Lunch bag seminar series - Sustainability research at LUBS

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The climate crisis: public perceptions and reasoning

About this Event

Many colleagues at LUBS are passionate about what research can contribute to greening the economy, stop climate change and help implementing the sustainability developmental goals in economy and society. With this lunch bag series, organised by the Network on Work, Labour and Climate Change led by Professor Vera Trappmann, we want to give you an insight into colleagues’ research and use the opportunity to have some social time while working from home. Please spend your lunch time with us, bring your tea and sandwich, or if you prefer doing a walk in your lunch break, why not take your iPad with you 😉 and engage with colleagues about environmental challenges and business.

Also see: Green Research at LUBS: https://business.leeds.ac.uk/dir-record/research-projects/1705/sustainability-and-green-research

Speakers Information

Sarah Irwin is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds and Director of the Centre for Research on Families, the Life Course and Generations (FLaG).

For this lunchtime seminar she will talk about her current research into public perceptions, values and the climate crisis. Whilst climate crisis relevant research is a new departure for me it links to my longstanding interests in values and perceptions, subjective social inequalities, family life and generational relationships. In the presentation Sarah discuss some early analysis of data gathered from a current research project.

The climate crisis: public perceptions and reasoning

Understanding public perceptions is crucial for an adequate social science of the climate crisis, its societal impacts and prospects for meaningful intervention. Influential perspectives from psychological and the social sciences point to paradoxes in the form of a value-action gap (where people do not act on their expressed concerns about climate change), or in the form of a pattern of social denial (where people put beliefs about impending disaster ‘out of mind’ in pursuing their everyday lives and longer term plans). Theories of practice offer a profound critique, switching the analytic lens away from individual cognition and onto the carbon intensive economic, social, institutional and cultural arrangements through which people enact their daily lives and which, in turn, they reproduce (Shove 2010, Shove et al 2012). With the focus on these arrangements, public perceptions and how people relate to the practices in which they are embedded are less well researched. They are nevertheless very important for social science explanation and for policy making and are a focus of my research. Sarah describes some preliminary findings from a Leeds based survey into public views and the climate crisis. She will explore responses to open ended questions posing everyday dilemmas. Through these she examines how respondents reflect on embedded practices, relationships and commitments and how these are related to seen-as-meaningful individual, collective and structural responses to the climate crisis.


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