Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Peter Thayer Robbins

Dr Peter Thayer Robbins

Peter Robbins

Profile summary

  • Reader, Sociology of Science, Technology & Development
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Polis, Phil, Econ, Dev, Geog
  • Development
  • peter.robbins

Professional biography

Peter Robbins obtained a BS in psychology from Guilford College (USA), followed by an MSc and PhD in sociology from the London School of Economics. After having taught sociology at the University of Reading, and in the Institute of Water & Environment at Cranfield University, Peter joined Development Policy and Practice (DPP) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (INNOGEN) in October 2004.

He is currently leading the Open University Development Studies Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission.

Research interests

Peter’s research interests span three areas. The first concerns transnational corporations’ (TNCs) responses to environmental challenges. In particular he focuses on corporate cultures (traditional and social-environmental), green management styles, environmental regulatory systems (North America, Europe and Asia compared), and social auditing. They are explored in his book Greening the Corporation (London, Earthscan, 2001). Related to, and building on this work, Peter’s second area of interest is in science and technology studies. He has completed three ESRC funded projects. The first (R000223725), from 2001 to 2002, examined the discursive strategies of genetic modification (GM) scientists and the extent to which these convinced or antagonized non-experts. The second (RES000220132), between 2003 and 2004, investigated the GM National Debate, exploring attitudes of publics to GM decision making, especially in relation to the democratization of science and technology. The third (RES-000221626) in 2005 and 2006 investigated the discourse of organic food promotion. Peter’s third area of interest concerns notions of reflexive engineering and development especially in relation to water and sanitation. This is the subject of a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant investigating watershed ecosystems services in Andean and Amazonian Catchments, beginning in late 2010.

Peter has worked in 25 countries across 5 continents, North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. These include Brazil, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Hungary, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Tanzania, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe. He has also supervised PhD research on (former Soviet) Georgia, Ghana, India, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal and Uganda.

Teaching interests

Peter is course team chair of TU874, the development management project, and has also been course team chair of U213, and has been involved in re-writes of both courses. He has been Lead Examiner for Sociology of Development at the University of London External Programme, London School of Economics, since 2000, for which he produced a course guide (University of London Press, 2001). He is external examiner of the University of Birmingham distance MSc in Poverty Reduction and Development Management. He currently supervises four PhD students on topics related to the discourse and politics of the life sciences.

