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School of Law & Government

Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell is a part-time PhD student at the School of Law and Government in DCU. Tom has over 25 years experience working in the Development Education and Third Level Education sectors in Ireland. He has also worked in India with Service Civil International (SCI). He is currently employed as a lecturer with the Department of International Development, Maynooth University, teaching modules at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Courses taught include: Political Economy of Environment and Development; Sustainable Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation; Food, Nutrition and Climate Security.  With interests in political ecology and current discourses around climate change adaptation and resilience, Tom’s research focuses on global and national climate change policy narratives and their consequences for pastoralist livelihoods in the drylands of Ethiopia and Kenya.


MSc in Environmental and Development Education, from South Bank University, London (1998)

National Diploma in Development Studies, from Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Holy Ghost College (1991)

Supervisor: Dr. Niamh Gaynor

Title of Research: 'Climate Change Policy Narratives and Pastoralist Livelihoods in the Horn of Africa: Insights from Ethiopia and Kenya'

Thesis Abstract: 

For decades, dominant dryland narratives of 'desertification' and 'overgrazing' that underpinned conventional pastoral development policies in the Horn of Africa, and the interventions that followed, did little to strengthen pastoralist livelihoods. More recently a number of new narratives – built largely around,  ‘climate resilience', ‘food security’, and the need for 'green economic growth' - are emerging, within the context of concerns about climate change, land use change, and insecurity in the HoA. Both Ethiopia and Kenya have embarked on ambitious green economy and climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, and are investing in renewable energy, ‘climate smart agriculture’, and plans to build resilience of drylands communities in the face of drought and other uncertainties. Using a two country case study approach, and utilizing both content and discourse analysis of relevant national policy documents, as well as extensive interviews with key informants in relevant government ministries, development agencies, and pastoralist organisations, this research explores the discourses and narratives, actors and institutions, and the political-economy context, that connect global and national climate change and green economy policies to pastoralist livelihood outcomes. Research questions include: to what extent are ‘old narratives’ being recycled in current national discourses on drylands land use in the HoA, and how exactly are these narratives being interpreted in terms of decision making at the national level? Who are the ‘winners and losers’ from these policy processes? What are the institutions, actors and networks that connect global climate change narratives to pastoralist outcomes? 

Areas of Interest: International development, Politics in the Horn of Africa, Pastoralist Development, Climate Change policy, Food systems, Social Movements.

Publications and Conference Papers:

June 2015 - Presented a paper on Global Food Systems and Climate Change as part of the 'Meeting the Challenge of Climate Justice: From Evidence to Action' international conference in Maynooth, organised by Trocaire and NUIM

Campbell T. (2014) 'Community Based Natural Resource Management and Political Capital; Lessons from Asia and Africa' paper presented at 'From Informal to Informal Governance; Modes and Transformations of Social Capital in the Caucasus (and beyond). 7-9 June 2014, Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Georgia (paper available on