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Research Profile

Ms Renee Lertzman 

Position:PhD Student
School:Social Sciences


Renee Lertzman is a PhD Research student in the School of Social Sciences, and is a funded as a Fellow of the Biodiversity Project, a communications organisation in the United States. She has a Master’s in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked in the not-for-profit internet sector for several years in the United States. Prior to coming to Cardiff Renee was working as a communications consultant and freelance journalist in New York and San Francisco. Recent consultancy clients include the British Medical Journal and the World Health Organisation. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Research Interests

  • The psychosocial dimensions of environmental degradation;
  • Issues of affect and unconscious processes in relation to environmental awareness;
  • The role of the arts and alternative expressions of environmental concern;
  • Issues of agency, emotion and environmental identity;
  • Guilt, reparation and environmental restoration.
  • Psychoanalytic social science research;
  • Psychosocial qualitative methods;
  • Psychoanalytic studies of space and geography.

PhD Topic/ Area

"The Myth of Apathy": Psychosocial Dimensions of Environmental Degradation

This PhD uses a qualitative, psychosocial methodology to explore the affective issues of anxiety, concern and engagement with environmental issues. The fieldwork is based in the Great Lakes basin of the United States, and focuses on both how issues are perceived and understood in a particular community, as well as an analysis of how the issues are communicated (mediated) in the region. The method employs in-depth interviews alongside media analysis and ethnography. The project attempts to bring together critical psychology with environmental studies, towards a ‘critical environmental psychology’.


Professor Valerie Walkerdine