Profile image of Peter Ferguson

Dr Peter Ferguson



Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Arts and Education


School of Hum & Social Science


Melbourne Burwood Campus



Peter Ferguson has been a lecturer in Politics and Policy Studies (PPS) at Deakin University since 2015, and is currently the PPS Discipline Convenor. Previously, he was a lecturer in environmental politics at the University of Melbourne, from where he obtained his PhD in political science in 2014. Peter also holds a Bachelor of Planning and Design (Architecture), a Graduate Certificate in Arts (Political Science) and a Master of International Politics, all from the University of Melbourne, and a Graduate Certificate of Higher Education and Learning from Deakin University.

Read more on Peter's profile

Research interests

Peter is a discourse analyst and critical theorist, whose research focusses on the political barriers to moving toward a socially just and ecologically sustainable states system and global economy.

This was the focus of his 2018 book Post-growth Politics: A Critical Theoretical and Policy Framework for Decarbonisation (Springer, London), which uses a critical political economy approach to develop an historically and politically grounded set of strategies for states to move toward a post-growth, decarbonised global economy. In Post-growth Politics, Peter argues that significant decarbonisation can only be achieved if conventional growth-based economies are replaced by an alternative post-growth economy, in which sustainable biophysical thresholds are not breached, the social and ecological costs of economic activity do not exceed its benefits, and the commitment of governments to economic growth is replaced by objectives such as societal well-being and environmental protection. However, rather than proposing an idealised and politically naïve model of socioecological transformation, the proposed post-growth policy framework is highly cognisant of the geopolitical and international economic pressures facing states and demonstrates how these can be managed in the transition toward a post-growth economy.

Peter has also published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals on environmental politics, ecological security and green political economy. His most recent article, entitled ‘Discourses of resilience in the climate security debate,’ was in published in 2019 in Global Environmental Politics (vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 104-126), and seeks to make sense of the multifarious ways the language of resilience is deployed in the climate change debate to articulate notions of security, insecurity, vulnerability, responsibility and ultimately power.
In 2015, Peter was a co-author of a report from the Centre for Policy Development (The Longest Conflict: Australia's Climate Security Challenge), which outlined the serious risks climate change poses to Australia’s national security and the human security of vulnerable people in our region.

Teaching interests

Peter teaches introductory politics and environmental politics at the undergraduate level, and research methods at the honours level. He is interested in supervising students at the honours, masters and/or doctoral level in any area of environmental and climate change politics and policy and some areas of political and international relations theory.

Units taught

AIP107 Introduction to Politics

AIP245 Environmental Politics

AIX493 Honours Research Design


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Transitional Support for Former Members of Parliament: Benchmarks for 'Professional Parliaments'

Peter Ferguson, Amy Nethery, Zim Nwokora

(2023), pp. 1-24, Parliamentary Affairs, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal article

From sustainable development to resilience? (Dis)continuities in climate and development policy governance discourse

P Ferguson, L Wollersheim

(2022), pp. 1-11, Sustainable Development, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Politics as a transitory vocation: a case study of the post-parliamentary challenges experienced by former Victorian MPs

A Nethery, Z Nwokora, P Ferguson, M Clarke

(2022), Vol. 57, pp. 403-419, Australian Journal of Political Science, C1

journal article

Approaches to Climate Resilience: Mapping the Main Discourses

P Ferguson, L Wollersheim, M Lowe

(2021), Vol. 2, pp. 1555-1579, The Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies, Cham, Switzerland, B1

book chapter

Transitioning to Life after Parliament

Amy Nethery, Peter Ferguson, Zim Nwokora, Matthew Clarke

(2021), Geelong, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

Recommendation for Restructuring the Separation Payment

Peter Ferguson, Zim Nwokora, Amy Nethery, Matthew Clarke

(2021), Melbourne, Vic., A6

research report/technical paper

The World Bank's resilience discourse: Reactive environmental norm diffusion and the crisis of global climate governance

Peter Ferguson, Linda Wollersheim

(2020), pp. 160-177, Rethinking Multilateralism in Foreign Aid, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Discourses of resilience in the climate security debate

Peter Ferguson

(2019), Vol. 19, pp. 104-126, Global environmental politics, Cambridge, Ma., C1

journal article

Post-growth politics: a critical theoretical and policy framework for decarbonisation

P Ferguson

(2018), Cham, Switzerland, A1


Liberalism and economic growth: a theoretical exploration

P Ferguson

(2016), Vol. 25, pp. 593-619, Environmental values, Winwick, Eng., C1

journal article

Productivity growth as a barrier to a sustainability transition

P Ferguson

(2016), Vol. 20, pp. 86-88, Environmental innovation and societal transitions, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

The politics of productivity growth in Australia

P Ferguson

(2016), Vol. 51, pp. 17-33, Australian Journal of Political Science, C1

journal article

The green economy agenda: business as usual or transformational discourse?

P Ferguson

(2015), Vol. 24, pp. 17-37, Environmental politics, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

The longest conflict : Australia's climate security challenge

R Sturrock, P Ferguson

(2015), Sydney, N.SW., A6-1

research report/technical paper

Prospects for a post-growth liberal society

P Ferguson

(2014), pp. 1-23, Proceedings of the 2014 Australian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Sydney, E1-1


Post-growth policy instruments

P Ferguson

(2013), Vol. 7, pp. 405-421, International journal of green economics, Olney, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Anti-environmentalism and the Australian culture war

P Ferguson

(2009), Vol. 33, pp. 289-304, Journal of Australian studies, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Transitioning to Life After Parliament.

Prof Matthew Clarke, A/Prof Amy Nethery, A/Prof Zim Nwokora, Dr Peter Ferguson

Parliament of Victoria

  • 2021: $63,000
  • 2020: $20,000

Industry and Other Funding

Review of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct.

A/Prof Amy Nethery, Dr Peter Ferguson, A/Prof Zim Nwokora

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

  • 2024: $9,759
  • 2023: $9,720

Overseeing the Overseers.

A/Prof Zim Nwokora, Dr Peter Ferguson, A/Prof Amy Nethery

Legislative Leadership and Governance Group

  • 2024: $9,545


Associate Supervisor

Rani Silvia

Thesis entitled: The Social Effects of Language Use in Padang, West Sumatra: A Study of Minang, Indonesian and English

Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences