Working Paper No. 7 published: Area of Conflict: Mobility Transition – An Analysis of Socio-Ecological Mobility Mentalities

Büttner, Melissa (2023)


This paper draws on the concept of socio-ecological mentalities (Eversberg 2020) and uses the data set of the survey “Environmental Consciousness in Germany 2018”
to develop a typology of mentalities towards every day mobility and sustainability. Applying factor and clusteranalysis, eight different mentalities were extracted sho- wing that automobility is in the very center of a conflict revolving around a possible transformation of the mobility sector. To illustrate these finding and to highlight the relationships between the clusters, these mentalities were grouped in two camps: One the one hand there are four persistent car-centred attitudes which are (1) the anti-eco- logical car-enthusiasm, (2) the expansionist multioptionalism, (3) the conservative automobilism and a (4) pseudo-affirmative growth affinity. On the other hand, there is a camp that covers car-sceptical and progressive attitudes consisting of (5) the pragmatic preference for public transport, (6) the discontented forced automobility, the (7) mobility minimalism and (8) the progressive bicycle enthusiasm. Both camps cover each approximately half of the sample. This constellation of very different, even strongly opposing mentalities indicates that every day mobility and its possible future transformation is a highly polarized field of conflict with a strong discontent about regulations of the automobile system. The last section of the paper then applies the concept of fossil mentalities (Büttner/Schmelzer 2021) to discuss in how far these ty- pes of attitudes are based on ideas and notions of mobility that only evolved through the mass usage of fossil fuels. Using the relational approach of socio-ecological men- talities thereby proved to be a useful framework to highlight opportunities as well as hurdles towards a socio-ecological transformation.

To the Working Paper No 7