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Debra J. Davidson

University of Alberta

Based in

North America

Debra J. Davidson is Professor of Environmental Sociology in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta, having received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998. Her key areas of teaching and research include social responses to climate change, and crises and transitions in energy and agri-food systems. Dr. Davidson is President of the Research Committee on Environment and Society in the International Sociological Association, and she was a Lead Author in Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report.

Country(ies) of Specialty

United States Canada

Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics Climate Justice Fossil fuels

How to Connect



Letourneau, Angeline and Davidson, Debra J. 2022. “Destabilizing farmer identities: A necessary but insufficient precursor to agricultural system transition.” Environmental Sociology, 8(4): 459-470.

Davidson, Debra J. 2022. “Climate change sociology: Past contributions and future research needs. PLOS Climate, 1(7): e0000055.Davidson, Debra J. and Maik Kecinski. 2022. “Emotional pathways to climate action.” WIREs Climate Change. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.751

Carrie Karsgaard and Debra J. Davidson, (2021) “Must we wait for youth to speak out before we listen? International youth perspectives and climate change education.” Educational Review, Special Issue: Youth Activism, Climate Change, and Education (2021)

Gwendolyn Blue and Debra J. Davidson, (2020) “Advancing a transformative social contract for the environmental sciences: From public engagement to justice.” Environmental Research Letters 15(11) 5008.

Debra J. Davidson, (2020) “Speech is silver, silence is gold in the fracking zone.” The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Vol. 2, Legun, Katherine, Keller, Julie, Carolan, Michael and Bell, Michael (Eds.), Cambridge University Press.

Emilie Zentner, Maik Kecinski, Angeline Letourneau and Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “Ignoring Indigenous peoples—climate change, oil development, and Indigenous rights clash in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” Climatic Change 155(4): 533-544.

Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “Exnovating for a renewable energy transition.” Nature Energy 4 (April): 254-256.

Debra J. Davidson, Curtis Rollins, Lianne Lefsrud, Sven Anders, Andreas Hamann, (2019) “Just don’t call it climate change: Climate-skeptic farmer adoption of climate mitigative practices.” Environmental Research Letters 14(3): 034015.

Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “Emotion, reflexivity and social change in the era of extreme fossil fuels.” British Journal of Sociology 70(2): 442-462.

Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “The Effort Factor: An adjustment to our understanding of social-ecological metabolism in the era of Peak Oil.” Social Problems 66(1): 69–85.

Debra J. Davidson, Anthony Fisher and Gwendolyn Blue, (2019) “Missed opportunities: The absence of climate change in media coverage of forest fire events in Alberta.” Climatic Change 153(1): 165-179.

Debra J. Davidson, (2018) “Rethinking adaptation: Emotions, evolution, and climate change.” Nature and Culture 13(3): 378-402.

Debra J. Davidson, Edwin Edou, and Barry Robinson, (2018) “Chipping away at democracy: Legislative slippage in Alberta’s energy development zone.” Energy Research and Social Science 46: 303-310.

Debra J. Davidson and Richard C. Stedman, (2018) “Calling forth the change-makers: Reflexivity theory and climate change attitudes and behaviors.” Acta Sociologica 61(1): 79-94.

Debra J. Davidson, (2017) “Evaluating the Effects of Living with Contamination from the Lens of Trauma: A case study of fracking development in Alberta, Canada.” Environmental Sociology 4(2): 196-209.

Debra J. Davidson, (2016) “Gaps in agricultural climate adaptation research.” Nature Climate Change 6: 433-435.

Debra J. Davidson, Jeffrey Andrews and Daniel Pauly, (2014) “The effort factor: Evaluating the increasing marginal impact of resource extraction over time.” Global Environmental Change 25: 63-68.

Debra J. Davidson, (2014) “Marriage on the Rocks: Sociology’s Counsel of our Struggling Energy-Society Relationships” Chapter 10 in The Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change, Dana Fisher, Stewart Lockie and David Sonnenfeld (eds.).

Debra J. Davidson and Jeffrey Andrews (2013) “Not all about consumption.” Science, 339, 15 March: 1286-1287.

Debra J. Davidson, 2012. “Analyzing Social Responses to Climate Change through the Lens of Reflexivity: An In-Depth Look at ‘Climate Change Meta-Reflexives.’” British Journal of Sociology, 63(4): 616-640.


Davidson, Debra J. and Matthias Gross (Editors). 2018. Oxford Handbook of Energy and Society. Oxford University Press.

Magnus Bostrom and Davidson, Debra J. (Editors). 2018. Environment and Society: Concepts and Challenges. Palgrave-MacMillan

Davidson, Debra J. and Michael Gismondi. 2011. Challenging Legitimacy at the Precipice of Energy Calamity. New York: Springer.