PSA Annual Conference 2018, Cardiff

The PSA Annual International Conference is being held from 26th – 28th March in Cardiff. The theme of the conference is Politics of Our Times: Asking the Difficult Questions. We are hosting two panels at the conference this year, both of which engage with challenging debates and difficult questions regarding the future of environmental politics. The details of the panels are as follows:

Panel 1: Public & Political Responses to Environmentalism

Wednesday 28th March, 9:00 – 10:30

Room 1.28, Law & Politics Building

Panel Members:

  • Ms Anna Wienhues (University of Manchester) The Half-Earth Proposal: Necessary For Just Conservation?
  • Dr Paul Tobin (University of Manchester) Conceptualising the ‘policy dismantling’ of European environmental policy during economic crisis
  • Mr Mitya Pearson (King’s College London) The Challenges of the Green Party in Britain
  • Professor Rhys Andrews (Cardiff University) Factors influencing citizens’ co-production of environmental services: evidence from Wales.

Panel Chair: Dr. Shashi van de Graaff

This panel explores differences in public and political responses to environmentalism. Wienhues examines the Half-Earth proposal as a radical response to reducing the demands of humans on a finite planet. Alonso et al. draw upon a national survey of nearly 6000 Welsh citizens in order to examine whether socio-economic factors and attitudes are related to people’s pro-environmental behaviour. Burns et al. examine recent European environmental policy develop in order to provide a deep yet holistic understanding of the nature of policy change in this area since the start of the 2008 economic crisis. Finally, Pearson provides an assessment of the challenges that the British Green Party currently faces and assesses its strategic options going forward. Each of these papers offers a unique approach to analysing and understanding how different actors, such as the state, political parties, and individuals, are responding to environmental issues.

Panel 2: Environmentalism & Climate Change: Framing the debate

Wednesday 28th March, 11:00 – 12:30

Room B, City Hall

Panel Members:

  • Ms Joanna Wilson (University of Manchester) Lifting the veil on Gender in Global Climate Governance
  • Dr James Wong (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) Framing Environmentalism: Government Campaigns and the Individualization of Environmental Movements
  • Dr Brenda McNally (Dublin City University) Climate Change and Political Engagement: problematising Irish press discourse on decarbonisation
  • Benjamin Abraham (Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford) Environmental worldviews and the transnationalisation of climate change governance

Panel Chair: Dr. Ashley Dodsworth

This panel explores different approaches to framing the climate change & environmentalism debate. Wilson aims to ‘lift the veil’ on gender and global climate governance, through tracing the material and discursive processes through which decisions relating to gender and climate change take place in highly symbolic, performative and gendered spaces. McNally presents a nuanced investigation of Irish press representations of the low carbon transition. Wong focuses on the relatively underdeveloped dimension of an environmental state, and explores the mechanisms under which the state shapes the nature and trajectory of environmental movements through defining the idea of environmentalism. Finally, Abraham explores how ideational factors, specifically causal beliefs, about climate change are shaping the emerging polycentric governance system. Each of these papers offers a unique perspective on environmental politics by highlighting the diversity of ways in which debates over environmental issues, such as climate change, can be conceptualised and interpreted.

Social Media (#PSA18)

In the leadup to the conference and throughout the event, we will be engaging with members via social media, using our twitter account (@psaenvironment) and the hashtag #PSA18. This is a quick & easy way to stay in touch with our conference news and events, and you can engage with the debates throughout the conference. So get typing!

Related Panels

In addition to our two PSA Environment sponsored panels, there are other panels taking place at the conference that engage with issues of environmental politics & policy that you can attend as well. These are listed below:

Economic, Migration and Environmental Policy Challenges and Opportunities for Germany in a European and Global Context

Monday 26th March, 16:15 – 17:45

Room K, City Hall

Panel Chair:

  • Dr Josefin Graef (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin)

Panel Members:

  • Professor Lothar Funk (Duesseldorf University of Applied Sciences)
  • Dr Helen Williams (University of Nottingham)
  • Professor Rudi Wurzel (University of Hull)
  • Dr Arndt Leininger (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz)

This panel focuses on major political challenges and opportunities facing Germany in the areas of economic, migration and environmental policy. The papers critically assess and question some long-held attitudes towards these policies in a European and global context, offering new conceptual lenses and empirical findings. They focus not only on the German domestic level but also provide a critical assessment of core German economic, migration and environmental policy issues within a wider European context.

