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The study group was formed following the very successful BSA Presidential Debate ‘How to put society into climate change’ held at the British Library in February 2010.  As that event demonstrated, sociology has an increasingly important role to play in shaping and contributing to public and policy debate about climate change.  The study group provides a forum in which to explore how to effectively bring sociology’s unique perspective to bear on this most pressing of challenges. The study group is open to all sociologists, from whatever specialism and at whatever stage they may be at in their career.


  • To provide a platform from which to promote sociological contributions and interventions to the climate change debate.
  • To increase visibility of what the discipline has to offer across a range of related policy domains.
  • To provide a point of reference for researchers and research funders (including the ESRC).
  • To generate new lines of sociological enquiry into climate change.
  • To provide networking opportunities for sociologists and those working in associated disciplines.
  • To offer a space for PhD students and early career researchers to develop experience of organizing talks and other academic events.
  • To host at least one major meeting a year, alongside smaller regional events.

Forthcoming Events

19 February 2016
Environment and Human Health – Social Perspectives: One-Day Workshop (BSA Climate Change, Environment & Health and London Medical Sociology Study Groups)
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK - BOOK NOW! - Abstract submission deadline:  1 December 2015

Call for proposals to run events

The BSA Climate Change Study Group is keen to support events in different parts of the country and we welcome proposals to organise such events with the aim of facilitating innovation, collaboration, sociologically inspired research and/or engagement with climate change policy. If you would like to put on an event please see here for more details.


Winners of 2013 BSA Climate Change Study Group Article Prize Announced!

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2013 BSA Climate Change Study Group Article Prize.  The calibre of papers submitted was very high and the judging was extremely close so congratulations to all nominees. An event to celebrate with 2013's winners and give out the prizes took place on 1 April 2014.  Read the Event Report. The winner and runners-up are as follows:

  1. Matthew Fry takes first place for his article 'Cement, carbon dioxide, and the ‘necessity’ narrative: A case study of Mexico’, Geoforum 49, 127–138. 
  2. Pauline Leonard takes second for her article 'Changing organisational space. Green? Or lean and mean?' Sociology, 47(2), 333-349
  3. Chris Shaw takes third for his article 'Choosing a dangerous limit for climate change: Public representations of the decision making process', Global Environmental Change, 23(2): 563-571

We highlight two other papers for commendation because they were so close to the winning papers - coming in 4th and 5th place are:  

  • Browne et al. for their paper 'Developing novel approaches to tracking domestic water demand under uncertainty - a reflection on the 'up scaling' of social science approaches in the United Kingdom'.  Water Resources Management, 27(4), pp1013-1035; and
  • Jaspal et al. for their article 'Human Responses to Climate Change: Social Representation, Identity and Socio-psychological Action'. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, DOI:10.1080/17524032.2013.846270

Event report from the Energy, Climate and Society: Insights from Early Career Researchers

This event, kindly sponsored by the BSA Climate Change Study Group, aimed to promote knowledge sharing between researchers and the policy community on the social dimensions of energy and climate change.  Download the Event Report


Report from the workshop on writing excellent articles on climate change

This event provided an opportunity for participants to learn about writing excellent social scientific articles on climate change. A report, including audio, is available here.


Report of an informal discussion with DECC - Notes and Presentation
When the BSA climate change study group was launched there was clear interest in promoting closer interaction with ‘policy’ and we are grateful to DECC for opening what we hope turns into a long running ‘conversation’ about the relation between policy, social science and climate change. These notes summarise some of the issues discussed at an informal meeting between members of the BSA climate change study group and DECC (Adam Cooper, Matt Lipson and others) held in October 2012.


Article Prize – Winners Announced
The Climate Change study group is delighted to announce the winners of the 2012 BSA climate change study group article prize.

In August we asked group members to nominate what they thought was the best article addressing any aspect of the sociology of climate change that had been published in a peer-reviewed journal between 2010 and 2012.


Articles put forward for the prize were judged by a panel including John Urry, Catherine Butler, Milena Buchs and Maya Gislason. The panel, which was impressed with the standard of all the entries, decided to award the prize to:


Runners up in joint second place were:

We are planning a celebratory prize giving event early in the new year – further details to follow.  Thanks to everyone who entered, and to our selection panel.


Report from Social dimensions of climate change – a unique book launch and discussion event
To celebrate its first anniversary, the BSA Climate Change Study Group recently held a unique book launch event at the British Library Conference Centre. Organised by Dr Chris Shaw (Sussex University), the event invited the authors of three recent books on the social dimensions of climate change to present and discuss their central themes. The authors were Professor Gordon Walker (Lancaster University) who discussed his book 'Environmental Justice: Concepts, Evidence and Politics' (Routledge, 2011); Professor John Urry (Lancaster University) who discussed his book 'Climate Change and Society' (Polity Press, 2011) and Professor Mike Hulme (University of East Anglia) who discussed his book 'Why we disagree about climate change' (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Read the report summarising the event.

