Race, ethnicity, and natural resources in the United States: a review

  • Authors: Schelhas, J.
  • Publication Year: 2002
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Natural Resources Journal. 42(4): 723-763


Ethnic and racial communities have often been found to hold distinct views about the environment and natural resource management (Schelhas 2002, Jostad et al. 1996). But these perspectives are often unheard or underrepresented in mainstream environmental discourses (Lynch 1993, Bengston 2004). As society becomes more diverse, natural resource planners, managers and policy makers need a more expansive and inclusive understanding of the perspectives of ethnic and racial communities. Gaining clear insights into the environmental views of ethnic and racial communities is often difficult, however. Differences in traditions and language create obstacles to communication and understanding. Histories of exploitation often produce distrust of government institutions and their representatives. Social science methods used to obtain information about the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the dominant culture often are inappropriate and ineffective when used in the context of minority communities (McAvoy et al. 2000). This study explores an alternative approach for understanding the perspectives of ethnic and racial communities. Computer-assisted content analysis was used to examine the views of Hispanic Americans expressed in Spanish-language news articles about federal land management agencies and issues.

A similar approach has been used in previous studies to analyze attitudes related to natural resource management issues expressed in mainstream news media stories. This approach has been found to closely parallel the findings of attitude surveys and other social science methods (e.g., Bengston and Fan 2001, Bengston et al. 2001)

  • Citation: Schelhas, J. 2002. Race, ethnicity, and natural resources in the United States: a review. Natural Resources Journal. 42(4): 723-763
  • Posted Date: April 1, 1980
  • Modified Date: September 10, 2007
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