Speaking Nels

Nels Paulson

B.A., M.A., PhD
Social Science

Office: T-315 Tainter Hall
Phone: 715/232-5304
Email: paulsonne@uwstout.edu


PhD. Sociology
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

M.A. Sociology
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

B.A. History; Education
Concordia College
Moorhead, MN

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interest

My research generally addresses global civil society and the environment. More specifically, I study the ways in which international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may work with other stakeholders to protect the planet in a more equitable, efficient, and effective manner. Of particular interest are contradictions that exist in how civil society actors attempt to improve people's livelihoods and our ecosystems, as well as how these may or may not be resolved. Click on the projects below for more information.

Research Projects:

>> NGOS, Hunting, and Conservation

This research drove my dissertation, and in it I explored the role of international NGOs in shaping trophy hunting as a tool for conservation. I was interested in how INGOs work to influence hunting management strategies in different contexts, how that varies from one INGO to another, and the potential for different stakeholders to work with those INGOs to establish, sustain, or expand more effective and equitable hunting management systems.

Paulson, N. 2012. "The place of hunters in global conservation advocacy." Conservation and Society 10/1: 53-62


>> Civil Society and other Environmental Issues

In addition, I research the role of civil society in other conceptions. Religion is a particularly fascinating source of civility at many scales. In a recent research project I worked with Cecilia Menjívar to explore how religion shapes civil society's affect on environmental problems, particularly in the context of disasters.

Also, I have researched and continue to be interested in the access potential for locals, and especially indigenous groups, in global conservation decision-making processes that are typically facilitated by INGOs and IGOs like IUCN.

>> Phosphorus and Farmers

Similar to the global civil society research, I am interested in very locally constituted opportunities for disparate stakeholders to coordinate and collaborate in creating more sustainable communities. In rural Wisconsin, one of the main substantive and theoretical challenges is phosphorus mitigation. Phosphorus pollution is a tremendous social and environmental problem, and its primary source in West Central Wisconsin is non-point source agricultural run-off. This means that decisions farmers make to keep phosphorus from running off their land are important to understand, and my current research explores the constraints on their lives in mitigating phosphorus run-off and the social networks they have, specifically among governmental, corporate and civil society actors, that might affect their efforts at mitigation.

Recently I received an NSF grant to establish a Research Experience for Undergraduates site to study this issue. Information on that REU site can be found here: http://www.uwstout.edu/lakes/.

Courses Taught

  • Introductory Sociology
  • Social Theory
  • Sociology of Altruism
  • Mechanisms of Governance
  • Environmental Sociology/Political Ecology
  • Research Methods (Qualitative and Quantitative)
  • Globalization and Social Change