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) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


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, forthcoming). 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) 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. Furthermore, many people seem to reject traditional styles of electorally-based politics and are more attracted to localised and less hierarchical styles of action, including for instance volunteering in environmental projects and schemes (Sloam and Henn 2018). 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

The nature of the research is such that either quantitative or qualitative methods, or a combination of approaches, will be possible. It is expected that the applicant will develop a research design that is well-matched to the project aim. 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.

Attributes of the successful candidate

The project is interdisciplinary in nature, with supervisors who have been researching in the field for over 20 years, each with an international reputation for their research.  The successful candidate will be joining an exciting research culture and a community of over 130 doctoral students.  They will be encouraged to present and publish their work at international conferences and in leading journals.


Professor Matt Henn

Entry qualifications

Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in Politics, Sociology, Social Policy or a related discipline. 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 Tuesday 2 April 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 in late April or early-mid May 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.

International applicants are eligible, and encouraged, to apply as well as Home/EU students.

The Dr Ros Hague stipend will fund up to five fees-only studentships. In addition, two of these may also be eligible for living costs at the standard UKRI rate. The final decision about how many studentships there will be – and which ones have full living costs attached – will be taken at the selection stage.

Guidance and support

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

Still need help?

Matt Henn