Framing the Future of Environmental Debates

Wednesday 28th March, 13:30 – 15:00

Room 1.28, Law & Politics Building

Panel Members:

  • Mr Zack Grant (University of Oxford)
  • Miss Heather Alberro (Nottingham Trent University )
  • Jared Finnegan (London School of Economics)
  • Mr Nick Kirsop-Taylor (University of Exeter)


Keep an eye out for more details to come on our website, twitter, and emailing list on our AGM & social event. We look forward to seeing you in Cardiff!

In Memory of Dr. Ros Hague

It is with great sadness that we must announce that Dr Ros Hague, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Nottingham Trent University, unexpectedly passed away this week. Dr Hague was an active member of the PSA Environment Group, having presented at the group’s panels at several PSA conferences. Dr Hague will be greatly missed by her students, friends, and colleagues at PSA.

Member Survey Results

Earlier this year, we asked our members to complete a survey to help us better understand what they wanted from the group, and how we could best assist them.

The survey produced many interesting and sometimes unexpected results.

We discovered that far more senior academics completed the survey than PhD students or early career researchers, which suggests that we need to focus our efforts further on engaging with those starting out on their academic careers.

Research InterestsOur members’ research interests are spread across a wide range of areas, including climate change, environmental policy and governance, sustainability, energy, environmental party politics, environmental philosophy, international relations and environmental movements.

Research FieldsOur members also come from a diversity of research fields. Just over half our members are social scientists, with a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research methods. A quarter of our members are interdisciplinary researchers. Only a small number of our members work in the natural sciences.

Funding was highlighted as the area where our members most need assistance, closely followed by support with advertising, networking and organisational planning. A selection of different topics were suggested for future PSA Environment events, including more focus on environmental and energy policy development, regulation and evaluation, comparative environmental and climate politics, theoretical and discourse analysis of environmental politics, and sustainability education and activism.

The aspects members most valued about being a member of the PSA Environment group were the contacts and networking opportunities, the research events held, and the email and website updates.

We will be using these survey results to help plan our activities for 2018. Thank you to all those that took part!

Call for Papers: PSA Annual Conference 2018

The next PSA Annual Conference will be held at Cardiff City Hall, 26-28 March 2018. The theme of the conference is Politics of Our Times: Asking the Difficult Questions. More information is available on the PSA website. Registration for the conference is already open with Early Bird rates available.

Our Group will propose up to six panels for inclusion in the conference. Each year, our panels produce fascinating and lively debates, and we’re certain that we’ll see the same again next year.

Panel and Paper Submissions

We welcome your submissions for both panels and individual papers by 5pm on Monday 30th October 2017. You can email them to us at psa.environment [at] gmail [dot] com. We will consider all panels that broadly link with the conference theme, whether through a comparative, policy, global, local, empirical or green theory lens.

If you are submitting a full panel proposal, it will need to include full details of the papers (titles, abstracts, etc) and the authors (names, email addresses, etc.). If you would like to propose a panel but are seeking additional papers to support it, just email us and we can advertise your panel on our group website, or tweet us at @psaenvironment and we’ll advertise your requests.

If you are submitting an individual paper, we can sort these papers into panels after you have submitted your paper.

The PSA is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all areas of its work. As such, all panels submitted to the annual international conference must endeavour to reflect the diversity of the profession and gender balance – we will be taking this into account when accepting proposals.

Postgrads and Undergrads

The Environmental Politics Group will be making a small number of travel bursaries available to its postgraduate members to help facilitate their participation in our panels.  To register your interest in applying please send an email to psa.environment [at] gmail [dot] com.

