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Caer Smyth

Research student, School of Law and Politics

I am interested in the theories underpinning our legal and political system and the limits they place on our ability to advocate for environmental justice. My research project firstly entails a theoretical analysis of the idea of rational argument, employing new materialist thought, and secondly, an empirical ethnographic study of groups engaged in participatory environmental governance.

These two strands of research will be led by the following research questions:

  • Do participants in these settings ‘perform’ rational behaviour? If so, how?
  • Is there a dominant ‘rational’ way of behaving in these settings?
  • If there is a prevalent ‘rational’ behaviour, does it exclude/ privilege certain voices?
  • Are there hierarchies of knowledge in these settings? If so, what are they? Where do they stem from and how are they perpetuated?

In addition to and at points overlapping with my doctoral research project, I am interested in the following areas: Environmental justice; Ecological justice; Food sovereignty; Human rights; Non-human rights; Food policy; Small-scale sustainable farming; Expertise; Rationality; Public participation; Procedural rights.