Smyth, Caer

Caer Smyth
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Grassroots Engagement with Climate Justice: the search for new forms of legal advocacy and hearing
Research Supervisor:
Anna Grear, Karen Morrow and Elen Stokes
Supervising school:
Ysgol y Gyfraith a Gwleidyddiaeth,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I am interested in the theories underpinning our legal system, and the limits they place on our ability to protect the environment and to advocate for climate justice.

My research project firstly entails a theoretical enquiry concerning the ontological and epistemological structures underlying law and ‘participatory’ governance, drawing on the insights provided by new materialist thinkers.

The second element of this research project will be to conduct ethnographic research with climate justice organisations engaging with global and local governance structures, including the (1) the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, an international policy leader in climate justice and (2) Incredible Edible Bristol, a local community food sovereignty movement.

The aim of this research is to explore how advocacy practices might enable a wider range of voices, including non-human constituencies, to influence the normative character of the legal process. To what extent do existing law and governance structures exclude? What impact do these theoretical foundations have on the work of these grassroots actors? How might re-conceptualising their theoretical foundations allow for a greater diversity of political action, and a better response to the complexity of contemporary environmental challenges?