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Dr Graeme Hayes - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Dr Graeme Hayes

Reader in Sociology and Policy | Aston University


Dr Hayes focuses on environmental protest movements, climate change, direct action, civil disobedience & criminal trials of activists.




Dr Graeme Hayes Publication Dr Graeme Hayes Publication Dr Graeme Hayes Publication Dr Graeme Hayes Publication Dr Graeme Hayes Publication




Extinction Rebellion - Dr Graeme Hayes on Sky News - 8 Oct 2019




Having taught at the University of Wolverhampton (1992-2001) and Nottingham Trent University (2001-7), Dr Graeme Hayes joined Aston in 2007, becoming Head of Sociology and Policy in 2018. He is Visiting Professor at the Political Science Institute in Lille, where he teaches a class on environmental mobilisations, and an associate member of the Arenes research laboratory.

Graeme's research focuses primarily on social movements, with an emphasis on protest strategies, and developing ideas of activist traditions, and collective memory. He is especially interested in the criminal trials of social movement activists. He is joint Editor of Environmental Politics, and Consulting Editor for Social Movement Studies, for which he was editor in chief from 2010-15.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Social Transformation


Climate Change

Contemporary Social Movements

Direct Action

Accomplishments (1)

Walter Bagehot prize for best dissertation in Government and Public Administration (professional)

2001 Political Studies Association, University of Manchester

Education (2)

Loughborough University of Technology: BA, Modern European Studies 1989

University of Manchester: PhD, Political Opportunity Structures and Environmental Protest in the French Fifth Republic 2001

Affiliations (2)

  • Environmental Politics : Joint Editor
  • Social Movement Studies : Consulting Editor

Media Appearances (3)

Extinction Rebellion were not veteran protesters, new analysis shows

NewScientist  online


Now, Graeme Hayes at Aston University in Birmingham, UK, and his colleagues have found that Extinction Rebellion seems to have succeeded in mobilising new people.

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Extinction Rebellion's activists more likely to be new to protesting, study shows

EurekAlert!  online


Dr Graeme Hayes, from Aston University, said: "Protestors said they did not believe in reliance on companies and the market, governments, or lifestyle changes by individuals to solve the climate crisis. Almost all said they were protesting to raise awareness of the climate emergency, and to pressure politicians to act.

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Greta Thunberg: Why I began the climate protests that are going global

NewScientist  online


Graeme Hayes of Aston University, UK, says that although the country’s children have protested before, such as over the Iraq war, the current wave of climate strikes involves younger children, not just older teenagers.

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Articles (6)

Anti-Abortion Clinic Activism, Civil Inattention and the Problem of Gendered Harassment


In the UK, there is evidence of a recent increase in anti-abortion activism outside clinics. In response, abortion service providers have called for the introduction of ‘buffer’ zones to protect women from ‘harassment’ while accessing abortion services. Drawing on two datasets – extensive ethnographic fieldwork, and a content analysis of clinic client comment forms – we deploy Goffman’s concept of ‘civil inattention’ to further our understanding of the material practice of anti-abortion clinic activism.

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Regimes of austerity

Social Movement Studies

This article discusses the European wave of contention catalysed by the financial market crash of 2008/9 and the subsequent imposition of austerity measures by governments across the continent. It develops two central arguments. First, it argues that we need a clearer and more sharply differentiated understanding of the operation of austerity as a social and political phenomenon than can be accounted for by reading the crisis of austerity as a solely material set of grievances.

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Social Movement Studies, Social Movement Studies, and the Challenges of Parochialism: A Rejoinder to Poulson, Caswell and Gray

Social Movement Studies

In this short rejoinder, I briefly contextualise and discuss the implications of Poulson, Caswell and Gray's article for Social Movement Studies.

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Having Your Day in Court: Judicial Opportunity and Tactical Choice in Anti-GMO Campaigns in France and the United Kingdom

Comparative Political Studies

Investigating the recent direct action campaigns against genetically modified crops in France and the United Kingdom, the authors set out to understand how contrasting judicial systems and cultures affect the way that activists choose to commit ostensibly illegal actions and how they negotiate the trade-offs between effectiveness and public accountability.

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Negotiating Proximity: Expert Testimony and Collective Memory in the Trials of Environmental Activists in France and the United Kingdom

Law & Policy

This article analyzes the role of expert witness testimony in the trials of social movement actors, discussing the trial of the “Kingsnorth Six” in Britain and the trials of activists currently mobilising against airport construction at Notre Dame des Landes in western France. Though the study of expert testimony has so far overwhelmingly concentrated on fact‐finding and admissibility, the cases here reveal the importance of expert testimony not simply in terms of legal argument, but in “moral” or political terms, as it reflects and constitutes movement cognitive praxis.

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Disciplinary Power and Impression Management in the Trials of the Stansted 15


We bring Foucauldian and Goffmanian frameworks into dialogue to show how repressive and disciplinary power operate in the criminal trials of social movement activists. We do so through an ethnographic account of the trials on terrorism-related charges of a group of anti-deportation direct action protesters known as the Stansted 15, complemented by interviews with defendants.

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