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Reflections on the psychological basis for suboptimal environmental practices in conservation

Henderson, Jane ORCID: 2018. Reflections on the psychological basis for suboptimal environmental practices in conservation. Journal of the Institue of Conservation 41 (1) , pp. 32-45. 10.1080/19455224.2017.1422777

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Jonathan Ashley-Smith's ‘Let's be Honest’ presentation and paper from the 1994 International Institute for Conservation (IIC) conference on preventive conservation is the starting point for this article which considers the evolution of environmental standards to ask whether it is technological or psychological factors that have initiated their greatest change. It examines the implications of categorising types of damage for decision-making and asks whether understanding damage as a process rather than an outcome contributes to a cautionary approach to environmental standards in conservation. The article considers the possible psychological justifications used by those advocating standards for collections and asks whether these may lead to behaviour which is ineffective or ethically compromised. Challenging questions are then asked of the profession about what it cannot do, does not understand, and where it fails. The article concludes that although conservation has made progress in understanding materials and their properties to inform the implementation of environmental standards, it has made significantly less progress in understanding how and why decision-makers introduce and apply standards.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
ISSN: 1945-5224
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 27 December 2017
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 16:20

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