Professor Alison Anderson

Professor Alison Anderson

Professor in Sociology

Plymouth School of Government (Faculty of Business)


Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Community, Culture and Society

Editor-in-Chief of the Routledge journal Environmental Communication 


BA(Hons.) Sociology, University of York, 1986

PhD,University of Greenwich, 1993

Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education,University of Plymouth, 1992


Professional membership

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacture (FRSA)

Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS)

Member of International Association of Mass Communication Research (IAMCR) Environmental Committee

Founding member and on Board of Directors of International Environmental Communication Association 

Member of the British Sociological Association (BSA)

Member of International Sociological Association (ISA) and Research Committee on Sociology of Science and Technology

Member of European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)

Member of European Sociological Association Research Group on Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (SoRU)

Roles on external bodies

2014-  Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Communication, official journal of the International Environmental Communication Association

Member of International Association of Mass Communication Research (IAMCR) Environmental Committee

1996-2000 Book Review Editor for Sociology, journal of the British Sociological Association.

2006-2010 Editorial Board Member of Sociological Research Online. 

2008-2011 Associate Board member of Sociology.

2011-2013 Editorial Board Member of Sociology.

2009- 2013 Editorial Board Member of Environmental Communication

2009- present Associate Editor, International Journal of Technoethics

2011- Member of International Advisory Board, International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses.

Teaching interests

Media; Environmental Issues; Health Communication; Social Movements;  Crime Reporting;  Methods

She is currently Module Leader for:

SOC3535 Dissertation and PDP

SOC3542 Media, State and Society

SRE707 Qualitative Approaches in Social Research

MKT710 Brands, Culture & Society

Supervision and Examining

She also supervises undergraduate dissertation students and MPhil, ResM and PhD students. 

External Examiner MSc Science Communication, Imperial College London 2015-

Research interests

Mass Media and Culture; Risk; Genetics; Nanotechnologies; Environmental Sustainability; Marine Pollution; Social Movements; Science Communication

Other research

Crime Reporting, New Media

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

PhD ‘Sustainable Development: The Reflexive Governance of Risk' , Gregory Borne.

PhD 'The Distribution of Attitudinal Attachment to the Male Breadwinner Role: A quantitative study of the Plymouth travel to work area', Suzanne Chamberlain ESRC funded.

PhD 'Managerial Decision Making: A Discursive Analysis', Teri McConville.

PhD 'An Exploration into how Students with Dyslexia identify with their Condition, with Particular Reference to the Tensions which Surround Public and Private Perceptions of Dyslexia’, Deborah Shenton.

PhD 'Metaphors of Health and Disease in Nazi Film Propaganda',  Melanie Wright.

PhD ‘' , Julie Parsons.

PhD 'The Discourses and Lived Experiences of 'Maternal Obesity' and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Pregnancy (T2DM)  Rachel Jarvie, ESRC funded.

ResM  'Faith in Practice: A Mixed Method Study Exploring the Impact of Faith Based Organisations in Delivering Voluntary and Community Sector Activities in Cornwall',  Lois Wild, ESF funded.

External Examiner for:

PhD (2006) ' Contesting Wilderness: Media, Movement and Environmental Conflict in Tasmania', Libby Lester, University of Melbourne, Australia. 

MA (2008) ' A Comparative Analaysis of the Press Coverage of the Whaling Conflict in Australia and Japan', Mitsuru Kudo, University of Tasmania, Australia.

MA (2009) 'Health Risk Communication: Reporting the Avian Influenza in New Zealand Newspapers' Brenda Mackie, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

PhD (2013) 'Global Warming Campaigns: Framing Analysis and Campaign Effectiveness', Teerada Chongkolrattaporn, Macquarie University, Australia.

PhD (2013) 'Travel Journalism:Cosmopolitan Concern and the Place-Branded Environment', Lynn McGaurr, University of Tasmania, Australia.

PhD (2013) 'Modern Science Communication in a Global Context:Perspectives on Nanotechnology from Swedish, Polish and Iranian Press Coverage' Szczepan Jan Lemanczyk, University of Nottingham.

PhD (2015) 'Media Representations of Uncertainty about Climate Change', James Painter, University of Westminster.

Grants & contracts

1999 - awarded a start-up grant of £20,000 by the European Science Foundation (with colleagues in the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy).

March 2004 - Principal Applicant  'Nanotechnology and News Production: Scientists', Journalists' and Editors' Views.' £48,000  ESRC (with Alan Petersen and Stuart Allan). Home page:

September 2006 - Co-investigator with Alan Petersen on British Academy study, 'Striking a Balance? How Scientists and Policymakers Portray the Benefits and Risks of Nanotechnologies as Applied to Medical and Environmental Sustainability'. 

August 2010-August 2011 - Higher Education Academy/JISC Open Educational Resources £250,000 (PI Stephen Gomez). Work Package Three: Qualitative Research Methods.

January 2011 - June 2013 'What is Revalidation in Practice? Shaping the Future Development of Revalidation', Health Foundation grant of £80,000 (with Julian Archer and Sam Regan de Bere).

January 2011 - July 2011 'A Toolkit for Embedding Methods Teaching within a Sociology Fieldtrip' (with Carole Surron). C-SAP, £14,120 (including matched funding).

