Essay on a Case Study
The assignment should be structured in two parts as follows:
A) introduce the case study by outlining the stakeholder’s response; and draw on
one or more of the key themes of the module to explain how the case illustrates
the relationship between the environment and society;
B) evaluate the stakeholder’s response by discussing its strengths and limitations,
and the practical challenges and ethical issues that it may encounter.
Parts A and B should be no more than 1500 words each, and 3000 words combined, and
must draw on academic literature alongside a selection of popular and/or grey literature.
Please see the guidance below for more details. Your case study should be an example of a stakeholder’s practical response to a specific
environmental issue or concern. When picking your case study ask yourself the following
• Who is the stakeholder I will write about in this case study?
• What is the specific environmental concern the stakeholder is responding to in the
• What form of action has the stakeholder taken in responding to this environmental
Your chosen stakeholder could be any one of the following (NB this list is not exhaustive):
• an individual consumer;
• an activist group;
• a social movement;
• a campaigning organisation;
• a think tank;
• an (international) non-governmental organisation;
• an institution;
• a local or national government;
• a business or corporation.
A practical response could be one of the following (again, this is not an exhaustive list):
• a consumer choice or pledge;
• a form of direct action or civil disobedience;
• an environmental campaign;
• a business initiative;
• a corporate strategy;
• a government policy;
• an education programme etc.
It would be a good idea to pick a case study which gives you plenty of published material
(either by the stakeholder, or in the academic or popular literature) to analyse and write
about. Consider choosing a stakeholder that has taken a defined practical response to the
environmental issue you find interesting or concerning. Please bear in mind that writing
about vague, obscure or highly localised case studies for which little material has been
published may make your task more difficult.
Please also bear in mind that the case study you choose should enable you to discuss key
themes and material from the module, and that the assignment will need to draw on the
academic literature (as well as on ‘grey literature’ from policy, media, civil society, etc).
Structuring your case study
There is not one way to write a case study, and we encourage you to be creative in the way
you approach the assignment and to choose a case study you care about. However, the
following guidance should be observed:
The word limit for the assignment is 3,000 words, so do not exceed this amount. Please aim
to balance the assignment with approximately 1,500 words for part A and 1,500 words for
part B. Part A should primarily aim to introduce and describe the case study, and draw on
material from part 1 of the module to comment on the way the relationship between
environment and society is constructed in this context. Part B should focus on evaluating the
stakeholder’s response to the environmental issue in question. It may be that you are able
to introduce some of the themes and discussion from part B (e.g. around practical and
ethical challenges and concerns) in part A if you need to.
The discussion in part A should introduce the case study in relation to (one or more of) the
key themes from the first part of the module. These themes include (but are not limited to):
the construction or framing of environmentalism and environmental issues; the multiple
dimensions of environmental crises; environmental risk; hope and opportunities for social
and environmental transformation; paradigms of value; sustainability; progress;
environmental justice; environmental responsibility. Please use your discussion of these
themes to say how you think ‘nature’, the environment’ and/or ‘environmentalism’ is being
constructed in the context of the case study you have chosen.
Part B should focus on evaluating the stakeholder’s response by discussing its strengths and
limitations, and the practical challenges and ethical issues that it may encounter. These are
the sorts of questions that we have incorporated in seminars throughout part 2 of the
module (they might consider tensions and dilemmas linked to achieving the stated aims in
practice, the effectiveness of the aims/strategy, responsibility, injustice, inequality etc.).
Part B students may also include recommendations about how the stakeholder’s response
could be improved in practice; suggest an alternative approach, and/or; explain how
challenges and/or issues might be negotiated (NB making such practical recommendations
The assessment aims i) understand the social, cultural, economic,
political and ethical dimensions of a range of environmental issues; ii) investigate the
practical problems involved in proposing and enacting just and effective strategies for
addressing environmental issues; iii) consider the political and ethical challenges associated
with responding to environmental issues in practice.