Introduction to environmental communication - Society, social interaction and communicative skills
Information from the course leader
Important: Please visit this page regularly for updates and more information before the course starts.
Canvas page published!
We have now published the Canvas page of the course. If you have an SLU IT account, you should be able to access it through the Canvas tap in this page. You should have also recieved a notification inviting to join the page in your SLU email.
If you don´t an SLU IT account or email, check below on how to activate it. You can get help on activating the account on Tuesday when we meet.
Important: Access to the Canvas course page does not mean you are registered to the course. You need to be present during the roll call on Tuesday in order to be registered.
You will be registered for the course on the first course day after you respond to the roll call. It is thus very important that you attend this session in person. Because this is the first course of the programme you cannot register to it on Ladok on your own.
Note that students of the ECM MSc programme are expected to attend a separate introduction/registration session on Monday the 28th of August.
Bring your laptop on Tuesday
If possible bring your laptop to the course start session on Tuesday. Together we will explore the content of the Canvas page in order for you to get familiar with it. Alternatively you can use the Canvas app on your phone (see below for more information on Canvas)
Welcome to the Environmental Communication introduction course! We look forward to meeting you all on Tuesday 29th of August when the course starts. We will meet in room Framtiden in the MVM Building (Lennart Hjelms väg 9, 756 51 Uppsala see map here) at 9.00 sharp. In the messages below you will find important information. Please read carefully and note that changes may occur once the course begins. This course page will be used only before the course starts. After we will only use the CANVAS platform. We will intruduce you to Canvas on the first session so if possible bring your laptop. Alternatively you can use the Canvas app on your phone (see below for more information on Canvas)
For questions or comments about the course please contact email@example.com.
We look forward to meeting you all!
Course Schedule, attendance and mandatory sessions
The course schedule can now be found in the "Schedule" link in this page. Note that changes may occur once the course starts.
Most of the activities of the course take place on campus. Only a few are online via Zoom (see details in schedule). On campus sessions cannot be attended via Zoom. You are experected to attend all sessions of the course. However there are a few mandaroty sessions connected to group work and assigments. The dates for these mandatory sessions are September 14, 15, 18,19 and 22, as well as October 12,13, 16 and 17. It is important that you plan ahead and make sure that you will attend these sessions. Missing a session will require compensatory assignments. Missing more that one session can imply not meeting the requirements for passing the course.
We will use one Zoom Link for all online course activities. The zoom link will be provided at the start of the course.
In the tab Literature List below you will find the literature list of the course. This list comprises required readings for each course week. A detailed list including suplementary readings will be provided at the start of the course. Note that small changes in the literature list may occur. All reading will occur during allocated times in the course. All literature will be available in the course CANVAS page once the course starts. The course does not have a main course book that you need to buy.
Activating your SLU IT-Student account and accessing course CANVAS page.
CANVAS is the online course platform where you will find all course materials. To get access to Canvas (as well all other SLU´s digital tools including Zoom´s Pro Plan) you need to first activate your SLU IT-student account and get an SLU email. You can do this online from mid-August. The instructions on how to activate the IT account and on how to get started with SLU´s digital tools can be found in the Checklist for new students.
Once you activate the IT account you will get access to CANVAS platform (see details here). Right now we are setting up the course Canvas page. Once the page is published you will be able to see the course in the Canvas home page. Our goal is to publish the page latest on the 25th of August. You will get detailed information on how to use CANVAS on the first day of the course. Still, we recommend that you try to familiarize yourself with Canvas (including the phone app for students) before the course starts. We also recommend that you upload a picture of yourself to your profile.
Late arrival to Sweden
We understand that some of you might have delays with your travel to Sweden. But the 11th of September (two weeks after the course starts) is the last day for you to arrive in Sweden and be able to register for the course.
Important: If you know that you will arrive late and will be able to do so before the 11th of September please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before the course starts. If it won't be possible for you to arrive on time and you want to save your place in the course or ECM programme for next year, you may apply for deferment of studies (see details here)
The course evaluation is now closed
Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.
Additional course evaluations for MX0115
Academic year 2022/2023
2022-08-29 - 2022-10-31
Academic year 2021/2022
2021-08-30 - 2021-11-01
Academic year 2020/2021
2020-08-31 - 2020-11-01
Academic year 2019/2020
2019-09-02 - 2019-10-31
Academic year 2018/2019
2018-09-03 - 2018-11-11
Academic year 2017/2018
2017-08-28 - 2017-11-05
Academic year 2016/2017
2016-08-29 - 2016-11-06
Syllabus and other information
MX0115 Introduction to environmental communication - Society, social interaction and communicative skills, 15.0 CreditsIntroduktionskurs till miljökommunikation-Samhälle , socialt samspel och kommunikativa färdigheter
Education cycleMaster’s level
|Report project work
Advanced study in the main fieldSecond cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Master’s level (A1N)
The grade requirements within the course grading system are set out in specific criteria. These criteria must be available by the course start at the latest.
Prior knowledgeKnowledge equivalent to English 6 from upper secondary school.
Equivalent to 180 credits and specialized studies comprising 90 credits within one of the following subjects/disciplinary domains: natural sciences, technology or social sciences.
The aim of the course is to develop an understanding of environmental communication as a social process which is simultaneously dependent of, and affecting, society, and to develop basic skills in facilitating constructive dialogue in small groups with relevance for natural resource management. Both macro and micro sociological theories are needed in order to understand environmental communication and its’ relevance in society and natural resource management.
After the course is finished the student should be able to:
Describe theoretical approaches to understanding the relation between people and the environment.
Discuss the role of communication in the development and resolution of environmental challenges.
Describe methods for facilitating constructive dialogue.
Reflect on their own experience of communication situations.
This course introduces students to sociological, social psychological and epistemological theories and concepts, among others to the theory of symbolic interactionism, which is used to understand human action in natural resource management. It also gives opportunities to develop practical skills in facilitating constructive dialogue in small groups.
Social and epistemological theories are presented in lectures and literature, and the students are in exercises facilitated to apply these theories in reflection and analysis of ongoing social processes, own experience and in case studies. The pedagogical idea of the course is pending between 1) observation of concrete environmental communication relevant situations, including both narrated case studies and own, immediate experience, which will generate a demand for theory, 2) presentation of theory, 3) analysis and interpretation of concrete cases through applying social science theories to the situation, 4) considering normative aspects of the situation (what could be changed and how to change), including structural changes as well as changes of individual action and thinking. Consequently there is a relation between lectures, literature and exercises. The students also carry out a small project connected to a situation/problem of relevance for environmental communication.
Grading formThe grade requirements within the course grading system are set out in specific criteria. These criteria must be available by the course start at the latest.
Formats and requirements for examination
Report on project work
To pass the course it is compulsory to:
Participate in the project work
Participate in facilitation work-shops.
If a student has failed an examination, the examiner has the right to issue supplementary assignments. This applies if it is possible and there are grounds to do so.
The examiner can provide an adapted assessment to students entitled to study support for students with disabilities following a decision by the university. Examiners may also issue an adapted examination or provide an alternative way for the students to take the exam.
If this syllabus is withdrawn, SLU may introduce transitional provisions for examining students admitted based on this syllabus and who have not yet passed the course.
For the assessment of an independent project (degree project), the examiner may also allow a student to add supplemental information after the deadline for submission. Read more in the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.
The right to participate in teaching and/or supervision only applies for the course instance the student was admitted to and registered on.
If there are special reasons, students are entitled to participate in components with compulsory attendance when the course is given again. Read more in the Education Planning and Administration Handbook.
Department of Urban and Rural Development
Note: This list comprises required readings for each course week. A detailed list including suplementary readings will be provided at the start of the course. Note that small changes in the literature list may occur.
Course Week 1
Harrington, A. (2005). Modern Social Theory – An Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford
Introduction: What is social theory, pp. 1-14
Chapter 10: Structure and Agency, pp. 215-232
Marsh, D., & Furlong, P. (2010). A Skin Not a Sweater: Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science. In D. Marsh, & G. Stoker (Eds.), Theory and Methods in Political Science, 3 ed., pp. 184-211. Palgrave Macmillan.
Moon, K. and D. Blackman (2014). "A guide to understanding social science research for natural scientists." Conservation Biology 28(5), pp. 1167-1177.
Course Week 2
Pezzullo, P., Cox, R. (2018). Environmental communication and the public sphere. 5th edition. Sage publications: Washington DC.
Chapter 1: Defining Environmental Communication
Milstein, T., (2009). Environmental communication theories. Encyclopedia of communication theory, 2, pp. 345-349.
MISTRA EC (2019). MISTRA Environmental Communication: reframing communication for sustainability, Program Plan. Retrieved from: https://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/subw/mistraec/about/mistra-environmental-communication-programme-plan-for-year-3-final-complete-2021.pdf
Section 2: Scientific value of the programme
Course Week 3
Joas and Knoebl (2009). Interpretive approaches (1). Symbolic interactionism. In Social theory Cambridge University Press
Buijs, A., Hovardas, T., Castro, P., Devine-Wright, P., Figari, H., Fischer, A., Mouro, C., Selge, S. (2012): Understanding people's ideas on natural resource management: research on social representations of nature and the environment. Society and Natural Resources 25, pp. 1167–1181.
MacGregor, S., (2017). Gender and environment: An introduction. In S. MacGregor (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment. (Routledge International Handbooks). Routledge.
Only pages 1-6
Hathaway, J.R., (2020). Climate Change, the Intersectional Imperative, and the Opportunity of the Green New Deal. Environmental Communication 14, 13–22.
Course Week 7-8
Innes, J. and Booher, D. (2016). Collaborative rationality as a strategy for working with wicked problems. Landscape and Urban Planning, 154**, **pp. 8-10.
Reed, M. S. (2008). Stakeholder participation for environmental management: A literature review. Biological Conservation, 141, pp. 2417-2431.
Brulle, R. J. (2010). From Environmental Campaigns to Advancing the Public Dialogue: Environmental Communication for Civic Engagement, Environmental Communication, 4(1), pp. 82-98
Sprain, L., Over, B.V., & Morgan, E.L. (2016). Divergent meanings of community.
Westin, M., Hallgren, L., Montgomerie, E. (2023). Between authority and argumentation: facilitators’ use of power in collaborative governance. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.
Westin, M. (2019) Rethinking power in participatory planning: towards reflective practice. Dissertation. SLU, Uppsala.