How culture shapes environmental public participation: case studies of China, the Netherlands, and Italy

Wenqi Dang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)


To meet the public requirements for environmental democracy in the world, many international environmental public participation programmes have been developed by adopting the Local Agenda 21 in Rio 1992. At present, some programmes stress the importance of sharing practical lessons on environmental democracy by comparing participation policies in different countries. However, few academic studies analyze how a country’s culture affects environmental public participation. The goal of this paper is to describe how culture shapes environmental public participation by answering two questions: how do certain cultural factors categorize each country according to a nation being egalitarian, fatalist, individualist, and hierarchical in the Cultural Theory (CT) model, and how do the features of CT in each country explain their own environmental participation. This paper looks at three cultural factors—religious, democratic, and gender culture—and analyzes the environmental participation from three cases. This analysis indicates that these three cultural factors categorize both China and Italy under hierarchism in the CT model, while the Netherlands is categorized under individualism and egalitarianism. Italy also has features of fatalism. In addition, different features of CT in the three countries explain the diversity of forms of environmental participation in their contexts. This paper specifically contributes to the analysis of the potential cultural uncertainties in studied countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-412
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Chinese Governance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • cultural factors
  • cultural theory
  • Environmental public participation
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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