Bec Colvin is a social scientist and Lecturer with the Resources, Environment & Development Group at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Bec’s research interest is in how groups of people interact with each other - especially in settings of social and political conflict - with regard to climate and environmental issues. In particular, she studies the role of social-political identity in shaping these interactions. Much of this work has a focus on the dynamics and interplay of formalised processes for including citizens and stakeholders in decision-making and informal processes of interaction in the public sphere.
Bec’s recent research has included: a social identity analysis of the “Stop Adani Convoy”, and what this means for social relations in the context of climate and energy policy; experimental work on how framing land use change as social conflict affects public opinion, and implications for understanding public preferences; the drivers of social-political polarization on climate change, and how this can be avoided in emergent climate policy arenas; the role of social identity in exacerbating community conflict about wind energy development, and lessons for community engagement practice. Current research in progress, but as yet unpublished, includes: analysis of Australian voters’ attitudes toward climate change in the context of the 2019 federal election; local attitudes toward the future of coal in the Hunter Valley, and the role of identity and climate politics in shaping attitudes; processes of identity and social change among Australian farmers who have mobilized on climate change; how ‘following the script’ of our social identity groups on climate change affects social-political polarization and conflict.
At the Crawford School of Public Policy, Bec teaches courses on environmental communication, quantitative social research methods, independent research on climate change, and is Co-Convener of the Master of Climate Change. Prior to joining the Crawford School, Bec was Knowledge Exchange Specialist for the ANU Climate Change Institute and Associate Lecturer for The University of Queensland.
Social & political conflict about climate and environmental issues.
Interactions between identity, values, and ideology, in shaping attitudes toward climate and environmental issues.
Social experiences of energy transition & development, with a focus on wind, coal, and unconventional gas.
Effective communication on climate change and environmental issues.
Community and stakeholder engagement process dynamics.