Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
The Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences (SEGS) group contains a range of researchers, using a range of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods and often taking interdisciplinary and/or participatory perspectives. We seek to address major contemporary social and economic research challenges, such as natural resource governance, ecosystem services valuation, sustainable behaviours, rural community vibrancy, and wellbeing and socioeconomic transitions in rural economies. The activities of the group frequently unite around a particular project and many members work on more than one topic. Work ranges from case study areas in Scotland through EU-wide projects to projects in developing countries such as Africa, Latin America, etc.
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group Leader: Deborah Roberts
Society, institutions and governance
Research conducted under this theme draws on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches from disciplines such as sociology, geography and institutional economics. The aim is to examine how people negotiate access to and control over rural resources. One strand examines governance structures and practices that enable and constrain coordination of management activities. Another focuses on individual, social and institutional adaptation in response to processes such as climate change and extreme events such as flooding. Particular attention is given as to how stakeholder engagement with complex environmental decision making can be enhanced, blending theory with a focus on practical policy application.
Staff involved in this work: Kirsty Blackstock, Katrina Brown, Anja Byg, Margaret Currie, Liz Dinnie, Dominic Duckett, Sharon Flanigan, Emily Hastings, Petra Lackova, Annie McKee, Sue Morris, Joshua Msika, Annabel Pinker, Katrin Prager, Kerry Waylen
PhD students: Gillian Dowds, Andrew Maclaren, Sam Poskitt
Markets, systems and space
The research of this group is characterised by a holistic, or aggregate market level approach. We explore socio-economic systems; the ways that they vary across space and time; are affected by proximity; and interact with the environment. In more concrete terms we aim to understand the location, distribution and spatial organisation of economic activities, and to explain regional disparities in socio-economic performance and wellbeing, both within Scotland and across Europe. Other issues explored by the group are; place-based policies, local economic performance, the role of the primary sector and natural resource use, and impacts of, and responses to, climate change.
The group comprises researchers with a variety of backgrounds and experience, all broadly within the disciplines of Economics and Geography. The methods used include whole economy modelling, with particular expertise in input – output modelling, general equilibrium models, spatial and panel data econometrics, and GIS, together with mixed methods (e.g. of multi-criteria, cost-benefit/cost-effectiveness analyses) to assess policy and environmental (including climate change) impacts and to value ecosystem services.
PhD students: Shane Canavan, Peter Orrell, LechPichnor
Values, choices and behaviour
The aim of this theme is to improve our understanding of the ways people experience, make sense of and value natural resources and the environment using geographical, psychological, social and economic approaches and to explore people’s decision-making and sustainable behaviour, particularly with respect to climate change, energy production and consumption, and use of greenspace. Our work explores values, choices and behaviour of individuals in their social and institutional context. Research under this theme draws mainly on environmental psychology and environmental economic approaches and employs both qualitative and quantitative methods.
PhD students: Rebecca Bell, Stephanie Graf, Ruth Kelly, Charlie Langan, Asanterabi Lowassa, Florence Lwiza, Senna Middelveld, Marie Pagès-Gold, Christopher Schultz, Richard Snape, Audrey Verma, Megan Watson
Research projects and summaries
- Read details of our active projects
- Find information on past projects
- Find information on some of our international research and scientific networking activities
- SEGS research notes
Centres of expertise
Staff from the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group work on projects for Scotland's three centres of expertise.
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