Max Lempriere

The Local Politics of Ecological Modernisation: The Development of Sustainable Construction Policy Amongst English Local Authorities

Supervisor: Dr. Sevasti-Eleni Vezirgiannidou and Professor John Raine

Max Lempriere is undertaking doctoral research into the contribution that local governments make to the development of contemporary national-level environmental policy.  As we transition towards an ecological phase of modernisation it has been theorized that contributions to the nature and direction of policy directed at restructuring the ecological basis of modernity stem from either the nation-state or  from non-state actors. In his work he draws on recent findings from the literature on urban climate governance to argue that local government has, can and should play a more active role in offering these kinds of contributions.

On that basis he developers a novel theoretical framework by drawing on structural, institutional and network theories of political change.  Using the development of sustainable construction policy in England as a case study he applies this framework by enquiring a) into the nature of the contributions made by local government to national policy, b) the barriers and enablers that affected the propensity with which local authorities were willing and/or able to make a contribution and c) whether those contributions helped or hindered the transition towards ecological modernisation. His work uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

He has presented both his theoretical insights and his empirical findings at several internal conferences and colloquia at the University, as well as at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference in Manchester, the Midwest Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago and the Global Sustainability Institute’s 2015 Research Conference in Cambridge. A journal article outlining the theoretical contribution is in progress.


  • BA(Hons) Political Economy (University of Birmingham – First Class)
  • MSc (Merit) Political Science (Stockholm University – Merit)

Research interests

  • Local (environmental) politics
  • The theory of ecological modernisation
  • Network theory
  • Sustainable construction and zero-carbon homes.


Max Lempriere studied for a BA(Hons) in Political Economy at the University of Birmingham between 2006-2009, where he developed a keen interest in international relations – with a particular focus on the politics of terrorist and non-state violence. Following that he undertook an MSc in Political Science at Stockholm University – not before spending a year running a central London pub – where he began to develop an interest in the politics of climate change. Working closely with the Stockholm Resilience Centre he began to read and contribute to the theory of ecological modernisation - a pro-modernist normative agenda that has come to dominate environmental policy making in the Western world.

His Masters Thesis questioned the extent to which ecological modernisation could be used to explain developments in local government recycling programs in the UK, where he began to also develop an interest in the politics of local government. 

Other activities

Max Lempriere is involved in various administrative roles within the department, school and college. He has responsibility for the weekly POLSIS Doctoral Researcher Colloquium, and has been responsible for the organization of both the 6th and 7th School of Government and Society Postgraduate Colloquium in 2014 and 2015 respectively. He has also been involved in the organization of the School’s contribution to the ESRC Festival of Science, held at the Library of Birmingham in 2014 and is the co-convener of a panel on local climate change politics at the 2015 Political Studies Association Annual Conference in Sheffield.

In addition he has been active for several years in departmental, school and college level student representative committees and was a panel member in the 2014 Vice-Chancellor’s Review of the Education School.


Lempriere (forthcoming) ‘The Role of Local Government in Offering Innovative Contributions to Ecological Modernisation’ in progress

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