Environmental Sociology; Transition Studies; Institutional Analysis
Areas of Specialization: Climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation, Environmental equity and justice, Transitions in energy and food systems, Natural resource politics and governance.
Current Research Activities: Advancing Impact Assessment for Canada's Socio-Ecological Systems. Co-Lead Investigators Dr. Debra Davidson and Dr. Ian Stewart (Kings University). Social Sciences and Humanities Partnership Development Grant. Co-funder: Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. Funding: $652,000. 2020-2023. This interdisciplinary and collaborative research initiative includes participation of researchers and partner organizations across Canada. We are focusing on how we can address many of the most challenging issues facing impact assessment processes in Canada, including gender-based analysis, addressing Indigenous sovereignty, integrating multiple forms of knowledge, and emerging climate impacts.
Students will gain a sociological understanding of contemporary Canadian politics in the food and natural resources sectors. Examination of the nature of political organizations and policymaking in Canada; the particular roles played by the state, the public, and certain sectors of civil society, including social movements, industry organizations, labour unions, scientific organizations, and rural and aboriginal peoples. Contemporary case studies may include climate change and energy dependence, genetic engineering in agribusiness, the organic food products movement, mining in the circumpolar north, forestry expansion in the boreal region and cod management in the Atlantic fisheries. Not to be taken if credit received for ENCS 271 or REN R 271.Winter Term 2022
In-depth examination of a select set of current theoretical and empirical areas in the sub-discipline of environmental sociology. Examines the relationships among various environmental and social problems and how such problems and undesirable conditions can be and are being addressed. Prerequisite: R SOC 450.Winter Term 2022
Covers classic and contemporary theories of states and social movements and their application to environmental and ecological issues. Topics include the Environmental State; relationships among state and societal forces; sub-national, national, and international environmental politics; political distinctions among environmental and ecological issues; and the potential for sustainability governance. Prerequisite: consent of Instructor.Winter Term 2022
20160901 - 20200930
Resilient Forests is a large interdisciplinary research project that entails studying the viability of genomics-assisted tree improvement strategies in the forest sector in Alberta. This project includes a social science component led by Dr. Davidson and Dr. Gwendolyn Blue (University of Calgary), that focuses on three research activities: 1. a combination of media analysis and focus groups among diverse publics will be pursued to allow for characterization of the political landscape into which genomics assisted tree breeding would be introduced, in order to identify key priority issues and potential controversies that may emerge; 2. evaluation of the institutional reflexivity of scientific expertise in the forest sciences to allow for cautionary management of new technologies, and effective science-policy communication; 3. assessment of lessons learned among forest practitioners who have adopted similar new technologies in the past.
20170102 - 20181231
There is tremendous potential for building sector-level mitigation capacity by identifying innovative management practices already taking place. Determining the efficacy of such practices, and the organizational factors that facilitate their emergence can inform strategic planning designed to enable sector-wide upscaling of innovative mitigation technologies, enabling more producers to take advantage of carbon credits, and enhance the environmental sustainability of operations. Achieving such goals requires transdisciplinary research in which the social dimensions of agriculture are given equal weight with biophysical and technological dimensions. Here, we focus on climate mitigation in the grain and beef production sectors while maintaining or enhancing economic vitality. Through the use of media analysis, surveys, and interviews, we draw attention to the influence of social and organizational factors on management and farm-level decision making, which is essential to inform strategic planning for efficient adoption of new mitigation technologies.