Professor Christopher Rootes

Emeritus Professor of Environmental Politics and Political Sociology
+44 (0)1227 823374


Professor Christopher Rootes studied politics, public administration, history and law at the University of Queensland and graduated with a BA (Hons) in Government, before studying political sociology at Yale and at Oxford.

He first came to Kent to teach Sociology, and since then has taught Environmental Social Science. He has also taught Sociology at the University of New South Wales and Political Science at the University of Melbourne.   

Research interests

Professor Rootes' principal research interests are in environmental movements, green parties, environmental protest, environmental NGOs and the interactions between environmental campaigners and industry, government and governmental agencies, as well as the conditions of social and political order in a climate-changed world. His perspectives are cross-nationally comparative and are currently focused upon citizen action and the formation and implementation of environmental policy in respect of climate change, and on local environmental activism. 

With the aim of promoting interdisciplinary research that transcends departmental boundaries, Professor Rootes founded the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements. 

Professor Rootes’ recent current projects include:  

  • Coordinator of the Transformation of Environmental Activism (TEA) project
    A nine-partner, eight-nation comparative study of the changing character of environmentalism in western Europe, funded by the European Commission (DG Research). This is the largest systematically comparative study of environmental activism ever undertaken. Follow-up work has explored the implications of the rise of the climate change agenda for environmental movements and NGOs.
  • Caught in the Act of Protest: Contextualising Contestation (CCC)
    A partner with Clare Saunders (University of Exeter) in this European Science Foundation project, co-ordinated by Bert Klandermans (VU Amsterdam) and part funded by the ESRC. The project involved the administration of standardised surveys of, and interviews with, participants in 10 to 12 street demonstrations in each of seven countries over a period of four years. See the project website for details.


At undergraduate level, Professor Rootes has most recently taught environmental politics and environmental policy. At postgraduate level, he convened the MA in Political Sociology, the MSc in Environmental Social Science, and several modules in these fields.


Professor Rootes offers research supervision on most aspects of environmental movements and NGOs, green parties and environmental protest.



  • Editor-in-chief and Chair, editorial board Environmental Politics
  • International associate editor, Canadian Journal of Sociology
  • Member of the editorial board of Mobilization: the international journal of research and theory about social movements, protest, and collective behaviour
  • Member of the editorial board Social Movement Studies
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