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Thursday 23 June 2022,  4.00 – 6.00pm (BST)

This webinar will be held on Zoom, to register go here: 


Recognising Steve Rayner’s contributions to social science of weather and climate change: anthropology and beyond


Professor Steve Rayner (1953-2020) was a renowned expert in the social science of global challenges, contributing to myriad academic and policy fields involving science, technology and environment. His self-described ‘undisciplined’ scholarship drew on his training in political anthropology and philosophy, and career spanning academic and policy contexts in universities and in the US National Lab system. Steve was particularly active and prescient in bringing social science to bear on vital debates about climate change, developing Cultural Theory analyses, interdisciplinary collaborations, and ‘observant participation’ to critically explore climate change as a wicked problem requiring inclusive, bottom-up, ‘clumsy’ solutions to account for multiple and often competing values and perceptions of risk. This seminar brings together a panel of scholars who have taken inspiration from Steve’s ideas to inform their own climate-related work in anthropology, science and technology studies, history, and science-policy engagement. The event is an opportunity to reflect on and take forward his intellectual contributions to understanding and responding to the many challenges of climate variability and change, across and beyond anthropology and the academy.

The panellists will be:

Dr Vladimir Jankovic
Reader in History of Science and Atmospheric Humanities at the University of Manchester, UK

Dr Myanna Lahsen
Full Researcher in the Earth System Science Center of the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil; and Associate Professor at Linköping University, Sweden.

Dr Carla Roncoli
Director of the Masters’ in Development Practice and Associated Faculty in the Departments of Environmental Sciences and Anthropology at Emory University, USA

Prof Jack Stilgoe
Professor of Science and Technology Policy at University College London, UK

Dr Sophie Haines, Lecturer in Anthropology of Development, University of Edinburgh, UK

Chaired by:
Dr David Shankland, Director of the Royal Anthropological Institute, UK


The Talks will be followed by time for audience discussion.


A selection of Steve Rayner’s works that will be informing the presentations:

Further reading:

  • Rayner, S & Malone, E. (eds) 1998. Human Choice and Climate Change. Battelle Press. (4 volumes)
  • Rayner, S. 2003. Domesticating Nature: Commentary on the Anthropological Study of Weather and Climate Discourse in Strauss & Orlove (eds) Weather, Climate, Culture. Routledge
  • Rayner. S. & Caine, M. eds. 2014. The Hartwell Approach to Climate Policy. Routledge.
  • Rayner, S. 2016. What might Evans-Pritchard have made of two degrees? Anthropology Today 32 (4)1-2. Read it here.


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