Climate Politics in Interesting Times: Workshop Recap

Last Friday, the PSA Environment Specialist Group hosted a workshop at Keele University to discuss Climate Politics in Interesting Times. The event was made possible through funding provided by the Political Studies Association, as part of their Pushing the Boundaries programme. The theme for the event had been inspired by discussions held at the PSA Annual Conference in Glasgow earlier this year, which highlighted that the politics around governing global climate change are complex enough at the best of times. Now, a surge of populism, ‘fake news’, and the election of Donald Trump as US President, all in times of ongoing austerity in Western democracies, add even greater challenges to the picture. In response, we held a research workshop to explore what these ‘interesting times’ mean for the prospects, barriers, and new opportunities of climate governance.


Panel discussion on Brexit, Trump and the Geopolitics of Climate Change

A group of academics, researchers, activists, and policy-makers gathered at Keele University’s Sustainability Hub in order to explore questions such as how has transnational climate governance evolved since Paris 2015? How are climate politics being affected by the recent political changes such as Brexit, Trump’s election, and the rise in populism around these events? And how might academic research and political action help to overcome any challenges and open up new opportunities in this context?



Louise Maythorne runs a clinic on Grant Writing in Environmental Politics

These questions were explored through two panel sessions, the first on Trump, Brexit, and the geopolitics of climate change, and the second on New actors and spaces on the horizon. This was followed by a grant writing clinic hosted by Louise Maythorne, and a working lunch where participants could ask questions and seek advice on developing their own grant applications.


Panel discussion on New actors and new spaces on the horizon?

The event concluded with a roundtable to discuss the future of climate politics. Roundtable participants included Mike Childs (Head of Policy, Research and Science at Friends of the Earth), Neil Carter (University of York), Marc Hudson (Editor of Manchester Climate Monthly), Sherilyn Macgregor (University of Manchester), and Sam Gibbons (Keele University). The roundtable produced a wealth of engaging discussions, ranging from the tensions between activism and maintaining independence as a researcher, to how researchers and activists can best engage and communicate with the public, and to what extent there is still hope for the future in the battle against climate change. For more detail on the presentations and debates that unfolded during the day, you can view the live-tweeting that happened on the day by searching for ‘#CPIT2017’ on twitter, or by viewing our PSA Environment twitter account (@psaenvironment). In addition to providing space for discussion and debate, Friday’s event was also used as a ‘springboard’ event to encourage members to get in touch if you have any ideas for events that you would like to see take place. We can help to provide administrative, advertising, and sometimes also funding support, depending on the event. So if you have any ideas for events that you would like to see take place, please get in touch at psa.environment [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you attend Friday’s event, you may be interested in using the discussions to develop a paper or panel submission for the next PSA Annual Conference, held on 26-28 March 2018 in Cardiff. The conference theme will be ‘Politics in Interesting Times: Asking the Difficult Questions’, which links closely to the themes discussed at our climate politics workshop. We will be issuing a call for papers shortly, but in the meantime if you wish to submit a paper or panel affiliated to the group please let us know via email.

Finally, we’d like to sincerely thank all those that attended the workshop, especially those who presented papers and our roundtable speakers. We very much look forward to seeing you all at our next event!

Programme Released: Climate Politics in Interesting Times

We are excited to announce the programme for our upcoming event at Keele University on Climate Politics in Interesting Times.   The event will consist of two academic panels, a grant writing clinic, and a roundtable on the future of climate politics. We are fortunate to have such esteemed guests as Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, and Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science at Friends of the Earth, participating in the roundtable. There is still time to register your attendance free of charge via Eventbrite.

Further details are available in the programme below. We hope to see you there!

Climate Politics in Interesting Times

Friday 15th September 2017, 10:30-16:30

The Sustainability Hub, Keele University, ST5 5BG


From 10:30 Arrival / Coffee / Welcome
11:00 – 12:15 Panel 1: Trump, Brexit and the new geopolitics of climate change

Chair: Marit Hammond

·       John Vogler (Keele): Climate change at the G7 and G20

·       Fay Farstad, Neil Carter and Charlotte Burns (York): ‘What does Brexit mean for the UK’s Climate Change Act?’

