Call for candidates for PhD position in Environmental responsibility and sustainable development

The University of Stavanger invites applicants for a PhD Fellowship in Environmental responsibility and sustainable development at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of media- and social sciences. The appointment is for three years with research duties exclusively, or four years with both research and 25% compulsory duties. The hired candidate will be admitted to the PhD program in Social Science. we especially welcome projects investigating discursive dimensions through any form of discourse analysis.

Application deadline is set to the 8th of June, 2022.

See full advertisment, requirements and information regarding application at:


Research topic

Policies directed towards sustainability, climate change, and environmental issues are controversial. Environmental policies have been challenged and met with resistance from different groups in society. These conflicts play out through political discourses, discourses that can be linked to various identities, relations, and arguments that encourage – or resist – transitions towards sustainability, whether it concerns onshore wind power, toll roads, interconnectors, oil policy or other policies directed towards sustainable development. The research project raises the question how local resistance in a Scandinavian context and in various settings challenge perceptions of sustainability transitions, and how interpretations of global challenges result in different implications for the local community.

The relationship between the global, regional and local has proven central in contemporary populist and nationalist mobilisations for and against sustainability transitions. Different interpretations of what sustainability transitions entail explain parts of this. But there are populist factions who reject that climate and environment constitute real challenges. At the same time, we have seen the emergence of so-called green populism with the potential to mobilise broad support for sustainability transitions connecting the interrelated climate and biodiversity crises (e.g., Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion).

While the research design, methods of data gathering and analysis may be chosen by the applicant, we especially welcome projects investigating discursive dimensions through any form of discourse analysis. With a point of departure in the field sketched above, the research project will focus on one or more of the following subtopics:

  • Political frontiers in sustainability politics: How do various parties, movements, and figures challenge perceptions of sustainability transitions? To what extent are political frontiers drawn and redrawn? What are the implications of this for sustainable transitions?
  • Discursive strategies and policy processes: Which discursive strategies are used by whom, when and where to impact on transition politics, sustainable development, and environmental responsibilities?
  • Local resistance to global solutions: To what extent are perceptions of sustainability transitions and environmental responsibilities challenged by local resistance, and to what extent can this resistance still be seen as a contribution to sustainability transitions?
  • Climate change and/or sustainable development discourses: To what extent are apocalyptic and utopian narratives used in the battles for defining sustainability transitions? How can apocalyptic narratives thrive alongside utopian ones? Which discourses are most prominent; whose discourses are they; and how do they relate to sustainable development?