Dr. Kate Burningham


Kate Burningham is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology of the Environment; a joint appointment between the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES) at the University of Surrey.

Her research interests focus on the social construction of environmental problems, public environmental knowledge and environmental inequalities.


Projects include work for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the environmental perspectives of disadvantaged groups. With Dr Jane Fielding and Dr. Diana Thrush she been involved in projects for the Environment Agency researching vulnerability to flooding and public responses to flood warnings in the UK, and contributed to another major report for the Agency on Addressing Environmental Inequalities. Other recent projects include work for the Environment Agency exploring the meaning of environmental citizenship and for the ESRC investigating chemical corporations' understandings of, access to and use of lay environmental knowledge. In 2006 she began work funded under TSEC with colleagues at four other universities which involves a multi-disciplinary investigation of public engagement with renewable energy technologies - www.manchester.ac.uk/sed/research/beyond_nimbyism/

Selected Publications

Burningham, K. , Barnett, J. , Carr, A., Clift, R., & Wehrmeyer, W. (2007) 'Industrial constructions of publics and public knowledge; A qualitative investigation of practice in the UK chemicals industry' Public Understanding of Science Vol 16 (1) p23-43

Fielding, J., & Burningham, K. (2005) 'Environmental inequality and flood hazard' Local Environment , Vol. 10, No. 4, 1-17, August 2005.

Burningham, K. & Thrush, D. (2004). 'Pollution Concerns in Context: A comparison of the risks associated with living close to a road and a chemical factory' Journal of Risk Res earch 7(2): 213-232.

Burningham, K & O'Brien, M. (2003). 'Global Environmental Values and Local Contexts of Action' in Robertson, R & White, K. (2003) Globalization: Critical Concepts in Sociology Vol 5. Routledge

Burningham, K. & Thrush, D. (2003). 'Experiencing Environmental Inequality: The Everyday Concerns Of Disadvantaged Groups' Housing Studies 18(4): 517-536

Burningham, K & Thrush, D (2001). Rainforests are a long way from here: The environmental concerns of disadvantaged groups York : York Publishing Services Ltd.

Burningham, K. (2000). Using the Language of NIMBY: A topic for Res earch not an activity for res earchers. LocalEnvironment 5(1): 55-67

Burningham, K. & Cooper, G. (1999). 'Being Constructive: Social Constructionism and the Environment' Sociology 33(2): 297-316

Burningham, K. (1998). 'A Noisy Road or Noisy Residents?: A Demonstration of the Utility of Social Constructionism for Analysing Environmental Problems' The Sociological Review 46(3): 536-563