Everyday-Environmentalism by Alex LoftusEveryday Environmentalism: Creating an Urban Political Ecology brings together my main theoretical interests with concrete studies of water politics in Durban and critical spatial practices in London. It develops a sympathetic critique of contemporary environmental movements by pondering what it might mean to develop an environmental politics based upon quotidian acts of making metropolitan natures. The key thinkers put to work in the book are Neil Smith, Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukacs and Henri Lefebvre.
Gramsci edited by Alex LoftusGramsci: Space, Nature, Politics, this co-edited book with Mike Ekers, Gillian Hart and Stefan Kipfer, brings together a range of different authors all concerned with rethinking Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy of praxis within the present conjuncture and in relation to space, nature and the question of the political. The collection contributes to the renewed interest in Gramsci’s writings and, as with other recent studies, questions some earlier, more instrumental, readings of the Sardinian’s work, paying closer attention to questions of linguistics and the distinctiveness of Gramsci’s marxism.
Right-to-Water edited by Alex LoftusThe Right to Water: Politics, Governance and Social Struggles, co-edited with Farhana Sultana, brings together a series of essays on the political potentials within – as well as the frustrations experienced by – recent movements advocating for the right to water. Within the movement for the right to water, and also within academic debate, many have begun to question whether the UN’s recent recognition of the right to water will be enough to effect genuine change in people’s ability to access water. Rather than simply rejecting the right to water as reformist, obfuscatory, limiting or misleading, the book seeks to make sense of the political possibilities within a growing movement for fairer access to water. The different authors position a range of theoretical debates and concrete struggles within a broader context, recognising both geographical specificity and the potentials for making a broader movement.
Looking forward, I hope to begin bringing in some historical perspective: working to produce a book that looks back at nearly 120 years of location theory; exploring the historical growth of Britain's telecommunications system; and examining the connection between telecommunications/ICT usage and London's innovative small firms. The other area of interest is in quantification: improving our understanding and prediction of how disruptions produced by weather, crowding, or security issues produce knock-on effects on nearby stations through the integration of usage data and better modelling of route choice by transit users; and looking for ways to measure the relationships embodied in the social networks of businesses.
In recent years, furthermore, Dr De Genova has also become increasingly interested in the politics of migration, race, and securitisation in the UK and the wider European context. Indeed, he recently initiated a multi-disciplinary research network on ‘The “European” Question: Postcolonial Perspectives on Migration, Nation, and Race’ with migration and border studies scholars from across Europe.
Dr De Genova is currently writing a new book, The Migrant Metropolis, concerned with contemporary transformations in urban life as crucial intersections of global economy, sovereign (state) power, regimes of mobility control, and the freedom of movement, especially as this latter figure may be explored in relation to the autonomy of migrant transnationalism and community formation. The study would begin from the diverse insights of the ethnographic and historical studies of migration and borders as a strategy for grounding a conceptual discussion of power (as may be excavated from a critical reconsideration of the works of Marx, Foucault, Benjamin, Arendt, and Agamben, among others), in order to then elaborate upon the critiques of everyday life, the society of the spectacle, and the production of contradictory and differential space (principally at stake in the works of Lefebvre and Debord). Concerned with a series of problems of social and political theory, this book nonetheless seeks to elaborate the stakes of a genuinely global critical human geography. It marshals insights from the empirical study of migration, border crossing, transnational urbanism, and struggles over immigration law and securitisation, in the effort to re-think national and transnational space through the critical lens of the incipient and differential spaces that may be called the migrant metropolis. From this ethnographically informed standpoint of critique, this book will situate the freedom of movement as a central question for social and spatial theory as well as a wide range of interdisciplinary geographical and political enquiry concerned with globalisation, more generally.
In addition, Dr De Genova is presently preparing a proposal for major research funding for a new multi-sited ethnographic team project on “The Migrant Metropolis in Europe,” to study “low-skill,” “non-European” migration to as many as nine European cities, specifically: London, Paris, Moscow, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. As a rigorously comparative study directed at addressing the same themes by means of the same methods in distinct but variously analogous urban settings, accompanied by a comprehensive study of European border enforcement and the disparate nation-state regimes of immigration and citizenship law, this project aspires to make significant contributions of urgent contemporary relevance to both scholarship and wider public debate.
The genesis of this variety of intellectual preoccupations and research interests may be readily discerned in Dr De Genova’s previous work, including numerous academic journal articles and book chapters, and most importantly:
Working the Boundaries: Race, Space, and "Illegality" in Mexican Chicago (author; Duke University Press, 2005)
Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship (co-authored with Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas; Routledge, 2003)
Racial Transformations: Latinos and Asians Remaking the United States (editor; Duke University Press, 2006)
The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement (co-edited with Nathalie Peutz; Duke University Press, 2010)
His present research foci are:
Recently I have embarked on a NERC-funded knowledge exchange project with the UK Fire and Rescue Service. Building on existing links with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), the project aims to enhance the “wildfire training” programme offered by NRFS. The KE project has begun to develop the use of fire modelling tools in the UK wildfire training programme to enhance officers’ understanding of vegetation fire behaviour. The project also exploits airborne infrared imaging from low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – allowing recording and replaying of ‘training fires’, supporting future training of FRS personnel, but also providing valuable research-quality fire intensity and rate-of-spread data. The Wildfire Research Knowledge Exchange Portal is full of useful data.
