How can we build a political consensus for sustainability that is inclusive and fair? How do research and practice move beyond the divisive nature of ‘post-truth’ populism?
Analysis of voting in the EU referendum has already revealed the role that poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities played in the vote for Brexit. In the wake of the vote and the international rise of pro-nationalist populism, we ask – what are the hopes and aspirations which are implicit in a populist vote in socio-economically deprived areas? And what implications do populist politics have for sustainable futures?
The discussion was part of the 2017 Nexus conference and was facilitated by Kate Burningham. Kate is leading a piece of work on “understanding Brexit through a local lens” which draws in particular on research we have been doing in Stoke-on-Trent – the so-called Brexit capital of the UK, where 69% of those who voted chose ‘leave’. Our broader research is on people’s understandings of the good life in communities which are ‘left behind’ and the way these are negotiated, particularly in turbulent times.
Fanny Broholm | Fanny Broholm is a political advisor and project manager at the Danish Parliament. She guides the development of the national triple bottom line framework for The Alternative (the Danish green party). This year she will be running for the Copenhagen City Council.
Kate Burningham | Kate Burningham is a Deputy Director of CUSP, and Reader in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Surrey. She has over 20 years experience of conducting research focusing on understanding people’s perspectives on and experiences of environmental and sustainability issues.
Phil Catney | Phil Catney is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Keele University. He is the convener of the Centre for Research on Environmental Action and Thought (CREATe) and the Keele lead for research in CUSP. He has led two ESRC projects on urban regeneration.
Will Davies | Will Davies is Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre at Goldsmiths, where his research investigates the history of economics, neoliberalism and the sociology of elites. He is author of The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (2014) and The Happiness Industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing (2015). He is leading the research strand on ‘Meanings and Moral Framings of the Good Life‘ in CUSP.
Joan Walley | Joan Walley was elected Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North at the 1987 general election, representing the constituency for twenty-eight years before stepping down in 2015. In that time, she was shadow spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and then for Transport. Throughout her time in office, Joan championed issues such as climate change, sustainable transport, alternative energy and responsible government procurement. Joan is now Chair of the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy.