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Doctoral student writing

Dr Ros Hague PhD Studentship: Doing Politics the Environmental Way – How are Environmental Activists Reinventing their Politics?

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Starting: 2019
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / Fully-funded


It is expected that you will submit a detailed research proposal for an empirically-based project as part as part of your application. This research proposal should be a minimum of 1,000 words in length and should not exceed 2,000 words (including reference list and any endnotes/footnotes). You should include a word count at the end of the proposal. You should prepare your research proposal so that it broadly aligns to the following project.

Research context

Recent trends across Europe indicate that people seem less committed to national political systems and mainstream political parties, and are increasingly attracted to issue-based politics, parties and movements (Norris and Inglehart 2019). They also appear to be deeply sceptical of governments and of the political classes (Norris 2011; Hansard Society 2016).  This is particularly evident in Britain, where it has been claimed that citizens are becoming progressively more disillusioned with the practice of UK democratic politics and abstaining from voting in elections (Whiteley 2012; Sloam and Henn 2018).
However, it is claimed by some (Tormey 2015) that this persisting withdrawal of citizens from institutionalized-electoral politics has its parallel in a tendency towards support for, and participation in, new styles of political action that seem to better fit their individualised values and life-styles and which permit the actualization of their political aspirations.  For instance, many people give preference to environmental and “postmaterialist” issues over more traditional economic and social concerns like the performance of the economy and immigration. Indeed, authors such as Norris and Inglehart (2019) and Sloam and Henn (2018) have recently claimed that people are becoming increasingly attracted to environmental politics, and that this reflects the emergence of new cultural cleavages to rival the old postindustrial (materialist-economic) ones. Given the increasingly severe environmental problems today, both local and global, the proposed doctoral research project looks certain to be of continued importance.

Project aims

This project has as its primary aim to explore the increasing attraction of environmental politics to people, in particular:
(i)how and why the agenda of environmental politics appeals to people’s values and issue-concerns, and
(ii)how and why people engage with alternative and non-electoral styles of political participation as they seek to achieve their environmental aspirations.

Research design

This will be an empirically-based research project.  The nature of the project is such that either quantitative or qualitative methods, or a combination of approaches and methods, will be possible. It is expected that the applicant will develop a very detailed research design that is well-matched to the project aim/s.  The research design should carefully outline and justify:
choice of method/s and approach/es;

  • proposed data collection plans;
  • any access issues with respect to participants and data sources as well as how these will be addressed;
  • any particular ethical and/or health and safety issues that may emerge from the project (and how these will be addressed).

The project is not restricted to an examination of British politics, as studies to be conducted of the practice of environmental politics in other countries will be equally welcome.


Norris, P. 2011. Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Norris, P.  and Inglehart, R. 2019. Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hansard Society 2016 ‘Audit of Political Engagement 13: The 2016 Report’, Hansard Society, available at:

Sloam, J. and Henn, M. 2018. Youthquake 2017: The Rise of Young Cosmopolitans in Britain, Palgrave, (free to download at:

Tormey, S. 2015. The End of Representative Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Whiteley, P. 2012. Political Participation in Britain, Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.


Professor Matt Henn

Oliver Harrison

Entry qualifications

Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in politics or a broadly related subject. Entrants with a Lower Second Class grade at first degree must also have a postgraduate Masters Degree at Merit or Commendation.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications close at 11:59 pm (UK time) on Friday 28 June 2019.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Interview details

Interviews will take place between 15-19 July 2019.

Fees and funding

This PhD will be funded from a stipend donated by the family of Dr Ros Hague, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at NTU who died suddenly in November 2017, age 42.

We regret that we are not able to fund international students. Only Home/EU are eligible to apply.

In addition to a fees scholarship, students may also be eligible for living costs at the standard UKRI rate. The final decision about stipend funding will be taken at the selection stage and cannot be guaranteed at this point.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Matt Henn