The In Common Podcast

Weekly podcast featuring interviews on human-environment relationships. Our podcast, blog and methods webinars provide engaging stories, research findings and experiences from academics and practitioners.

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Keeping it instrumental

After reading through the book Self-Determination Theory by Ryan and Deci (2018), I have been thinking about the difference between inherent and instrumental goods (or intrinsic vs. extrinsic, take your pick). Something is instrumentally valuable if we only want it to obtain something else, and hopefully at some point we want something inherently, for its own sake. A concern expressed in this book and elsewhere is that we have become too instrumental in our lives and relationships: everything is only valuable for some other thing that it gets you. We have substituted communal relationships for exchange relationships and have lost social capital as most famously described by Robert Putnam (2000) in his book Bowling Alone. And this process...