Report from Climate Change, Consumption and Daily Life: The Role of the State Seminar
The BSA Climate Change Study Group recently ran a seminar on 'Climate Change, Consumption and Daily Life: The Role of the State' jointly organised by Dr Catherine Butler (Cardiff University), Dr Tom Roberts (Kent University) and Dr Carly Mclachlan (University of Manchester and hosted by the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester. Read the report summarising the key points from the day.


Reports from the Sustainable Practices Research Group Summer School
The BSA climate change study group supported three PhD students, Rebecca Collins, Javier Lloveras and Janine Morley, allowing them to participate in the Sustainable Practices Research Group Summer School held in September 2011.  In exchange we asked them to report on their experience.  The following reports draw attention to themes and issues of interest to other members of the BSA Climate Change Study group.

Annual Report

The Climate Change Study Group Annual Report is now available.

Join the Group

To join the group, please contact Elizabeth Shove.

Past Events

25-26 June and 15-16 September 2014

'Practices, the Built Environment and Sustainability' (PBES) Network Events

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK


The purpose of these two events was to bring together a community of early career researchers with an interest in theories of practice and the built environment, who were keen to move away from the 'ABC' and technological deterministic mentality that dominates building-related studies. The PBES network was thus launched through two summer events.


The June event brought the network members together for the first time and included sessions on: Low energy transitions; Governing thermal comfort; Time in practice; Professional practices; Practice-oriented design; Methods for researching practices; Theoretical synergies and points of conflict; and Interventions in practice. In particular, this event provided them with the opportunity to bundle around common points of interest, which in turn provided the foundations for collaborations on various Thinking Note topics. The network members were given the challenging task of delivering 3-page Thinking Notes, which succinctly tackled potential (usually conceptual) future developments and/or ‘sticking points’ in the PBES field. The September event provided the network with an opportunity to present and more deeply reflect on the content of the Thinking Notes and, in particular, where their initial thinking on these topics may eventually take them. Acting as discussants for these Thinking Note presentations were Elizabeth Shove, Tom Hargreaves, and Dan Welch.


The Thinking Note Collection that came out from the two events can be found here.


18 April 2013
Energy, climate and society:  Insights from early-career researchers
University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Cutting-edge social science can make a vital contribution to policy on energy and climate change. This event, sponsored by the BSA Climate Change Study Group, will promote knowledge sharing between researchers and the policy community on the social dimensions of these urgent issues.

Delegates will have the opportunity to hear new researchers present the latest findings on topics related to energy and climate, such as: social networks and communities; the diffusion and adoption of innovations; public understanding and participation; future scenarios and the politics of uncertainty; environmental narratives and discourses; and attitudes, behaviours and practices around sustainability. Responses will be provided by key members of the policy community, including Matt Lipson from DECC and David Fell, founder-director of think-tank Brook Lyndhurst. All delegates will have the opportunity to share their insights, ideas and questions in an open discussion.

The event will be of particular interest to those in the policy sector, as well as to researchers at any career-stage. Early-career researchers and postgraduates may especially benefit from the chance to build networks and engage with the policy community.


14 March 2013
Writing excellent articles on climate change: workshop and award ceremony
BSA Meeting Rooms, Imperial Wharf, London, UK

This event provided an opportunity for participants to learn about writing excellent social scientific articles on climate change. We invited the winners of the BSA Climate Change Study Group’s 2012 article prize to contribute to an informal workshop on the practicalities and challenges of writing about climate change. The workshop focussed on the process of producing published articles: giving participants a chance to learn about how really good articles come to be written and to discuss some of the problems and pitfalls along the way. This event was followed by an award ceremony in which Sarah Hards, David Uzzell/Nora Rathzel, Gill Seyfang/Alex Haxeltine and Brigitte Nerlich spoke briefly about their winning entries.


26 October 2012
BSA Climate change study group: informal discussion with DECC
No 3. Whitehall Place, Department of Energy and Climate Change, London, UK


16 January 2012
BSA Climate Change Study Group: Social dimensions of climate change – a unique book launch and discussion event - Report
British Library, London, UK


23 November 2011
BSA Climate Change Study Group one-day Seminar: Climate Change, Consumption and Daily Life: The Role of the State - Report
Manchester University (North Campus), UK
Download the Programme.


The climate change study group hosted an open stream at the BSA Annual Conference on 6-8th April 2011.  Find out more>>


17 January 2011
BSA Climate Change Study Group - Launch Event
The British Library Conference Centre, London, UK


The launch event was a great success.  Presentations and a report on the day's activities are available below.


Elizabeth Shove

Department of Sociology

Lancaster University

Send an email.


Tom Hargreaves (Treasurer)

School of Environmental Sciences

University of East Anglia

Send an email.


Catherine Butler

University of Exeter

Send an email.


Maya Gislason

University of Sussex

Send an email.


Candice Howarth

Anglia Ruskin University

Send an email.


Jessica Paddock

Cardiff University

Send an email.


Thomas Roberts

Department of Sociology

University of Surrey

Send an email.


Melanie Rohse

University of Birmingham

Send an email.


Chris Shaw

Oxford University

Send an email.


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