Robert J. Brulle
Professor of Sociology and Environmental Science, Department of Culture and Communications, Drexel University
PSA Building, #303
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsBrulle’s research focuses on the interactions between civil society, social movements and the natural environment. His signature work, Agency, Democracy, and Nature (2000), studies the social causes of environmental degradation and the political actions necessary to deal with it. He also investigates the political and cultural dynamics of climate change.
SSN Basic Facts, January 2013
SSN Key Findings, March 2012
"Institutionalizing Delay: Foundation Funding and the Creation of U.S. Climate Change Counter-Movement Organizations" Climatic Change (December 2013).
Conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement in the United States, and finds that the overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.
"Human Behavior and Sustainability" (with Joern Fischer, Robert Dyball, Ioan Fazey, Stephen Dovers, Paul R. Ehrlich, Catherine Gross, Carleton Christensen, and Richard J. Borden). Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10, no. 3 (2012): 153-160.
Develops an integrated perspective on the different levels and types of actions necessary to enable the creation of a sustainable society.
"Shifting Public Opinion on Climate Change; An Empirical Assessment of Factors Influencing Concern over Climate Change in the U.S." (with Jason Carmichael and J. Craig Jenkins). Climatic Change (January 2012).
Develops and tests a model of the factors that influence public opinion on climate change in the U.S. over time.
"From Environmental Campaigns to Advancing the Public Dialogue: Environmental Communication for Civic Engagement" Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 4, no. 1 (2010): 82-98.
Critiques existing environmental communications strategies, and lays out an alternative approach that integrates communications efforts into a larger effort to foster social change.
"Environmental Justice: Human Health and Environmental Inequalities" (with David Pellow). Annual Review of Public Health 27 (2006): 103-124.
Provides an overview of the social factors that drive environmental inequality, and how the climate justice movement has developed to address this issue.
Power, Justice and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (with David Pellow) (MIT Press, 2005).
This collection of essays develops a critical environmental justice perspective that seeks to foster reflexivity within the environmental justice movement.
Agency, Democracy, and Nature: U.S. Environmental Movements from a Critical Theory Perspective (MIT Press, 2000).
Analyzes the social causes of environmental degradation and the political actions necessary to deal with it. Develops both a pragmatic and a moral argument for broad-based democratization of society as a prerequisite to achieving ecological sustainability.
Media ContributionsBrulle regularly conducts interviews about his research with print outlets such as USA Today, New York Times, Time Magazine, The New Republic, and The Nation. In addition, he is a frequent source for new media reporting on the environment, appearing in the leading environmental blogs such as DOT Earth, Climate Progress, Huffington Post, and the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. Here is a selection of his media contributions:
Robert J. Brulle quoted on public charities serving as so-called independent think tanks to influence the debate about climate change in Robert O'Harrow Jr., "A Two-Decade Crusade by Conservative Charities Fueled Trump’s Exit from Paris Climate Accord" The Washington Post, September 5, 2017.
Robert J. Brulle quoted on the Pope's encyclical in Alex McKechnie, "Debating the Pope: Social Scientists Engage Pope's Call for Climate Change Dialogue in Top Journal" Drexel Now, September 24, 2015.
Robert J. Brulle's research on social scientists and climate change (with Riley E. Dunlap) discussed in "New Book Argues That Social Sciences are Critical to Climate Conversation: Climate Change is a 'People Problem'," Drexel NOW, August 20, 2015.
Robert J. Brulle's research on the secretive campaign to deny climate change discussed in Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, "The Climate Denial Beast (Speech to the U.S. Senate)," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Speech on the Senate Floor, February 4, 2014.
Robert J. Brulle's research on organizational underpinnings and funding behind the powerful climate change countermovement discussed in Alex McKechnie, "Not Just the Koch Brothers: New Drexel Study Reveals Funders behind the Climate Change Denial Effort," Drexel NOW, December 20, 2013.
Talks and Briefings
"Climate Change and Cultural Inertia," (with Kari Norgaard and Randy Haluza-Delay), Planet Under Pressure Conference, London, UK, March 1, 2012.
"The Cultural Dynamics of Climate Change," Princeton University, February 17, 2011.
"Social Movements and Sustainability," Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 1, 2009.
"U.S. Environmentalism at the Beginning of the 20th Century: Death or Transition?," (with J. Craig Jenkins), Special Session organized by the Environment and Technology Section, Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Philadelphia, PA, August 1, 2005.