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Social and Political Dimensions of Sustainability


Expertise of research area
Environmental Studies; Political Science; social policy; sociology; sustainability science: political ecology

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Our research critically examines the relationship between social processes and environmental issues. What distinguishes our work is our focus on how the relationships between social and environmental issues are framed by various schools of thought within the social sciences, and how this can add to an understanding of environmental problems and solutions.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>We see environmental and social processes as deeply intertwined, but not necessarily complementary. As a result, we offer reflective critiques of sustainable development in our work, with an emphasis on revealing the political and social implications of environmental decision-making.</p> <p>Our strength is at the intersection between theory, lived experience (or qualitative cases) and politics/policy in the context of a number of sustainability debates. The&nbsp;<a href="">Social and Political Dimensions of Sustainability</a> group&nbsp;aims to understand the connections between these three elements.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are inspired by a range of approaches from the social sciences and humanities. These include:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>discourse theory&nbsp;</li> <li>political ecology</li> <li>social policy and well-being</li> <li>technology and innovation studies</li> <li>post-colonialism</li> <li>critical governance studies</li> <li>sustainability science</li> <li>development studies</li> </ul> <p>We continue to develop our constructively critical approaches to sustainability studies. These constitute critical approaches to sustainability, in which we engage both in critical analysis of governance, as well as using these critiques to understand the practicalities of governance. Being embedded in the actual processes of change is also a part of how our research aims to contribute to impacts.&nbsp;</p> <p>We also continue to develop and maintain relationships with others around the university. We have strong links with:</p> <ul> <li>the Cultural Institute</li> <li>Arts and Humanities&nbsp;</li> <li>the Centre for Disability Studies</li> <li>the Bauman Institute</li> <li>the School of Politics and International Studies</li> <li>the Human Geography Institute for Transport Studies</li> </ul> <p>We&nbsp;aim to continue producing cutting edge interdisciplinary research in social science and humanities areas.</p> <p>Our research aims to uncover the challenges posed by contemporary environmental decision-making, and to produce publicly relevant (yet critical) insights. We engage extensively with organisations, communities and other academics to conduct research, share findings and host seminars.</p> <p>Our research topics include:</p> <ul> <li>experiences of fuel poverty in the UK</li> <li>the governance of extractive industries in the global North and South</li> <li>the social and environmental impacts of privately owned nature reserves in Patagonia</li> <li>understanding the role of science and expertise in climate adaptation decision-making</li> <li>the politics of sustainability standards in climate change or fair trade</li> <li>power in multi-level governance of climate change&nbsp;</li> <li>the role of advisers, installers, NGOs and micro-enterprises in diffusion and impact of green technology</li> <li>low-carbon behaviour change in organisations</li> <li>sustainability, student engagement and social inclusion&nbsp;</li> <li>improving the treatment of uncertainty in climate services in China</li> <li>social justice in decarbonisation processes</li> </ul> <p>We encourage PhD proposals that align with the research undertaken by staff in the Social and Political Dimensions of Sustainability Group.</p> <h5>Why do your PhD at Leeds?</h5> <p><strong>Study in an active research environment&nbsp;</strong><br /> Studying your PhD with us means you&rsquo;ll be working in a professional research environment, using UK-leading facilities to bring your project to life &ndash; alongside active researchers who are at the forefront of their area.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>A strong network of support &nbsp;</strong><br /> The Leeds Doctoral College connects our community of researchers and can offer you the guidance, services and opportunities you&rsquo;ll need to get the most out of your PhD.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Close industry links&nbsp;</strong><br /> Our partnerships and links to companies and academic institutions give you the opportunity to network at industry talks, seminars and conferences, building connections that&#39;ll benefit your next steps after you complete your PhD.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Professional skills development &nbsp;</strong><br /> We think of the whole picture at Leeds. That&rsquo;s why we offer a range of workshops and courses that&#39;ll enhance your skillset further and transfer into your professional career.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Personal and wellbeing services&nbsp;</strong><br /> Mental health and wellbeing support are integral to who we are at Leeds and you&rsquo;ll have access to the full range of services we offer to ensure you&rsquo;re feeling your best &ndash; and reaching your potential in your studies.&nbsp;<br /> <strong>Join our global community&nbsp;</strong><br /> We welcome students, researchers, academics, partners and alumni from more than 140 countries, all over the world. This means, as a university, we&rsquo;re bringing together different cultures and perspectives which helps strengthen our research &ndash; and societal impact.</p> <h3>Useful links and further reading:</h3> <ul> <li><a href="">Research degrees within the School of Earth and Environment</a></li> <li><a href="">Social and Political Dimensions of Sustainability</a></li> <li><a href="">School of Earth and Environment, Research and Innovation</a></li> </ul> <h3><strong>Leeds Doctoral College</strong></h3> <p>Our <a aria-label="Link Doctoral College" href="" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank" title="">Doctoral College</a> supports you throughout your postgraduate research journey. It brings together all the support services and opportunities to enhance your research, development and overall experience.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the <a href="">University&#39;s website</a>.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For queries relating to your research proposal or subject area, please contact <a href="">Dr James Van Alstine</a>.</p> <p>For general enquiries and details regarding the application process, please contact the Graduate School Office:<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 1314.</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Linked project opportunities</h2>
<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h2>