a source of reflexivity, learning, and agency.

Referera så här
Uggla, Y. och Boström, M. (2019) ”Ambivalence in environmental representation: A theoretical contribution”, Sociologisk Forskning, 55(4), s. 447-465. Tillgänglig vid: (åtkomstdatum: 8juli2020).