Politics and Government (Politegieth ha Governans)

Managing flood risks and uncertainties in Cornwall

Dr Nick Kirsop-Taylor and Professor David Benson. Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.

Key findings:

  • We don’t know enough about how communities perceive the risks and uncertainties around climate-induced flooding.
  • We conducted in-depth qualitative research in a Cornish community to better understand this.
  • Community members perceived that flooding was increasing, and with it perceptions of risk to both people and capital assets.
  • Also an eroding sense of legitimacy in state agencies and institutions to support communities that flood.
  • This was precipitating an invigorated sense of community reciprocity networks based on social capital and risk perceptions.

» Read more about this project

Preaching to the converted? Who attended the Camborne, Cornwall Corbyn rally in August 2017?

Clare Saunders, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.

Key findings:

  • Camborne, Cornwall, Corbyn rally supporters were disproportionately female (59%) and highly educated (62% have a university degree or higher). Half were in the baby boomer generation (aged 53-71). The most common occupations were socio-cultural professionals (42.9%), managers (15.6%) and service workers (15.3%). 41% had public sector jobs.
  • Rally participants were very supportive of Corbyn and the 2017 Labour Party manifesto (apart from the HS2 high speed rail link). The majority were new (47.0%) or non- (30.0) members.
  • Many were active in at least some party activities, but non-members were disproportionately engaged in lower intensity activities and high intensity activity was mostly engaged in by new members.
  • Only 27 of those surveyed at the rally were not already Labour voters, suggesting that ‘preaching to the converted’ might not be enough to take a swing seat from the Conservative Party.
  • The data, and Labour’s failure to win the seat in the 2019 election suggest that Labour should advertise its rallies earlier and open their invitations up to a broader audience in order to convert swing voters.

» Read more about this project

Growing local councils in Cornwall

Jane Wills, Geography at the University of Exeter, Cornwall

Key findings:

  • Cornwall’s commitment to devolution came into its own with austerity and has contributed to the growth and development of a number of town and parish councils in the region.
  • Cornwall was able to do this because of the relationships that the council had already been starting to build with town and parish councils.
  • Many of the town and parish councils that took part in the research are very interested in expanding their roles.
  • Having such increased capacity means that the role of parish councillor carries more weight than it might have previously.

» Read more about this project

Climate Strikers in Cornwall: Evidence from a protest survey and media analysis

Clare Saunders, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall (in collaboration with Brian Doherty, Keele; and academics in 11 other cities across Europe)

Key findings:

  • Greta Thunberg has been inspirational to Truro-based global climate strikers.
  • The majority of Truro-based climate strikers are aged over 20, and therefore are not actually skipping school but rather showing solidarity.
  • Women and the highly educated outnumber men and the less well educated.
  • Participants are relative novices to protests (even if they do engage in pro-environmental behaviours), who engaged with the strike in order to pressure politicians and express their views.
  • Despite being motivated to pressure politicians, the strikers have little faith in governments (or corporations) to solve climate change and they generally lack trust in political institutions.
  • The local media has not been particularly supportive of the Truro climate strikes and tends to overlook the genuine motivations of the majority of participants and over play conflictual elements.

» Read more about this project

Towards a Participatory Representative Democracy? UK Parish Councils and Community Engagement

Joanie Willett and Joe Cruxon, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.

Key findings:

  • Town and parish councils have the potential to be a really important way for people to be able to shape their communities, and are a primary access point of democracy.
  • Although people know that they exist, unfortunately many people don’t have a very good perception of them, and don’t necessarily feel that they reflect their interests.
  • To counter this, Cornwall’s parish councils need to make themselves more accessible to a much wider audience. New technologies such as community mobile phone applications might be one way to do this.

» Read more about this project

Regional Development, Distinctiveness, and the Growth of Identity in Cornish Politics

Joanie Willett and John Tredinnick-Rowe, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.

Key findings:

  • Despite the fears that globalisation would remove the distinctiveness between different regions, regional identities are getting stronger in many parts of the world.
  • Cornish identity has also been getting stronger and more visible in recent decades, and has become a key underpinning factor in many different aspects of Cornish politics.
  • One of the reasons why this has happened is because there is a tight inter-relationship between identities, regionalism, and economic development. 

» Read more about this project

Fast Fashion and the Global Climate Emergency: Changing How We Think About Clothing and Developing a Sensibility for Sustainability

Professor Clare Saunders and Dr Joanie Willett, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.

Key findings:

  • The fashion industry is more polluting than aviation and shipping combined, so we need to change our behaviours with regards to clothing. We ran a series of workshops in Cornwall to see what happens when people learn how to make, mend and modify clothing, starting with the raw materials
  • The fabric and the garments that we wear are precious and time-consuming to make! Even if we treat them as if they are disposable.
  • Learning about clothes in a practical, hands on way in a non-judgemental, supportive space helped people to develop new pro-environmental norms that became supported by the group.
  • High street retailers might offer opportunities for regular workshops to mend and modify garments purchased in-store. ns why this has happened is because there is a tight inter-relationship between identities, regionalism, and economic development. 

» Read more about this project