For more details on Tom’s research and publications, visit the KCL wildfire group’s website, Tom’s twitter feed, or feel free to email thomas.smith at kcl.ac.uk
The consumption and re-use of clothing traces a transnational gradient of inequality between the rich and poor. His thesis examined the (re)production of second-hand clothing commodities in Britain, the international economic geographies of the used-clothing trade and the labour activities of African market traders. Patterns of trade were investigated through a theoretical approach which draws upon Ben Fine’s ‘system of provision’ analysis from heterodox economics and connects this to existing commodity studies approaches in geography. Within global second-hand clothing networks there are differential power relations between charities, companies and individuals. The socially and historically embedded roles of British charities and firms in the collection, processing and export of second-hand clothing were introduced and connected to the main empirical exploration of the downstream social and economic impacts of second-hand clothing imports in Africa. Linkages are made across the new and used clothing sectors and in the relationships between the decline of clothing industries across Africa, economic liberalisation and the growth of used-clothing imports. This short video summarises his second-hand clothing research. Papers from his PhD thesis have been presented at the Association of American Geographers, the Centre of African Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Geographic Society. Three articles have subsequently been accepted for publication in Development and Change, Geoforum and Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. which are all extensions of the work he undertook for his PhD.
A further research interest he has which is conceptually related to his work on second-hand clothing is the international trade in used cars. He has explored this trade pattern through a study of embedded networks of power and corruption in the import of used Japanese cars to Mozambique which he presented at the European Conference of African Studies and is published in the Geographical Journal.
He has also investigated Chinese investment in Africa. This topic was researched through a case study of a Chinese owned clothing factory in Zambia, which was published in the Journal of Southern African Studies. He presented these research findings at Oxford University, the Africa – Asia Centre for the Royal African Society and appeared as an expert on Chinese investment in Africa on CNBC’s Markets Africa programme.
Andrew is continuing to research links between production and consumption and this includes a new paper on the material culture which surrounds the production of distinctive textures of value in ‘ethical’ goods, such as Vivienne Westood’s ‘Made with Love in Nairobi’ handbags. He is also co-authoring an article with Yiwonda Banda, which explores changes in the Malawian Legal System from the pre-colonial period to the present day through case study analysis of murder trials. In addition he is preparing review chapters on ‘consumption’ and ‘fieldwork in Southern Africa’ for edited books.
I have also carried out historical work on nature and the city, with a particular focus on fascist Italy (1922-43) and on New Towns and other projects in Italy and its colonies in East Africa during the 1920s and 1930s.
Understanding Water Governance in Challenging Environments: How Institutions Adapt to Change
British Academy funded project
This project pursued in partnership with colleagues at the Universities of Bradford and Dar es Salaam aims to explore the evolution of institutions for resource governance in the Usangu plains, Tanzania.
Water Equity for Southern and Eastern Africa
I have joined with colleagues from universities in the Netherlands, Denmark, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Tanzania to establish this action- research network aiming to pursue comparative empirical work on water governance and its outcomes in different governance contexts.
His main current research activity is in the PATHWAYS project (2013-2016, funded
under FP7 of the European Commission) which is investigating the dynamics of transitions in socio-technical systems, including energy, transport and agro-food systems in Europe.
Systems innovation: The theoretical, methodological and empirical study of change in large socio-technical systems, including energy, transport, agro-food and urban systems. The work is informed by the history, economics and sociology of technical change and is concerned with understanding and informing ‘transitions’ towards more sustainable systems of provision. My current focus of activity is within the EU-funded PATHWAYS project (with Bruno Turnheim and a new PhD student) which is aiming to bridge between modelling, transitions studies and action research approaches to understanding transition processes.
Climate change adaptation: Research on the incentives, constraints and limits to adaptation by organisations and other social actors. This work is informed by behavioural organisational theory and policy studies, understanding that the adaptive capacity of actors is institutionally-situated. The focus of my current work flows from my work in the IPCC on ‘limits to adaptation’ and the nascent application of a risk-based approach we developed to the problem of ‘loss and damage’ in the UNFCCC. I am interested in developing approaches to specifying limits to adaptation that may inform novel approaches to the governance of losses suffered as actors reach such limits.
Global resource securities: Research on the emergence of ‘systemic risks’ associated with climate change related to key global resources (food, energy, commodities). This is a new research interest would aim to build links stretching from integrated assessment and climate modelling to security and governance studies. It responds to a recent concern in global change research with ‘tipping points’ and ‘thresholds’, and aims to understand how thresholds of insecurity may emerge in critical globally-connected sectors, partly influenced by the impacts of climate change.
