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Austerity as Infrastructure

Contemporary austerity policies have forced national and local state structures to change in fundamental ways which has changed the architecture of public service provision and citizens' relationship to the state, their communities, and each other. The state has withdrawn from some services or passed them to the private sector, cut back on other functions, while at the same time expanding in other ways, such as the security state. Through this lens we explore the ways in which the changing infrastructure of the state becomes a tool to govern social life in highly uneven and unequal ways.

Research projects

Research projects currently being undertaken on this theme include:

Decent work and youth livelihoods

Decent work and youth livelihoods

This project will assess the policy challenges in responding to the growing crisis of youth (un)employment, working poverty and livelihoods in three Sub-Saharan African countries.

The Great Austerity Debate

The Great Austerity Debate

Dr Mia Gray and Professor Susan J. Smith, working with Patrick Morris of Menagerie Theatre Company, have developed an innovative way to increase the impact of their research. The project - a collaboration between scholars, artists and a public that includes you - takes the shape of a play entitled A week in the life of Megan K. It is, however, no ordinary piece of theatre...

Understanding Labour Markets

Understanding Labour Markets

This project is concerned with how labour markets are shaped, structured and regulated.

Regimes of Austerity:  Economic Change and the Politics of Contraction

Regimes of Austerity: Economic Change and the Politics of Contraction

This research examines the politics of austerity in British and North American cities as they respond to recession, recovery, fiscal uncertainty, growing economic inequality, and changing policy demands.

Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Economic Evolutions

Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Economic Evolutions

Over the past few years, cities and city-regions have assumed growing prominence in discussions over economic growth, performance, and prosperity. Both geographers and economists point to the increasing concentration of economic activity and wealth creation in cities, and their crucial importance as the loci of national prosperity. But, as some studies demonstrate, not all cities have enjoyed economic success in recent years, and some evidence points to an increasing divergence in economic growth between cities, especially in the United States.

The exclusions of catastrophist biopolitics

The exclusions of catastrophist biopolitics

This project explores the social and geographical implications of governmental practices targeting the body as the site of threat and resilience in risk society.

History of Chambers of Commerce

History of Chambers of Commerce

This research by Professor Robert Bennett aims to give definitive historical analysis of chambers of commerce and other local business associations.

Geographies of Worker Empowerment in the New Economy: Labour Market Intermediaries in the Call Centre Industry (India and UK)

Geographies of Worker Empowerment in the New Economy: Labour Market Intermediaries in the Call Centre Industry (India and UK)

This comparative study of call centre workers in the UK and India examines: (I) the lived experiences of call centre workers across the work-home boundary; (II) labour mobility patterns of call centre workers; and (III) the role of labour market intermediaries in improving labour market outcomes for call centre workers in different national contexts.

Gendering the New Economy

Gendering the New Economy

This project focuses on the ways in which gendered micro-practices of the workplace effect channels of information diffusion within the knowledge-based workplace. We argue that these micro-practices have consequences both for the individual and the firm. An individual's career progression is often very dependent on the cultivation and use of social networks and the resources embedded in those networks. We explore the ways in which the structure of these social resources, the flow of information, and the nature of the mentoring system are all highly gendered phenomenon.

Local and regional economic development in Britain

Local and regional economic development in Britain

A series of ongoing projects on local and regional institutions. This includes assessing the UK Labour government's RDAs, LLSCs, Local government and Business Links; and since 2010 the UK Coalition government's abolition of RDAs, local government reforms, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Enterprise Zones. This has received major project grants from the Leverhulme Trust.

The Economic Geography of Money and Finance

The Economic Geography of Money and Finance

This research programme has been concerned with exploring the spatialities of financial systems, and constructing a new economic geography of money. This has a key underlying aim: to demonstrate that the spatial structure of the financial system is far from neutral in its effects, but rather influences the allocation or funds, capital and credit across regions and localities.

Evolutionary Economics and Economic Geography

Evolutionary Economics and Economic Geography

Over the last few years, an embryonic 'evolutionary turn' has begun to emerge in economic geography. This research explores the scope of and limits to such an 'evolutionary economic geography'. Specifically, how and in what ways can recent developments in evolutionary economics itself be applied to economic-geographic studies, and indeed used to construct a new 'evolutionary economic geography' as a distinct body of theoretical and empirical research for understanding how economic landscapes, and individual regional and local economies, evolve over time.

The Competitive Performance of Regions and Cities

The Competitive Performance of Regions and Cities

Recent years have seen a surge of academic and policy attention devoted to the notion of 'competitiveness'. At the same time, there has been increasing focus on regions and cities as the key loci of wealth creation and economic governance. In short, the economic performance of regions and cities has moved centre stage in academic and policy discussions. The theoretical and empirical study of regional and urban economic performance is the subject of this research.

Earlier projects