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Published: 05 March 2020

Dr Castello’s research featured in Financial Times

Surrey Business School’s Dr Itziar Castello, Senior Lecturer in Digital Economy has had her research featured in last Monday’s Financial Times.

The paper entitled Energizing Through Visuals: How Social Entrepreneurs Use Emotion-Symbolic Work For Social Change, was featured as a result of the Financial Times asking business schools to select up to five papers by their academics, published in the past five years, that they considered to have social impact. A tracking service was used to quantify the online resonance that each article had with the wider world beyond universities, drawing on references ranging from academic citations to social media posts.

Dr Castello’s research highlights that emotion-symbolic work – the deliberate production and use of shocking visuals to transform negative emotions into positive emotional energy and motivate behavioural change – instigates an emotional transformation process that influences people to identify with and enact a cause in their daily lives. Emotion-symbolic work helps individuals not only to acknowledge their culpability in plastic pollution but inspire them to act and refuse single-use plastics rather than rely on recycling.

Contributing to the ongoing policy debate surrounding manipulation in social media and the global public debate on plastic pollution, Dr Itziar Castello at the University of Surrey, David Barberá-Tomás from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Frank G. A. de Bakker from IESEG School of Management and Charlene Zietsma from Penn State University analysed how anti-plastic pollution activists use visual and verbal interactions to convert bystanders into social movement supporters.

Regarding her feature in the Financial Times, Dr Castello said: “Our aim has always been to improve societies understanding of plastic pollution and sustainability. We think this article can be really useful for entrepreneurs, NGOs and businesses to help advance the discourses that aim to improve plastic pollution. Most of the research we do in the business schools can be relevant. It just needs to be translated to other venues and channels. We need business schools to promote this translation even further.”

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