Maria Toft

Maria Toft

PhD fellow

My research focuses primarily on how collective environmental behaviour and norms change. In this regard, I am interested in firstly defining ‘environmental behaviour and norms’ and secondly in seeing how communities are able to change these norms among themselves and in society as a whole. In this endeavour, I collaborate with practitioners within the field i.e. ecovillages, food-cooperations and other environmental networks in civil society. From taking a bottom-up perspective on this matter in the first half of the Ph.D. project, I plan to focus on governance related questions to collective environmental behaviour change in the second half of my project. Here I am particularly interested in local governance, democracy and community action and participation. In order to answer my research question, I employ a range of different methodological tools and perspectives: Statistical and quantitative methods, fieldwork and interviews, network analysis and text analyses. Besides, I am also working within different theoretical fields: Political participation, Governance, Social Movements, anthropological perspectives and Political Theory.



The PhD project is part of the interdisciplinary research project funded by the Velux Foundation: Collective Movements and Pathways to a Sustainable Society (COMPASS)

In the PhD project, Maria seeks to answer why and how collective environmental movements transform norms and behavior in Denmark. The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Political Science, the Department of Anthropology and several practitioners within the field, i.e. the Danish Stop Food Waste movement, the National Union of Ecovillages, the Copenhagen Food Co-op, etc. Maria applies a wide range of methods, from quantitative network analyses, national surveys, ethnographical fieldwork to case based interviewing. The theoretical field covers areas within governance, sustainability, climate politics, political behavior, comparative politics, network theory and social movements.

Maria Toft has an academic background in Political Science from the Department of Political Science at University of Copenhagen and from the specialization in ‘International energy’ at Sciences Po in Paris. Thus, her academic knowledge relates the political changes within environment, energy systems and sustainability.

During her time as a PhD fellow, Maria has taugt three master courses. Respectively, the course ’Klimapolitik fra globalt til lokalt niveau’ together with her supervisor Prof. Jens Hoff and lastly the course 'Politics of Environment and Climate'.

The project will be handed in late September 2022.

ID: 172782668