2015-2016 Beating the Micro-bead  (with Sabine Pahl, Richard Thompson, Kayleigh Wyles and Jane Grose) ISSR Small Collaborative Award

Research groups

  • Centre for Culture, Community and Society (CCCS)
  • Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research (MarCoPol)
  • Centre for Methodological Innovations (CMI)
  • Cultural Industries
  • Health
  • Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research (ISSR)
  • Plymouth Sustainability and Surfing Research Group (PSSRG)
  • Sustainability, Society and Health

Key publications are highlighted

Anderson A 2015 'Reflections on Environmental Communication and the Challenges of a New Research Agenda' ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION-A JOURNAL OF NATURE AND CULTURE 9, (3) 379-383 Author Site , DOI
Anderson AG 2013 'Together we can Save the Arctic': Celebrity Advocacy and the Rio +20 Earth Summit' Celebrity Studies 4, (3) 339-352 , DOI
Anderson A 2011 'Sources, media, and modes of climate change communication: the role of celebrities' WILEY INTERDISCIPLINARY REVIEWS-CLIMATE CHANGE 2, (4) 535-546 Author Site , DOI
Allan S, Anderson A & Petersen A 2010 'Framing risk: nanotechnologies in the news' JOURNAL OF RISK RESEARCH 13, (1) 29-44 Author Site , DOI
Anderson A 2010 'Mediating risk: towards a new research agenda' JOURNAL OF RISK RESEARCH 13, (1) 1-3 Author Site , DOI
Anderson AG & Petersen A 2010 'Shaping the Ethics of an Emergent Field: Scientists' and Policymakers' Representations of Nanotechnologies' International Journal of Technoethics 1, (Special Issue) 32-44 , DOI
Anderson AG 2009 'Media, Politics and Climate Change: Towards a New Research Agenda' Sociology Compass 2, (3) 166-182 , DOI
Petersen A, Anderson A, Allan S & Wilkinson C 2009 'Opening the black box: scientists' views on the role of the news media in the nanotechnology debate' PUBLIC UNDERST SCI 18, (5) 512-530 , DOI
Wilkinson C, Allan S, Anderson A & Petersen A 2007 'From uncertainty to risk?: Scientific and news media portrayals of nanoparticle safety' HEALTH RISK & SOCIETY 9, (2) 145-157 Author Site , DOI
Anderson A 2007 'Nano-hype: The truth behind the nanotechnology buzz' HEALTH RISK & SOCIETY 9, (2) 232-234 Author Site
Petersen A, Anderson A, Wilkinson C & Allan S 2007 'Nanotechnologies, risk and society' HEALTH RISK & SOCIETY 9, (2) 117-124 Author Site , DOI
Ettorre E & Anderson A 2007 'Politics, responsibility and risk: Editorial introduction' SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ONLINE 12, (2) Author Site
Anderson A & Marhadour A 2007 'Slick PR? The media politics of the Prestige oil spill' SCIENCE COMMUNICATION 29, (1) 96-115 Author Site , DOI
Anderson A & Ettorre E 2006 'Families, intimacy and social change: Editorial introduction' SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH ONLINE 11, (2) Author Site
Anderson A 2006 'Spinning the rural agenda: The countryside alliance, fox hunting and social policy' SOCIAL POLICY & ADMINISTRATION 40, (6) 722-738 Author Site , DOI
Anderson A 2005 'Representing the environment' JOURNAL OF RURAL STUDIES 21, (4) 488-488 Author Site , DOI
Petersen A, Anderson A & Allan S 2005 'Science fiction/science fact: medical genetics in news stories' New Genet Soc 24, (3) 337-353 Author Site , DOI
Anderson A, Allan S, Petersen A & Wilkinson C 2005 'The framing of nanotechnologies in the British newspaper press' SCIENCE COMMUNICATION 27, (2) 200-220 , DOI
Anderson A 2003 'Communication, conflict and risk in the 21st century: Critical issues for sociology' SOCIOL RES ONLINE 8, (4)
Ettorre E, Anderson A, David M & Wilkinson I 2002 'Editorial: taking genetics seriously' NEW GENETICS AND SOCIETY 21, (3) 261-266 Author Site , DOI
Anderson A 2002 'In search of the Holy Grail: media discourse and the new human genetics' NEW GENETICS AND SOCIETY 21, (3) 327-337 , DOI
Anderson A 2014 Media, Environment and the Network Society. Palgrave Macmillan Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication
Anderson AG, Petersen A, Wilkinson C & Allan S 2009 Nanotechnology, risk and communication. Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan Author Site
Meethan K; Anderson A; Miles S 2006 Tourism, Consumption and Representation: Narratives of Place and Self. CABI
Anderson A; Meethan K; Miles S 2001 The Changing Consumer: Markets and Meanings. London Routledge
Anderson A 1997 Media, Culture, and the Environment. Routledge and Rutgers University Press, New York
Anderson AG 2015 'News Media' in Backstrand K; Lovbrand E Research Handbook on Climate Governance Cheltenham Edward Elgar
Anderson AG 2015 'News Organisation(s) and the Production of Environmental News' in Hansen A; Cox R The Routledge Handbook of Environment and Communication Abingdon and New York Routledge 176-185
Anderson AG 2015 'The Mediatization of Environmental Conflict in the "Network Society' in Fugl Eskjær M; Hjarvard S; Mortensen M The Dynamics of Mediatized Conflicts New York Peter Lang 31-50
Anderson AG 2014 'Commentary: Rethinking Climate Change Communication' in Boykoff M; Crow D Culture, Politics and Climate Change: How information shapes our common future Abingdon and New York Routledge 221-227
Anderson A & Petersen A 2012 'Nanotechnologies and Trust' in Candlin C; Crichton J Discourses of Trust Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan 237-251

Other academic activities

Consultant for  Australian Federal Government Report on ‘The Social and Economic Impacts of Nanotechnologies: A Review of the Literature’ .

Visiting Professor at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (School of Social Sciences).


ESRC project on Nanotechnology and News Production Home Page: