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Department of Geography

 

Contested Political Economies

Contested Political Economies

Members of the contested political economies theme are broadly interested in how the traditional foci of political economy - the relationships between economies and markets, institutions of the state and practices of government - are challenged by the scale and complexity of contemporary processes that are highly uneven and profoundly geographical. These processes include re-working citizenship; global urbanization; the changing geopolitics of development and aid; the allocation of risk and the social construction of resilience, precarity, and vulnerability; legal geographies of state building and governance; and the (re)making of markets. A common concern is with understanding how contested political economies relate to forms of justice and injustice.

Our approaches incorporate diverse methodologies and theoretical orientations. Regional specialisations include the United Kingdom and Ireland, Latin America, India, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Arctic. Research projects seek understand the relationships between local transformations and multi-scalar processes, and to unsettle categories and sub-disciplinary boundaries between, for example, political, economic and development geographies.

Themes

Risk, institutions and socioeconomic change

Risk, institutions and socioeconomic change

One core strand of research engages with questions about risk, welfare/social development and public policy across fields as diverse as mortgages, education, catastrophe biopolitics, post-neoliberal social policy, and unfree labour.

Risk, institutions and socioeconomic change

Labour, markets and socioeconomic reproduction: mapping inequalities

The economic is analysed as a field of diverse markets and labour forms, across multiple scales and involving diverse actors, open to issues around social reproduction, and as a field that produces inequalities and injustices.

The politics of citizenship, rights and exclusion

The politics of citizenship, rights and exclusion

The politics of citizenship, rights and exclusion are explored in contexts of profound restructuring of the spatial parameters of states, rights and planning.

Geographies of difference: gender, race, ethnicity, age and class

Geographies of difference: gender, race, ethnicity, age and class

Approaches to geographies of difference explore the socio-spatial construction, in the domains of (among others) education, welfare, and environmental policy, of categories such as gender, race, ethnicity, age and class.

Group members

The Contested Political Economies thematic group consists of the following members:

Professor Ash Amin Is interested in the implications of an emerging catastrophist biopolitics replacing a welfarist biopolitics that imagined the future as governable and hopeful. His work also explores the implications for risk management, community and belonging, urban resilience and wellbeing, and Left counter politics.
Professor Robert Bennett Research spans analytical economic geography and business management and public policy, with a focus on the agents of local economic development, and their evolution, including chambers of commerce and other business associations.
Dr Michael Bravo Research focuses on the Arctic at a time when it can no longer simply be treated by wealthy northern nations as a romanticized backyard. He is concerned to understand to what extent arguments about the exceptional character of the Arctic (non-state actors, indigenous political representation, fragile environment) can still be maintained.
Dr Jude Browne Both empirical and theoretical research focuses primarily on issues of gender inequality, structural injustice and rights, and scrutinizes causal theories from several different disciplines including sociology, psychology and economics in the social sciences.
Dr Mia Gray Research explores the social underpinnings of labour markets and the social component of work, as well as the changing political-economy of work and employment and of labour politics more broadly. Recent research includes an analysis of work in the global firm, labour representation in the service sector, and the social mechanisms through which privilege and power are reproduced at work.
Dr Alex Jeffrey Research has explored how ideas of the state are conveyed and contested after periods of violent conflict, especially in the context of the international intervention following the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-5).
Dr Michele Lancione Research challenges canonical claims relating to issues of marginality, poverty, and difference in the contemporary urban. His work is of a qualitative kind, sustained by in-depth ethnographic fieldwork and informed by theoretical grounding in assemblage thinking, critical urban theory, affective space, biopolitics.
Professor Ron Martin Has, through his research, constructed a new evolutionary perspective in economic geography. He is also interested in resilience and its application to the economic landscape, and researches the geographical political economy of the British economy.
Dr Emma Mawdsley Works on the impacts of the (so-called) 'rising powers' on global development norms, institutions and practices. This research has emerged from a longer interest in global development politics and a specific interest in the politics and practices of India's development cooperation.
Professor Sarah Radcliffe Engages with critical development geography and postcolonial theory to explore the political economic insecurities arising in postcolonial state and development reforms particularly in Andean countries. Research also provides a critique of development policy, specifically Gender and Development, and social neoliberalism.
Professor Susan Smith Research focuses on the ways in which politics are implicated in the creation and conduct of markets, as in the shaping of democracies. She works on three kinds of market - housing, mortgage and financial markets - and is interested in considering how ostensibly market-led processes might be infused with an ethic of care.
Dr Tatiana Thieme Research focuses on political economies of 'slums' and urban informality, in particular to examine the cultural logics that inform alternative economic rationalities amongst 'hustling' youth living in the 'hood'. The research also explores corporate-community encounters and the micro-politics of enterprise-led development projects.
Dr Bhaskar Vira Has a particular focus on political economy and institutional change in contemporary India. He studies justices and injustices that result from economic change, including India's new service economy, and changes in land use and land ownership.
Dr Molly Warrington Research focuses on the analysis of power and injustice in relation to access to education, exploring dimensions of class and gender and different spatial scales and within varying state contexts ranging from Britain to small Caribbean states to Kenya and Uganda.
Dr Liz Watson Research in northern Kenya has examined links between identity, landscape, peace and violence. Other recent work is interested in the ways in which ongoing large-scale environment and development projects relate to national governance projects, such as ethnic federalism (in Ethiopia) and a new modernization (in Kenya).

Book covers

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