Conference report now available!

The full report from the BSA Climate Change Study Group event at Southampton in March 2012, is now available here:



Thank you!

Thank you so much to everyone that contributed to the event last Friday and Saturday.

Huge thanks also to Milena Buchs for all her incredibly hard work putting this event together over the past year, and to the BSA Climate Change Study Group for making the event happen.

We look forward to future BSA Climate Change Study Group events!

Full conference details – 13/03/2012

Conceptual and methodological approaches
for researching climate change at different societal scales


BSA Climate Change Study Group Event


Date: 30th March 2012 (with optional field trip on the 31st)

Location: University of Southampton, Highfield Campus

Sociological research on climate change-related topics is still a relatively young field with a range of fundamental questions to reflect on, including, whether existing methodological approaches and sociological concepts need to be further developed to be applied to this area. This event will focus on the ways in which different methodological perspectives can be used and further developed to research the implications of climate change at a range of different societal scales such as the individual, household, workplace, community, regional, national and international level.

To book a place please visit the BSA website:



Friday, 30 March 2012

Hartley Suite, Building 38

09.30am               Registration

10.00am               Welcome by Professor Judith Petts & the conference organisers

Researching climate change: methodological and conceptual challenges
Keynote presentations

10.10am               Professor John Urry, University of Lancaster: ‘Is there a reverse gear and how to find it?’

10.40am               Dr Pauline Leonard, University of Southampton: ‘Changing workspace: green? Or lean and mean?’

11.10                                     Coffee/tea

11.30                                     Professor Elizabeth Shove, University of Lancaster: ‘Methods of capturing the dynamics of social practice’

12.00                                     Professor Patrick Devine-Wright, University of Exeter: ‘Think global, act local? Place attachment in a climate changed world’

12.30                                     Dr Heather Lovell, University of Edinburgh: ‘Speaking the language: researching financial accountants and other experts’

1.00pm                 Lunch

2.00pm                 Paper Workshops (programme see below)

4.00pm                 Coffee/tea

4.30pm                 Feedback and discussion

5.30pm                 Drinks reception

Afternoon Workshops, 2-4pm

Room bookings will be confirmed nearer the time.

A: Conceptualising Climate Change Sociology
Human responses to climate change: social representation, identity and social action Rusi Jaspal and Brigitte Nerlich
Understanding climate science: the evolution of uncertainty management Catharina Landström
Technological optimism within the economics of climate change: A Foucauldian answer to conceptual and methodological questions Michael Keary
Climate change, need, and everyday life Rebecca Wallbridge
B: Media, communications and mixed methods
Visual forms and visual methods in climate change communication Kate Manzo
A mixed methods approach to analysing online reader comments on newspaper articles concerning climate change Nelya Koteyko, Brigitte Nerlich, Rusi Jaspal
Environmental citizenship and the European Union’s climate politics Mirja Vihesalo
Qualitative methods within the “quantitative” arena of carbon markets Corra Boushel
C: Methods for researching climate change in different social contexts
Practices by proxy; climate, consumption and water Ben Anderson, Alison Browne, Will Medd
Using network analysis to bring behaviour into the study of social movements: the relationship between environmental movement participation, attitudes to climate change and energy use Clare Saunders et al
Community scale approach to energy consumption Sarah Hards and Sarah Hall
Putting policy and intervention into ‘practices’ Nicola Spurling and Andrew McMeekin
D: Researching climate change at individual and household scales
The scale of personal life and the study of climate change Lynn Jamieson
Who sets the rules? Do practices have owners? Ruth Rettie and Tim Harries
Climate change and coats Russell Hitchings
Observations on sociology, and action on climate change at the ‘community’ and ‘household’ scales Kevin Burchell and Tom Roberts
E: Researching the multi-level and local dimensions of climate change
Opportunities, challenges and approaches to researching the sustainable city: local interaction platforms as conceptual and methodological innovation? Beth Perry
Local climate change in an ordinary context Eva Heiskanen, Mikko Jalas, Jenny Rinkinen
Rights, regulations and legal consciousness Brownen Morgen

Day 2 – Saturday 31 March 2012

The second day of the event will be more informal, to allow participants to explore the sociological challenges of climate change whilst learning about the New Forest

9.45                      Group transport from Southampton to Minstead

10.30                     Forest walk, guided by the Minstead Study Centre

12.30                     Lunch buffet at the Minstead Study Centre, opportunity to explore Study Centre grounds

13.45                   Transport to return to Southampton Central railway station (or opportunity to head off to explore the New Forest further in self-organised groups)


  • Special issue of a journal, e.g. Sociology
  • On-line display of the papers, with the opportunity for online comments
  • Seminar report summarising key themes and associated news piece for Network magazine


Participant fee for Day 1: £30 for BSA members, £25 for post-graduate students, £45 for BSA non-members.

Day 2 will be costed separately, so please let us know if you are interested to participate. Participants will be asked to contribute to cover the cost for transport to Minstead, the guided forest walk and lunch at the Minstead study centre. This will depend on numbers attending but is likely to be between £15 and £25. You will also need to arrange your own accommodation in Southampton. Information on accommodation and transport to Minstead will be circulated closer to the time.



Highfield House Hotel – walkable to Highfield Campus (ca. 10-15 mins)

Mercure Southampton Dolphin – in the city centre, 5-10 min taxi ride to Highfield campus

Chilworth (north of the town), ca. 10 min taxi ride to Highfield Campus

–          Chilworth Manor Hotel

–          Hilton Hotel, 5-10 min taxi ride to Highfield Campus

Various others, see

How to get here:

By train: Southampton Airport Parkway is the closest station. From there take a taxi to Highfield Campus or UniLink Bus 1

By car: Southampton route map

Highfield Campus Map


Conference organisation

The event is hosted by the BSA Climate Change Study Group.

It is also kindly supported by the University of Southampton Centre for Citizenship, Globalization and Governance (C2G2), the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and Mistra Urban Futures.

Conference team

Milena Büchs, Pauline Leonard and Rebecca Edwards (University of Southampton, Sociology and Social Policy & Third Sector Research Centre) and Beth Perry (University of Salford, SURF-MISTRA Urban Futures)

Contact email: