Petro-Masculinity and Climate Change Denial Among White, Politically Conservative American Males


Nelson, Joshua. 2020. "Petro‐Masculinity and Climate Change Denial among White, Politically Conservative American Males." International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 17 (4): 282-95.

Author: Joshua Nelson


White, politically conservative males in the United States have been widely found to maintain petro-masculine attitudes that include aspects of racism, misogyny, and climate change denial. These beliefs and their associated behaviors, including climate destructiveness, can be conceptualized as compensatory reactions to modern-day racial, gender, and climate-related anxieties that are experienced as threats to traditional white male privilege and power. They then manifest as and energize authoritarian desires and their associated sociopolitical movements, including the current Republican effort to Make American Great Again. This paper utilizes psychoanalytic concepts concerning individual and large-group identity, group psychodynamics and processes, and the intergenerational transmission of idealized myth and fantasy to further elucidate and expand upon these complex phenomena. It then suggests specific strategies for disentangling the strong links between white hegemonic masculinity, fossil fuel use, and climate change denial, thus opening doors to alternative, non climate-destructive yet still empowering notions of individual, large-group, and national identity that are, instead, based in communal concern and climate care.

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Race Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2020

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