My research project
Towards an Understanding of Advocacy Coalitions for Rapid Transitions to Net-Zero Carbon in the UK
Climate scientists have warned that in order to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity and planetary ecosystems, rapid decarbonisation of the global economy is necessary.
Much research to address this “grand challenge” has been overwhelmingly socio-technical in focus. There is much less research and knowledge concerning the question of how political will and social resources can be generated to meet the urgency of the climate challenge.
My research operates at the intersection of political, sociological and psychosocial dimensions of sustainability transitions and combines theories of social movements and the policy process to offer answers to three key questions.
1) Who are the important actors in the national climate policy ecosystem? A new network map and typology of climate policy organisations has been developed in this study (see publications, 2021).
2) What do these organisation believe to be the best ways to a) build an effective coalition for rapid transitions; b) sustain policy salience and public support over the longer-term; and c) envision the wider political, social, economic and cultural contexts in which rapid transitions can be achieved.
The fieldwork element of my research involves semi-structured interviews with a wide range of pro-environmental organisation spokespersons and a panel of independent scholars in the field of rapid transitions research. Thematic analyses of both groups of interviewees aim to highlight areas of consensus, disagreement, tension and contradiction.
Insights gained from this research are intended to assist pro-environmental climate policy advocacy actors in planning more effective strategies - for example in terms of coalition structure, diversity and alignments, and in the development of a more unified, coherent and compelling narrative for rapid change. While this research focuses on UK climate politics and policy, its methods could be applicable to other countries.
Principal Supervisor: Ian Christie (CES, CUSP, CECAN)
Co-Supervisors: Dr Alexandra Penn (Sociology), Dr. Birgitta Gaterslaben (Psychology)
Affiliations and memberships
Please see 'About my research'
In summary, my interests encompass:
- The moral, social, economic and political dimensions of the movement towards sustainable prosperity
- Cultural evolution, social movements, social tipping points and the dynamics of social change
- Social psychology, the problem of collective action and institutions for building cooperation
This research is being supervised by Ian Christie at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES) and Dr. Alex Penn from the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) in collaboration with colleagues at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP).
- growing crystals to earn the most credits for themselves
- sharing energy with others to help them survive debris damage, which is costly in terms of energy for repairs (cooperative option) and
- salvaging abandoned space pods that will otherwise create additional debris hazards for future generations of players (altruistic option).