Yulia Barabanova's Doctoral Program reflections

January 22, 2014

Before joining CEU for the Master's Program in Environmental Sciences and Policy back in 2007, I worked as an international relations officer at Omsk State Pedagogical University, Russia. Despite my linguistic training and work related to international academic exchange, I was always interested in environmental issues. After a brief study visit to CEU in 2006, I decided to change my career path and apply for a master's degree there. This was probably the most crucial decision in my life so far. Having successfully completed a master's degree, I had no second thoughts about joining the PhD Program at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy. The doctoral program offered a good balance between courses and time for independent study, as well as excellent possibilities for engaging in current research projects run at the Department.

The first years of my enrollment in the PhD program were dedicated to developing my research interests and improving my research skills. I enjoyed the freedom of pursing a topic that was interesting to me, while also having the support of my supervisor in narrowing it down and developing it into a research proposal. The availability of various forms of financial support for students whose research interests lie outside Hungary (and within, of course!) was a significant factor in my research path as well.

My dissertation is focused on the analysis of discourse of climate justice networks in the UK. The UK has had a long history of social and environmental activism and is now home to a radical grassroots movement campaigning on climate change. My study examines the discourse of two prominent grassroots networks, Camp for Climate action and Rising Tide, that have campaigned on the issue of climate justice nationally and inspired similar networks internationally (Australia, the USA, Ghana, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland and in other countries). Due to the multi-faceted nature of the grassroots networks in focus, the study is situated on the intersection of several theoretical approaches: the global justice movement, contemporary anarchism and environmental justice approaches. The data for this research was collected through participant observation within the networks, in-depth interviews with activists and complemented by a number of key written documents and online materials produced by the networks. With this research I am hopeful to contribute to the understanding of what climate justice is from the perspective of grassroots movements and what it can do for promoting social changes in the way we deal with climate and other crises.