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Eversberg, Dennis (2020): Bioeconomy as a starting point of polarising social conflicts? The distribution of socio-ecological mentalities within the German population 2018 and possible supporting and resistance potentials towards bio-based transformations.
Using the data from the “Study on Environmental Awareness 2018 ” by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the German Environment Agency (UBA), this paper develops a typology of eleven different patterns of socio-ecological attitudes or mentalities in the German population and asks to what extent the transformations of economy and society towards a post- fossil model, which is currently being discussed under the heading of bioeconomy, are becoming the subject of increasing tensions or conflicts between social groups with different mentalities. In a first step, six different dimensions of socio-ecological attitudes are identified with the help of a factor analysis, before eleven different types of attitude patterns are distinguished from one another and described in their various variants by comparing the results of three different cluster analyzes based on these factors. Using indices for the cultural and economic capital endowment of the interviewees, these attitude patterns are then put in relation to each other in their respective ideal-typical locations in the social space according to Bourdieu and their mutual relationships are examined. This results in the overall picture of a roughly tripartite division of the population into an eco-social camp, which comprises around a third of the population and actively supports far-reaching ideas of a post-fossil transformation not only of the economy, but also of the prevailing way of life, a liberal, growth-oriented camp of around 40 %, which adheres to ideas of economic growth and increasing prosperity and has so far not been ready to accept such transformations if they threaten to call these goals into question, as well as an authoritarian-fossilist camp that in fact aspires to a return to outdated economic and social models of the 20th century that will be impossible on a bio-based basis. The (still) rather latent conflict constellation between these three camps on the “eve” of the Fridays for Future protests is outlined. Finally, the question is raised which ideas of a bioeconomic transformation from the point of view of the various mentalities and camps find support, but also to which increasing polarizations they could lead to.