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Environmental communication and campaigning in the public sphere: the case of air pollution

Project Description

Focusing on the campaigning strategies of prominent environmental pressure group Greenpeace, the project aims to map the wider ecology, dynamics and evolution of public controversy by analysing the case of campaigning around air pollution, a campaign being both spearheaded by Greenpeace UK and part of the organisation’s broader climate change campaign. Investigating this key campaign strand, the project focuses on communication around air pollution in the context of campaigning on the shift from fossil fuels to renewables in the UK and across Europe. The project will (a) enable a comprehensive understanding of a particular case of environmental communication and (b) provide insights into the working of internationally coordinating campaigning, following Greenpeace’s shift from a centralised to a decentralised model of campaigning.

Within the broader objective of investigating the key drivers of public discourse – including the public and strategic communication practices of key stakeholders – the project will map how Greenpeace, as one of the most prominent global environmental non-governmental campaign groups, strategically engages in public communication and action. Benefiting from the research access facilitated by Greenpeace, the research will examine Greenpeace’s campaigning strategy by looking at the intersection of offline, ‘on the ground’ protests and communication/campaigning via traditional news media and newer online media platforms. Of particular interest will be mapping of the way in which Greenpeace engages with, mobilises and negotiates relationships with other stakeholders (conservation groups, industry and political decision makers), both nationally and at a pan-European level.

How to apply

To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Collaborative Studentship application form available at together with two references, a cover letter and a CV. Please email this to Louise Taylor

Project / Funding Enquiries: Informal enquiries about the research or the School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester prior to application can be directed to Anders Hansen at

Closing date for applications Wednesday 6th March 2019.

Funding Notes

The ESRC studentships cover fees and maintenance stipend and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Where necessary, the studentship will fund the completion of the one-year Masters in Social Science Research prior to the three-year PhD project.

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