Combining anecdotes with scientific data, The Social Value of Zoos is a journalistic inquiry into what is currently known about zoos and aquariums as sociocultural intersections of mission, public perception, and on-site meaning making. The authors draw on conservation psychology and other social science research to explore how zoos might develop and deliver more effective learning experiences to promote and nurture conservation values and collective action. While people use zoos with specific priorities and motivations in mind, these are social settings. Indeed, it is because they represent an important, vast, and trusted social enterprise that zoos have such powerful opportunities to change how diverse public audiences view, value, identify, and engage with animals and the broader biophysical environment.
2. Ontology – animal exhibits and conservation goals
3. Learning – social experiences and captive animals
4. Morality – zoos as moral actors
5. Pleasure – the educational leisure value proposition
6. Meaning – constructing knowledge through discourse, dialogue, and metaphor
7. Bonding – a socio-biological human need with important zoo mission implications
8. Connectedness – animals, continuity, and belonging
9. Identity – discovering self
10. Activation – pro-environmental behavior
11. Impact – collective conservation action
12. Integration – the socially valuable zoo
John Fraser is a conservation psychologist, architect, and educator with over thirty years working with zoos and aquariums and studying how they function in society. He is the President and CEO of Knology, a research institute in the USA, serves as Editor-in-Chief of Curator: The Museum Journal, and is a Past-President of the Society for Environment, Population and Conservation Psychology.
Tawnya Switzer is a collaborative writer, who supports thought leaders at Knology, Open Society Foundations, Union Congregational Church, and the Transformative Justice in Education Center at UC Davis. A patterns-thinker, Tawnya focuses on dynamics, strategies, and high-impact communications that advance well-being, equity, justice, and sustainability.