Large grant for research on collective movements as the basis for a sustainable society – University of Copenhagen

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10 February 2017

Large grant for research on collective movements as the basis for a sustainable society

Associate Professor Quentin Gausset has received 6.2 million DKK from the VELUX Foundation for a research project that will examine communities´ capacity to form the foundation for a sustainable society

Climate change and our unsustainable use of natural resources is an urgent global problem that calls for collective solutions. Limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees requires a comprehensive transformation of the economy and infrastructure, but it also requires changes in the behaviour of individuals and organizations. 

The government and the municipalities in Denmark have launched various initiatives to try to change our behaviour in relation to climate and energy. But these initiatives focus on the individual rather than the community. The research project "Collective movements and the creation of environmental standards: Pathways to the sustainable society" (”Kollektive bevægelser og skabelse af miljønormer: Veje til det bæredygtige samfund”) has received 6.2 million kroner from the Velux Foundation to do research into the community's impact on the individual behaviour. The objectives of the project include creating concrete actions for a sustainable community based transition. The project will identify opportunities for a balanced relationship between the traditional individual focus and a similar focus on community, social norms and society.

"Collective movements and the creation of environmental standards" is an interdisciplinary project. From the Department of Anthropology participate Associate Professor Quentin Gausset, post-doc Simon Westergaard Lex and PhD student Anette Høite Hansen. Furthermore, Professor of Political Science Jens Hoff and PhD student in Political Science Maria Toft will contribute.

Cross-sector aspect is key

A fundamental element of the project is the cooperation with nine Danish environmental organisations. The organizations will be co-facilitators of the research project and one of them, Omstilling NU, will organize 7 so-called Solution Labs.

As part of the 7 Solution Labs sub-projects and various ideas for solutions will be presented and discussed by practitioners from other communities than those participating in the research project: municipal employees, business representatives and CSR employees, journalists and politicians. In this way the project includes several sectors and ensures an interdisciplinary focus, where environmental organizations turn into co-creators of the theoretical product and researchers are integrated into practical solutions.

“Collective movements and the creation of environmental standards: Pathways to the sustainable” society runs until the end of 2020.

The organization 'Omstilling Nu' is one of the nine Danish environmental communities participating in the project.