·       Joanna Wilson (Manchester): ‘An Intersectional Feminist Approach to Climate Change Politics Post-Trump’

·       Paul Tobin (Manchester) & Charlotte Burns (Sheffield): ‘EU Climate Policy at a Time of Crisis’

12:15 – 12:30 Grant writing clinic with Louise Maythorne
12:30 – 13:30 ‘Working lunch’ to share questions and advice about grant writing
13:30 – 14:45 Panel 2: New actors and spaces on the horizon?

Chair: Marit Hammond

·       Sidan Wang (Exeter): ‘Dynamic climate change discourse and discourse coalitions in newspapers in China across 2007, 2009 and 2015’

·     Lydia Messling (Reading): ‘Climate Change Scientists as Advocates? The tensions between scientific independence, poor policy, and avoiding a dangerous world’

·       Ian Christie (Surrey): ‘Cities and the Limits of Climate Politics’

·       Stephen Hall and Ian Smith (UWE Bristol): ‘Exploring “self organised” responses to climate change in Europe: A Q Methodology Study’

14:45 – 15:00 Coffee break
15:00 – 16:30 Roundtable: The future of climate politics in interesting times

Chair: Shashi van de Graaff

·       Neil Carter, Professor of Environmental Politics, University of York

·       Sherilyn MacGregor, Reader in Environmental Politics, University of Manchester

·       Marc Hudson, Editor, Manchester Climate Monthly/PhD student, University of Manchester

·       Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader, Green Party UK

·       Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science, Friends of the Earth

16:30 Close



Climate Politics in Interesting Times

Upcoming PSA Environment Event at Keele University

On Friday 15 September, the PSA Environment Group will be hosting a workshop on Climate Politics in Interesting Times at Keele University. The politics around governing global climate change are complex enough at the best of times. Now, a surge of populism, ‘fake news’, and the election of Donald Trump as US President, all in times of ongoing austerity in Western democracies, add even greater challenges to the picture. In this research workshop, we will explore what these ‘interesting times’ mean for the prospects, barriers, and new opportunities of climate governance. The event brings together academics, researchers, activists and policy-makers with expertise in climate politics, to explore any or all of the following questions:
  • How has the transnational climate governance arena evolved since Paris 2015?
  • What new barriers have arisen as a result of austerity, populism, Brexit and Trump?
  • How might they be addressed?
  • What are the prospects for international climate politics without US involvement in the Paris Agreement?
  • Does the changed context create any new opportunities as well?
  • What are the (new?) roles of scientists / experts / activists / citizens in today’s climate politics?

Contributions are invited that deal with these or related questions in relation to climate politics at all levels – local, regional, national, trans- and international – focussing on different types of actors and specific issue areas, and from all relevant disciplines, whether empirical or theoretical. We particularly invite contributions and participation of postgraduate students and early career researchers. Some funding is available to help support travel expenses for postgraduates and early career researchers on fixed-term contracts; please just include a note outlining why you would need to draw on this with your abstract submission.

The workshop will comprise:
  • Two academic research panels on different specific themes;
  • A roundtable that brings together these scholarly perspectives with the perspectives of practitioners, activists and policy-makers;
  • A career advice session for postgraduate students and early career researchers; and
  • A grant writing clinic specifically geared towards environmental research.

Whether you are submitting a paper or roundtable outline, or would just like to attend as a participant without presenting, please register via the Eventbrite page:

Please submit your abstracts or outlines to Marit Hammond (m.hammond [at] by Monday 10 July 2017. Those interested in presenting a panel paper should submit an abstract of 300 words max.; those interested in taking part in the practitioner roundtable should submit a brief outline of their role and the position/themes they would wish to speak about, also of 300 words max. 

Further details about the workshop will be posted in the coming weeks. We hope to see you there!