George is a member of the steering committee of the AHRC-funded network “Collaborative research on the meteorological and botanical history of the Indian Ocean, 1600-1900”. He is currently working on a volume on societal responses to the El Niño Southern Oscillation through history, co-authored with Professor Richard Grove (Australian National University).
I am interested in the relationships between climate, history and culture. In particular, I seek to analyse and illuminate the numerous ways in which climate change is deployed in public and political discourse around the world. To accomplish this I draw upon theories and methods from science and technology studies, geographies of science, political philosophy and environmental history.
My research and teaching operate at the intersections of climate, science, history and culture. In particular, I study how scientific knowledge about climate change is made and represented and analyse and illuminate the numerous ways in which climate change is deployed in public and political discourse around the world. To accomplish this I draw upon theories and methods from science and technology studies, geographies of science, political philosophy and environmental history.
I am a member of the Advisory Board of the STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex and am an Advisor to the EU FP7 funded ECOPAS Network, the European Consortium for Pacific Studies. As well as mentoring my group of PhD students, the following two projects are active in 2014:
I have been awarded a Carson Writing Fellowship for 2014 at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Münich. This is a personal award and will allow me to spend 5 months from April-September 2014 as a Fellow of the Center. The Rachel Carson Center is part of a funding scheme launched by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) that was devised to internationalize the humanities in Germany. Carson Fellows are expected to work in residence on a major research project that pertains to one or more of the Center’s research themes.
Cultures of Prediction
I am an international collaborator on this project, Cultures of Prediction: knowledge, authority and the construction of climate change, led by Professor Matthias Heymann at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. It is funded by the Danish Research Council and examines the emergence of climate modelling as a culture of prediction in the formative period between ca. 1960 and 1985. Climate modelling has played a major role in forging a scientific consensus about climatic change. Scientific consensus, however, tends to hide the social relations, complex negotiations and tangible interests behind the consensus itself. The project runs until 2016 and as part of the project I will be convening an international workshop at King’s College in the winter of 2015.
Institutions of water allocation: My PhD focused on conflict and cooperation between states over shared waters. The thesis made an original contribution in identifying how conflict and cooperation coexist and developed a conceptual framework, the Transboundary Waters Interaction NexuS (TWINS), to examine changes of conflict and cooperation intensity between basin states. The research found that relative material capability and discursive power of basin states influence the establishment and implementation of water management institutions.
Power and environmental discourse: I examine how environmental issues are discursively framed by various actors involved in natural resources management and governance. I employ securitization theory and interpretive policy analysis to analyse the role of discursive power. The empirical research focuses on issues such as water resources management, hydropower development and ‘green economy’ in developing country contexts.
Scale and agency: The politics of scale inform my research on water resources management. My empirical work examines cross-scalar implications of water resources governance and the role of deliberative actors. In addition, I am looking at the cross-sectoral linkages realised through multi-scalar water governance, such as energy and water.
First, Ruth’s work has considered the institutions of the ‘modern’ Commonwealth, focusing on everything from enthusiastic engagements and intergovernmental politics. From popular engagements with the Commonwealth in post-war Britain through expeditions, festivals and exhibitions, which forms the basis of a number of journal articles and an online exhibition, to a more recent focus on the geopolitics of Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings in Southern Africa and South East Asia (funded by the British Academy and an Association of South East Asian Studies in the UK Visiting Fellowship) she has mapped out the ideas, performances and experiences of becoming postcolonial. This work has allowed her to contribute to conceptualisations of North-South relations during and after decolonisation, and to explore the interaction of questions of conviviality, hospitality, internationalism and race in this era. She is Co-Investigator on a major new AHRC funded project which is based at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, An Oral History of the Modern Commonwealth, 1965-2010.
Second, Ruth’s research interested in broader cultures and geographies of decolonisation. Her new work (with Hannah Neate, University of Central Lancashire) explores the connections between decolonization and British Urbanism. Specifically, the project examines the involvement of colonial experts of various kinds – administrators, planners, architects, anthropologists - in the construction and management on British New Towns.
She also organised a two-day interdisciplinary symposium entitled ‘Cultures of Decolonisation’ at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in 2012 (with Dr Claire Wintle, University of Brighton) on this theme.
Extending this interest in the post-war built environment, Ruth is also interested in the conservation of modern architecture, and in the role of volunteers and enthusiasts in this process. She has explored these issues in a research project about Architectural Enthusiasm in collaboration with Hilary Geoghegan (UCL) and Hannah Neate (University of Central Lancashire), which is funded by the British Academy.
Ruth is a Research Associate, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London, a member of the Conference Advisory Panel for the International Conference of Historical Geography, London 2014 and Membership Secretary of the Historical Geography Research Group, RGS-IBG. She is also on the Editorial Board of The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs and The London Journal.