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Cristina Espinosa


Chair of Sustainability Governance

Espinosa, Cristina

Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography

Tennenbacher Str. 4
D-79106 Freiburg

Telefon: 0761 203 8499
Telefax: 0761 203 3729




Research Interests   |   Professional Experience   |   Education   |   Trainings and Internships   |   Publications 


Research Interests

  • Knowledge Politics and Science and Activism

  • Sustainable Development and "the good life"

  • Discourse analysis and Qualitative Research Methods
  • Ecofeminism
  • Environmental Justice
  • Nature Rights
  • Indigeneity and environmentalism
  • Politics of Natural Resources
  • Regional focus: Latin America


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Professional Experience

Since May 2017:

  • Assistant professor at the chair of Sustainability Governance 

01/2016 - 12/2018:

  • Scientific staff of the project Environmental politics in the 21st
    century - Approaches to manage new challenges, funded by the
    Umweltbundesamt (German environmental agency) 


  • Senior researcher and coordinator of the research cluster "Politics
    of Natural Resources" with a regional emphasis in Latin America at the
    Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute, Freiburg 


  • Researcher at the Institute for Environmental Social Sciences and Geography of the University of Freiburg

01/2008 - 09/2008:

  • Lexus Publishing, Quito, Ecuador (Researcher and Editor of the Book: Espinosa, C. (2010). Historia Económica y Política del Ecuador. Barcelona: Lexus)

09/2007 - 08/2008:

  • Analytica Securities, Quito, Ecuador

07/2004 - 07/2008:

  • Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador (Teacher and Coordinator of the United Nations Club)


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  • PhD Environmental Social Sciences and Geography, University Freiburg
  • Title of the Cumulative Dissertation: "Apart from nature or a part of nature? Discourse analyses of the politics of redefining the relationships between humans and nature".
  • Doctoral Scholarship from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  • Honors: "Summa Cum Laude"
  • Erasmus Prize for the Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University College Freiburg

2008 - 2010

  • MSc Environmental Governance at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
  • Scholarshipholder „Begabten-Förderung“ der Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
  • Scholarshipholder „Wir stiften Zukunft“ der Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg
  • Master thesis topic: „Contesting Dominant Conceptions of Development. Discourse Coalitions and Storylines of Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Project“

2004 - 2008

  • B.A. in International Relations with minors in Socialogy and Latin America Studies at the University San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador („Summa Cum Laude“)


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Trainings and Internships


11/2008 - 12/2010

  • Research assistant and tutor in the MSc „Environmental Governance“ der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

08/2009 - 11/2009

  • Intern at the International Labor Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

01/2006 - 03/2008

Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

03/2007 - 05/2007

Embassy of the United States of America in Ecuador

05/2006 - 08/2006

  • CARE International


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Selected Publications

  • Espinosa, Cristina (2021). “Conocimiento como causa y medio de resistencia a la minería de gran escala: casos heurísticos del Ecuador”. Íconos - Revista de Ciencias Sociales, 69. DOI: 10.17141/iconos.69.2021.4481

  • Espinosa, Cristina (2019) “Interpretive Affinities: The Constitutionalization of Rights of Nature, Pacha Mama, in Ecuador”, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 21:5, 608-622, DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2015.1116379
  • Espinosa, Cristina (2019). “Intelligibility and the intricacies of knowledge and power in transnational activism for the rights of nature”. Environmental Sociology, 5:3, 243-254, DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2018.1564456
  • Richerzhagen, Carmen; Bauer, Steffen; Espinosa, Cristina and Pregernig, Michael (2019). Entwicklungspolitisch sensible Umweltpolitik. Technical Report. Berlin: Umweltbundesamt.

  • Wolff, Franziska; Brohmann, Bettina; Fischer, Corinna; Grießhammer, Rainer; Gsell, Martin; Heyen, Dirk Arne; Jacob, Klaus; Graaf, Lisa; Pregernig, Michael; Espinosa, Cristina; Potthast, Thomas; Meisch, Simon; Kerr, Mathias; Richerzhagen, Carmen; Bauer, Steffen; Brandi, Clara; Büttner, Hannah; Fleischer, Christiane and Dorn, Theresa (2019). Perspektiven für Umweltpolitik: Ansätze zum Umgang mit neuartigen Herausforderungen. Technical Report. Berlin: Umweltbundesamt. (download:

  • Espinosa, Cristina (2018). “Response to “Investigating Ministry Names for Comparative Policy Analysis: Lessons from Energy Governance””, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 20:3, 340-343, DOI: 10.1080/13876988.2018.1466927

  • Espinosa, Cristina und Pregernig Michael (2018). "Möglichkeiten und Grenzen. Narrative in der Umweltpolitik." Politische Ökologie. Die Medien und die Große Transformation, 152: 41-46.

  • Espinosa, Cristina (2017). “Bringing About the Global Movement for the Rights of Nature – Sites and Practices of Intelligibility”. Global Networks. http://doi:10.1111/glob.12158
  • Espinosa, Cristina (2017). “El reconocimiento de los derechos de la naturaleza, Pacha Mama, en Ecuador. Actores y dinámicas discursivas” in Repensar el Desarrollo. Aportes en torno a Laudato si'. Eds: Ana Maria Bonet de Viola, Federico Viola. Santa Fe, Argentina: Grama Ediciones. pp.101-122.

  • Espinosa, Cristina, Michael Pregernig, and Corinna Fischer (2017). Narrative und Diskurse in der Umweltpolitik: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen ihrer strategischen Nutzung. Berlin: Umweltbundesamt. (download:
  • Espinosa, Cristina and Fabricio Rodriguez (2017), “The enforced expansion of extractive frontiers: struggles over power, meaning and knowledge”, Resources and Conflict,
  • Espinosa, Cristina (2014). “The Advocacy of the Previously Inconceivable: A Discourse Analysis of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth at Rio+20”. The Journal of Environment & Development, 23(4), 391-416.           
  • Espinosa, Cristina (2013). “The riddle of leaving the oil in the soil—Ecuador's Yasuní-ITT project from a discourse perspective”. Forest Policy and Economics, 36(0), 27-36.
  • Espinosa, Cristina (2013). “Polinización Cruzada: los Derechos de la Naturaleza en Río+20”. Temas de Análisis del Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental (CEDA), (29), 1-10


For the most up-to-date list of publications, please visit the University of Freiburg Research Data Bank here.


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