Professor Claire WatertonProfessor
SOCL 220: Sociology of the Environment
SOCL 221: Climate Change and Society
SOCL527: Ecology, Conservation and Culture
SOCL 931: Methods in Science and Technology Studies
SOCL 521: Theories and Debates in Environment and Culture
SOCL 949: Skills and Dissertation
I am interested in the theory and methodological practices of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and in working with these to understand all sorts of contemporary environmental issues and problems. My approach is to understand 'environmental problems' as particular kinds of orderings in on-going natureculture relations. This helps us to open up questions about these relations, including how they came into being, as well as whether it is possible to create hopeful spaces for re-ordering them.Several aspects of my research dwell on highly intractable and difficult challenges thrown up by modernity – such as the disposal of highly radioactive nuclear wastes, the diffuse pollution and enrichment of large tracts of land and water, the on-going acceleration of biodiversity loss, the creation of large global databases that might somehow afford environmental protection. In the last 20 years or so, I have had the opportunity of thinking through these issues using the theoretical tools of STS with many different scientists, policymakers and NGOs. I am interested in their ways of working, and in exploring whether we can work together in ways that might produce new ways of thinking about, and enacting, natureculture relations.
- The making and politics of scientific knowledge, especially that relating to nature/the environment
- Scientific and other forms of expertise
- The making of classifications
- Public perceptions of environmental issues
- The relationship of scientific knowledge to contempotary environmental policymaking in the UK, Europe and on a global level
- Analysis of deliberative mechanisms and participatory processes
- Performativity of method in STS
- The role of the science studies researcher in studying contemporary science and policymaking
Research projects and funding
NERC Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme (01/02/2012-31/05/2012)“Understanding and Acting in Loweswater: A community approach to catchment management” – informing the Defra/EA Pilot Catchments trialling a catchment based approach.
AHRB 2011 co-PI with Judith Tsouvalis (Department of Sociology, Lancaster) Scoping Study Award:‘Producing and performing 'communities': Looking at the paradox of public participation and de-politicisation’ (1st July 2011-30 September 2011). AHRB’s Connected Communities Programme.
2010 (August-December) Understanding and Acting in Loweswater: Transferable Insights. Defra Funded. PI Claire Waterton Researchers are Ken Bell, Judith Tsouvalis, Lisa Norton, Stephen Maberly, Nigel Watson.
2007-2010 'Understanding and Acting in Loweswater: A Community Approach to Catchment Management' RELU funded. PI Claire Waterton. Researchers are Ken Bell, Judith Tsouvalis, Lisa Norton, Stephen Maberly, Nigel Watson.
- 2006-2009 'Taxonomy at a Crossroads: Science, Publics and Policy in Biodiversity'. ESRC funded. PIs Claire Waterton, Brain Wynne, and Johannes Vogel (NHM))
- ESRC (2005-6) databases, Naturalists and the Global Biodiversity Convention, PI with Rebecca Ellis (PI) and Maria Pacha (IEPPP)
- ESRC (2002-2005) 'Amateurs as Experts: harnessing new networks for biodiversity' (in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London. Other PIs are Robin Grove-White and Johannes Vogel)
- ESRC Science and Society Programme (2005-6) 'Databases, Naturalists and the Global Biodiversity Convention'. Other PI Rebecca Ellis.
- DEFRA, January-July 2004 'Non-Indigenous Species: Exploring their Meanings in Human and Social Terms'. With Jeffrey Waage, Imperial College, London.
- Rural Environment and Land Use Programme (RELU), July- December 2004, 'Understanding Loweswater: a Study to Generate new Understandings of Ecological, Economic and Social Interactions in a Lake District Catchment'. PI with Steve Maberly (PI, CEH, Lancaster), Lisa Norton (CEH, Lancaster) and Jake Morris (IEPPP).
April 2007 - present: Senior Lecturer in Environment and Society, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University
January 2006- April 2007 - Lecturer in Environment and Society, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University
October 2000 - 2006: Lecturer in Environment and Social Policy, Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy (IEPPP), Lancaster University. This lectureship was funded through HEFCE and was intended to create bridges between the natural and the social sciences at Lancaster University and through extended research and policy networks
1992-2000 Researcher within the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Lancaster University
March 1998 - Sept. 2000: Applicant, co-ordinator and researcher of ESRC-funded project 'Scientists Reflect on Science: How Scientists Encounter the Environment-Risk Domain'.
