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Research in Environmental Social Science

Research in Environmental Social Science is problem driven and relates to urgent global challenges of the 21st century, such as food security, climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, urban growth, and distribution of water resources.

Environmental Social Science (ESS) research focuses on these environmental issues and analyses crucial aspects of human-nature relations applying different lenses and approaches. We collaborate under the three theoretical lenses: power, knowledge and change.

  • The power lens targets power relations underlying human-nature relations and fundamental issues related to environmental justice, intergenerational equality, social sustainability, and environmental governance.

  • The knowledge lens allows us to capture the role played by knowledge and different knowledge producers in the framing and construction of environmental problems. It allows us to explore questions such as “What is legitimate knowledge?” “Who are legitimate producers of knowledge?” “What kinds of knowledge are needed to deal with the uncertainties of environmental problems?”
  • The change lens focuses on the need for urgent societal transformation. It enables an exploration of political, economic, technical and cultural processes of change and their intersections with sustainable resource use. Here, change is understood both in the sense of change as environmental degradation and change towards desired futures. The latter involves anything from activism and social mobilization to the “Green State” and global environmental governance.

Our expertise spans environmental governance, sustainable development, green growth, environmental justice, environmental education, climate change, human rights as well as theorizing nature-society interactions. We are particularly concerned with thinking through how to engage in inter- and trans-disciplinary scholarship within a globalizing world. ESS is strongly influenced by the tradition of human ecology, a subject that focus on human-nature relations that is activist inspired and critically oriented.

We offer courses at an undergraduate level in Human Ecology and a PhD degree in Environmental Social Science. We also contribute courses and dissertation supervision to the MSc in Global Studies.

Page Manager: Deputy Head of Department Isabell Schierenbeck|Last update: 3/4/2019

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