Joanie Willett

Joanie Willett


Bernd vdB, via Wikimedia Commons.

I'm particularly interested in sustainable communities, regional development and territorial politics.

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Dr Joanie Willett

Lecturer in Environmental Politics


My research explores the relationship between identity and the economy.  I use critical political theory to look at how the economy shapes our identities, and in turn how our identities shape the economy. Recently I have also been working on the link that civic participation and decentralised governance plays in this process.  The majority of my work in this area has been with regards to sustainable communities, regional development, and territorial politics, often in relation to economic development in Cornwall.  I use complexity theory, the new materialisms, art, phenomenologies and some aspects of posthumanist thought to consider these questions, and have recently extended my focus to explore how cultural trends shape attitudes towards the environment and the green economy.  Although firmly based in politics, I have active or previous collaborations with economists, geographers, planners, sociologists, textile designers and artists; and have worked with community groups, policy practitioners and health organisations.  I welcome exploring future collaborations.

I am also a member of the Politics department in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.

You can find out more by watching a two-minute video of me explaining my work.

Research interests

  • Resilient communities
  • Sustainable economic development
  • Political identity
  • Politics of culture
  • Identity and behavioural change
  • Radical political theory
  • Complexity theory

Current projects

  • Peripheralisation: Understanding the relationship between identity and the economy in peripheral regions
  • Civic participation, decentralisation and sustainable communities
  • Art and the politics of community representation 
  • Learning through doing: Understanding sustainable clothing choices


2010 PhD Politics (University of Exeter)
2005 MA Critical Global Studies (University of Exeter)
2004 BSc Combined Social Sciences (University of Plymouth)


2014 Lecturer, University of Exeter
2010-2014 Lecturer (Education and Scholarship), University of Exeter

Contact details

Telephone +44 (0) 1326 253798
Building Environment and Sustainability Institute
Room  01.14
Address University of Exeter 
Penryn Campus
Cornwall TR10 9FE