Dec. 1997 - Mar. 1998: Researcher on Forestry Commission-funded project 'The Recreational uses of Woods and Forests in Contemporary Britain'.
Apr. 1994 - Dec. 1997: Researcher on an ESRC-funded project 'Databases and European Environmental Policy', as part of CSEC's 'Science, Culture and the Environment' Programme, Lancaster University.
Oct. 1993 - Apr. 1994: Researcher on WWF-funded project on the European CORINE programme (Co-Ordination of Information on the Environment).
June - Oct. 1993: Researcher on international social science project, 'Social Learning in the Management of Global Environmental Risks', co-ordinated by Professor Bill Clarke at Harvard University, USA.
Oct. 1992 - June 1993: Researcher at CSEC, Lancaster University, on Cumbria County Council-funded project 'Public Perceptions and the Nuclear Industry in West Cumbria'.
Awards and Membership
Claire Watertonreceived a fellowship in 2005 from the US Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) and the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to spend two months at the Centre for Science Technology and Society, Santa Clara University, California, USA. Here she made links with Professor Geoff Bowker, the Director of the Centre, Susan Leigh Starr and other science studies scholars and attended a two week workshop on Values in Design. The purpose of the visit was to carry out theoretical work on contemporary databases which would feed into the ESRC Science in Society project 'Databases, Naturalists and the Global Biodiversity Convention'.
I was elected a member of the Council of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) fromJanuary 2009 - December 2011.
I am currently an elected member of the Council for the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) (2013-2016).
PhD Supervision Interests
I welcome applications from prospective students in all areas of my research, including: Environment-society relations, especially using the theoretical resources of Science and Technology Studies (STS); The making of environmental knowledge; The politics of environmental knowledge; Environmental knowledge, policy and collective politics; STS and the making and politics of databases; Social studies of classifications; Knowledge, practices and biodiversity; Barcoding of Life (BOLI) and shifting cultures of taxonomy;
Indeterminacy and More-Than-Human Bodies: sites of experiment for doing politics differently
Waterton, C.F.J. 1/09/2017 In: Body and Society. 23, 3, p. 102-129. 27 p.
Waterton, C.F.J., Yusoff, K. 1/09/2017 In: Body and Society. 23, 3, 180 p.
Indeterminate Bodies: Introduction
Waterton, C.F.J., Yusoff, K. 09/2017 In: Body and Society. 23, 3, p. 3-22. 20 p.
Care and Policy Practices
Singleton, D.V., Waterton, C.F.J., Gill, N. 2/07/2017
The politics of policy practices
Gill, N., Singleton, D.V., Waterton, C.F.J. 2/07/2017 In: The Sociological Review. 65, 2 Suppl., p. 3-19. 17 p.
Anthropocene - a cautious welcome from environmental sociology?
Lidskog, R., Waterton, C.F.J. 11/2016 In: Environmental Sociology. 2, 4, p. 395-406. 12 p.
Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Sociology
Lidskog, R., Waterton, C.F.J. 2016 In: Environmental Sociology. 2, 4, 5 p.
Conceptual innovation in environmental sociology
Lidskog, R., Waterton, C.F.J. 2016 In: Environmental Sociology. 2, 4
On the Political Nature of Cyanobacteria: intra-active collective politics in Loweswater, the English Lake District
Waterton, C.F.J., Tsouvalis, J.J. 06/2015 In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 33, 3, p. 477-493. 16 p.
Waterton, C., Maberly, S., Norton, L., Tsouvalis, J., Watson, N., Winfield, I. 1/05/2015 In: Catchment and river basin management. London : Earthscan ISBN: 9781849713047.
Committing to place: the potential of open collaborations for trusted environmental governance
Waterton, C.F.J., Maberly, S., Tsouvalis, J., Watson, N.M., Winfield, I., Norton, L. 5/03/2015 In: Plos Biology. 13, 3, 6 p.
Opening up catchment science: an experiment in Loweswater, Cumbria, England
Waterton, C.F.J., Maberly, S.C., Norton, L., Tsouvalis, J.J., Watson, N.M., Winfield, I.J. 2015 In: Catchment and river basin management. London : Routledge ISBN: 9781849713047.