Publications

Mapping Engineering & Development Research Excellence in the UK: An Analysis of REF2014 Impact Case Studies (2017)
Robbins, Peter T.; Wield, David and Wilson, Gordon
Journal of International Development, 29(1) (pp. 89-105)
Development Engineering Meets Development Studies (2017)
Robbins, Peter; Watkins, Andrew; Wield, David and Wilson, Gordon
Third World Quarterly, 38(10) (pp. 2187-2207)
Reflexive assessment of practical and holistic sanitation development tools using the rural and peri-urban case of Mexico (2011-03)
Tiberghien, J. E.; Robbins, P. T. and Tyrrel, S. F.
Journal of Environmental Management, 92(3) (pp. 457-471)
Privatisation and corporate governance in emerging economies: What went wrong with Aguas Argentinas S.A.? (2010)
Porporator, Marcela and Robbins, Peter
International Journal of Economics and Business Research, 2(3-4) (pp. 187-209)
Partnerships and sustainability in the tea industry: a critical analysis of dynamics between smallholders and estates in Tanzania (2010)
Robbins, Peter T.
Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 34(8) (pp. 862-877)
Below the radar: What does innovation in emerging economies have to offer other low-income economies? (2009)
Kaplinsky, Raphael; Chataway, Jo; Hanlin, Rebecca; Clark, Norman; Kale, Dinar; Muraguri, Lois; Papaioannou, Theo; Robbins, Peter and Wamae, Watu
International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, 8(3) (pp. 177-197)
Life Sciences Innovation in Central and Eastern Europe: Conceptual Frameworks and Contributions (2008)
Huzair, Farah and Robbins, Peter
Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2(2)
Innovation in Central and Eastern Europe: An Editorial (2008)
Robbins, Peter and Huzair, Farah
Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology, 2(2)
The reflexive engineer: perceptions of integrated development (2007-01)
Robbins, Peter T.
Journal of International Development, 19(1) (pp. 99-110)
Engineering and development: interrogating concepts and practices (2007-01)
Robbins, Peter T. and Crow, Ben
Journal of International Development, 19(1) (pp. 75-82)
'Words of Mass Destruction': British coverage of the Genetically Modified food debate, expert and non-expert reactions (2006-01)
Cook, Guy; Robbins, Peter T. and Pieri, Elisa
Public Understanding of Science, 15(1) (pp. 5-29)
Global Visions and Globalizing Corporations: An Analysis of Images and Texts from Fortune Global 500 Companies (2004-05-31)
Robbins, Peter
Sociological Research Online, 9(2)
'The scientists think and the public feels': expert perceptions of the discourse of GM food (2004)
Cook, Guy; Robbins, Peter and Pieri, Elisa
Discourse and Society, 15(4) (pp. 433-449)
Transnational corporations and the discourse of water privatization (2003-11-06)
Robbins, Peter T.
Journal of International Development, 15(8) (pp. 1073-1082)
Global Capitalism and Major Corporations from the Third World (2002-02-01)
Sklair, Leslie and Robbins, Peter T.
Third World Quarterly, 23(1) (pp. 81-100)
No One Shall Be Held in Slavery or Servitude: A critical analysis of international slavery conventions (2001)
Bales, Kevin and Robbins, Peter T.
Human Rights Review, 2(2) (pp. 18-45)
Greening the corporation: management strategy and the environmental challenge (2001-06)
Robbins, Peter Thayer
ISBN : 1853837725 | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London, UK
Final remarks (2011-09)
Robbins, Peter and Huzair, Farah
In: Robbins, Peter and Huzair, Farah eds. Exploring Central and Eastern Europe's Biotechnology Landscape. The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology (pp. 201-220)
ISBN : 978-90-481-9783-5 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht
Human life science and agricultural biotechnology in transition: an introduction (2011-09)
Huzair, Farah and Robbins, Peter
In: Robbins, Peter and Huzair, Farah eds. Exploring Central and Eastern Europe's Biotechnology Landscape. The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology (pp. 1-11)
ISBN : 978-90-481-9783-5 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht
Exploring participation in science, technology, and innovation: tissue culture bananas in Kenya (2009)
Chataway, Joanna; Robbins, Peter and Smith, James
In: Wilson, Gordon; Furniss, Pamela and Kimbowa, Richard eds. Environment, Development, and Sustainability: Perspectives and cases from around the world (pp. 194-202)
ISBN : 9780199560646 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford, UK
GM scientists and the politics of the risk society (2004)
Robbins, Peter T.; Pieri, Elisa and Cook, Guy
In: Haugestad, Anne K. and Wulfhorst, J.D. eds. Future as fairness: ecological justice and global citizenship. At the interface/Probing the boundaries (10) (pp. 85-104)
ISBN : 9042011092 | Publisher : Rodopi | Published : Amsterdam, Netherlands
Exploring Central And Eastern Europe's Biotechnology Landscape (2011-09-01)
Robbins, Peter and Huzair, Farah eds.
The International Library of Ethics Law and Technology
ISBN : 978-90-481-9783-5 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Dordrecht
Contextualizing the global development and innovation challenge (2009-06-22)
Robbins, Peter
In : Innovation Systems for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Livelihoods Development in SADC Countries (22-25 June 2009, Namibia)
The genesis of synthetic biology: Innovation, interdisciplinarity and the IGEM student competition (2009)
Robbins, Peter
In : American Sociological Association Annual Meeting (8-11 August 2009, San Francisco, CA)
Regulating agricultural biotechnologies in the context of pblic attitudes (2009)
Robbins, Peter
In : RCUK Summer School on Governance and Regulation of Emerging Biotechnologies (1-12 June 2009, Beijing)
Genome engineering futures and the role of the Synthetic Biologist (2008)
Robbins, Peter; Calvert, Jane and Frow, Emma
In : Synthetic Biology 4.0 (10-12 Oct 2008, Hong Kong)
Below the radar: What does innovation in the asian driver economies have to offer other low income economies (2009)
Clark, Norman; Chataway, Joanna; Hanlin, Rebecca; Kale, Dinar; Kaplinsky, Raphael; Muraguri, Lois; Papaioannou, Theo; Robbins, Peter and Wamae, Watu
Economic and Social Research Council

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome