Dr Carolyn Petersen


Associate Research Fellow

Carolyn is currently working with Oliver James on a 4-country ESRC-funded project entitled the Structure and Organisation of Government (SOG-PRO). This aims to investigate and develop innovative ways to describe and understand organisational dynamics at central government level.

She previously worked with Oliver James (2013-14) on the EU-funded research programme 'Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future' (http://www.cocops.eu/), a public management research consortium consisting of 11 universities in 10 countries, investigating blame attribution / blame shifting as a result of contracting out of public services, using survey experiment methodology.

Carolyn holds a PhD in the Social Sciences from the University of Edinburgh, which focused on citizenship and civil society struggles over livelihoods and adult educational access in coastal communities in South Africa. Prior to joining Exeter University she carried out research for Plymouth University, DFID and UNESCO, and taught in the Politics department at Newcastle University. She has also worked in the voluntary sector in the UK (social care; community development and community renewable energy in Scotland).

Her current active research interests are in the areas of citizenship, public services, participation and the voluntary sector in the UK.

She has also developed strong inter-disciplinary research interests including in rural livelihoods and co-management and the commons in natural resource governance; and in sustainability and community renewable energy (UK). In 2014-15 she was also involved in designing visitor management surveys for nature sites for Footprint Ecology.

Recent publications

James, O., S. Jilke, C. Petersen and S. Van de Walle. (forthcoming 2016). Citizens’ Blame of Politicians for Public Service Failure: Experimental Evidence about Blame Reduction through Delegation and Contracting. Public Administration Review [advanced online access Nov2015]. doi: 10.1111/puar.12471

Gray, C., R. Turner, C. Sutton, C. Petersen, S. Stevens, J. Swain, B. Esmond, C. Schofield and D. Thackeray. (2015). Research methods teaching in vocational environments: developing critical engagement with knowledge? Journal of Vocational Education and Training 67(3): 274-293. doi: 10.1080/13636820.2015.1050443.