Technocratic and economic ideals in the ecosystem services discourse
Turnout, E., Waterton, C., Neves, K., Buizer, M. 05/2014 In: Conservation Letters. 7, 3, 2 p.
Rethinking biodiversity: from goods and services to “living with”
Turnout, E., Waterton, C., Neves, K., Buizer, M. 06/2013 In: Conservation Letters. 6 , 3, p. 154–161. 8 p.
Barcoding nature: shifting cultures of taxonomy in an age of biodiversity loss
Waterton, C., Ellis, R., Wynne, B. 2013 London : Routledge. 248 p. ISBN: 9780415554794 .
Building 'participation' upon critique: The Loweswater Care Project, Cumbria, UK
Tsouvalis, J., Waterton, C. 10/2012 In: Environmental Modelling and Software. 36, p. 111-121. 12 p.
Intra-actions in Loweswater, Cumbria: new collectives, blue-green algae, and the visualization of invisible presences through sound and science
Tsouvalis, J., Waterton, C., Winfield, I.J. 2012 In: Visuality/ materiality. Farnham : Ashgate Press p. 109-132. 24 p. ISBN: 9781409412229.
A community approach to catchment management
Waterton, C., Maberly, S., Norton, L., Tsouvalis, J., Watson, N., Winfield, I.J. 08/2011 Newcastle upon Tyne : Rural Economy and Land Use Programme. 4 p.
Dealing with environmental challenges collectively: the Loweswater Care Project
Loweswater Care Project 2011 Statusdesign.co.uk. 24 p.
Experimenting with the Archive: STS-ers as Analysts and Co-constructors of Databases and other Archives
Waterton, C. 1/09/2010 In: Science, Technology, and Human Values. 35, 5, p. 645-676. 32 p.
Barcoding nature: strategic naturalization and innovatory practice in the genomic ordering of things
Waterton, C. 05/2010 In: The Sociological Review. 52, Suppl. 1, p. 152-171. 19 p.
Taxonomy, biodiversity and their publics in twenty-first-century DNA barcoding
Ellis, R., Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 2010 In: Public Understanding of Science. 19, 4, p. 497-512. 16 p.
Plant sciences and the public good.
Stengel, K., Taylor, J.E., Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 05/2009 In: Science, Technology, and Human Values. 34, 3, p. 289-312. 24 p.
Integrated catchment management and the WFD: Dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of diffuse pollution from agriculture
Watson, N., Heathwaite, L., Maberly, S., Norton, L., Waterton, C., Tsouvalis, J., Haygarth, P. 2009 In: Tearmann. n/a, 7, p. 195-210. 16 p.
Assembling Nature: The Social and Political Lives of Biodiversity Software.
Ellis, R., Waterton, C., Pacha, M. 2007 Lancaster
Taking a non-linear plunge into the mnemonick deep: review of G. Bowker's 'Memory practices in the sciences' (2005)
Waterton, C. 2007 In: Metascience. 16, 2, 25 p.
Understanding Loweswater: interdisciplinary research in practice
Waterton, C., Norton, L., Morris, J. 07/2006 In: Journal of Agricultural Economics. 57, 2, p. 277-293. 17 p.
Scientists' Conceptions of the Boundaries Between Their Own Research and Policy.
Waterton, C. 1/12/2005 In: Science and Public Policy. 32, 6, p. 435-444. 10 p.
Caught between the cartographic and the ethnographic imagination: the whereabouts of amateurs, professionals and nature in knowing biodiversity.
Ellis, R., Waterton, C. 2005 In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 23, 5, p. 673-693. 21 p.
Nature: Who Knows?
Ellis, R., Grove-White, R., Vogel, J., Waterton, C. 2005 Peterboroug, UK
Environmental Citizenship in the Making: the participation of volunteer naturalists in UK biological recording and biodiversity policy.
Ellis, R., Waterton, C. 04/2004 In: Science and Public Policy. 31, 2, p. 95-101. 7 p.
In the eye of the hurricane: knowledge and social order in the European Environment Agency
Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 2004 In: States of knowledge. London : Routledge p. 87-108. 22 p. ISBN: 9780415333610.
