Governing Brothers and Sisters: Environmental Programs in Catholic Orders
We use multiple scales to evaluate human action, e.g.: Is the action just? Is it profitable? Does it lead to a particular goal? How we assess actions crucially affects social life and the way it is coordinated. Religious communities make judgments mainly based on religious teachings but also on other orders of worth and justifications such as those from ecology. Globally, these communities have begun to perceive ecological obligations as part of their religious tradition. Against this backdrop, they have increasingly formulated environmental programs over the past decade. As internal audits, best-practice data bases, or loose guidelines, these programs can be understood as internal attempts at transnational, soft regulation for local implementation. This project investigates how members of Catholic orders assess their daily practices in light of these programs. What sort of categories, justifications, and relationships between different social actions and groups are created and negotiated? The question is explored based on multi-site ethnographic studies, focusing on the period 2000-2014. The project strives for a deep understanding of the issues and is based on document analysis, interviews, participatory observation, and focus group discussions. Project duration: October 2012 to March 2017.