Knowledge and Political Order in the European Environment Agency.
Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 2004 In: States of Knowledge: the co-production of science and social order. London : Routledge p. 87-108. 22 p. ISBN: 041533361X.
Introduction to nature performed.
Szerszynski, B., Heim, W., Waterton, C.A. 2003 In: Nature performed: environment, culture and performance. Oxford : Blackwell p. 1-14. 14 p. ISBN: 1405114649.
Messing about on the river
Waterton, C. 2003 In: Salmo Trutta. 6, p. 56-58. 3 p.
Nature performed: Environment, Culture and Performance.
Szerszynski, B., Heim, W., Waterton, C. 2003 Blackwell. 226 p. ISBN: 9781405114646.
Performing the classification of nature.
Waterton, C.A. 2003 In: Nature performed: environment, culture and performance. Oxford : Blackwell: Sociological Review monograph p. 111-129. 19 p. ISBN: 1405114649.
From Field to Fantasy: Classifying Nature, Constructing Europe.
Waterton, C. 04/2002 In: Social Studies of Science. 32, 2, p. 177-204. 28 p.
Scientists reflect on science : scientists' perspectives on contemporary science and environmental policy.
Waterton, C., Wynne, B.E., Grove-White, R.B., Mansfield, T. 2001 Lancaster : University of Lancaster, 41 p.
The social learning group.
Waterton, C. 2001 In: Learning to manage global environmental risks. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press p. 93-114. 22 p.
The social learning group.
Waterton, C. 2001 In: Learning to manage global environmental risks. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press p. 7-30. 24 p.
Research and the bigger picture
Waterton, C. 2000 In: Science and Public Affairs. p. 22-23. 2 p.
Can focus groups access community views?
Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 1998 In: Developing focus group research. London : Sage p. 127-143. 17 p. ISBN: 9780761955672.
Public information on the environment: the role of the European Environment Agency
Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 1998 In: British environmental policy and Europe. London : Routledge p. 119-137. 19 p. ISBN: 9780415155007.
Woodland sensibilities: recreational use of woods and forests in contemporary Britain -a report for the Forestry Commission
Waterton, C., MacNaghten, P., Grove-White, R., Weldon, S. 1998 Lancaster University: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change..
Building the European Union: science and the cultural dimensions of environmental policy.
Waterton, C., Wynne, B. 09/1996 In: Journal of European Public Policy. 3, 3, p. 421-440. 20 p.
CORINE: darling of conservation?
Waterton, C. 1996 In: Ecos. 16, 2
European environmental information: CORINE and the EEA - but where are the NGOs?
Waterton, C. 1996 In: Ecos. 17, 1
Imagine complexity : The past, present and future potential of complex thinking.
Shackley, S., Wynne, B., Waterton, C. 1996 In: Futures. 28, 3, p. 201-225. 25 p.
CORINE: databases and nature conservation - the new politics of information in the European Union
Waterton, C., Grove-White, R., Wynne, B., Rodwell, J. 1995 Lancaster : Lancaster University: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change..
Public perceptions and the nuclear industry in West Cumbria - report to Cumbria County Council
Waterton, C., Wynne, B., Grove-White, R. 1993 Lancaster University: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change..
FELLOWSHIP: Genomics and knowledge management in innovation systems for LDC agriculture
01/12/2014 → 30/11/2015
Care in and for Policy
01/03/2013 → …
Producing and Performing Communities
01/03/2011 → 15/11/2011
Transferability of Loweswater results and insights to other cases and contexts
01/02/2008 → 31/05/2010
Understanding & Acting within Loweswater: A Community approach to Catchment Management
01/06/2007 → 31/12/2010
Taxonomy at a Crossroads: Science, Policy and Publics in Biodiversity
01/07/2006 → 30/06/2009
Understanding and Acting within Loweswater: A Community Approach to Catchment Management
01/06/2006 → 31/08/2010
Book launch and seminar
Book launch and seminar
EASST / 4S
Participation in conference
EASST / 4S
Participation in conference
Lancaster University Staff Prize: category “Above and Beyond” for Research
Prize (including medals and awards)
- Centre for Science Studies
- Centre for the Study of Environmental Change