Human Geography Research
The HGRG has fostered a distinctive ‘Glasgow’ approach to conducting innovative research on the entangled geographies of power, institutions, knowledge and practice, moving readily from the conceptual to the substantive to the engaged. We make sustained theoretical interventions, but always seek to embed this within the materialities of everyday environments, landscapes and settlements full of life, passion and struggle. Our intellectual, professional and personal responsibilities are enmeshed with places scarred by the dominating powers of capital, empire and (certain versions of Western) rationality, with a particular focus on urban geographies. Our research is simultaneously conducted in the ‘global North’ and the ‘global South’, sensitive to how ideas and practices emanating from the latter question assumptions underlying research undertaken in the former.
Our research is loosely organised into four separate themes (although members of the HGRG involved with each theme overlap considerably). The four themes are as follows:
Environment, knowledge and development: Our main focus is to examine how various theories and practices of 'development' affect people's everyday lives and the environments in which they live. For example, we are currently researching alternative understandings of the environment, the politics of development, and the ways in which communities deal with environmental change. Our work takes place among communities in both the richer countries of the North, as well as in countries in the global south. Recent and forthcoming publications include:
Birch, K., MacKinnon, D. and Cumbers, A. (2010) ‘Old industrial regions in Europe: a comparative assessment of economic performance’.Regional Studies 44, 1, 35-53.
Briggs, J. (2009) Indigenous knowledge and development. In Desai V and Potter R (eds) Companion to Development Studies. Hodder Arnold, London, 2nd edition.
Bryceson, D., Rigg, J., Bebbington, A., Gough, K., Agergaard, J., Fold, N. (2009) The World Development Report 2009 “reshapes economic geography”: geographical reflections. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 34, 1-9.
Routledge, P. (2011) ‘Translocal Climate Justice Solidarities’ in John Dryzek, J., and Richard Norgaard, R., and Schlosberg, D. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society.
Sharp J., Briggs, J., Yacoub, H. and Hamed, N. (2010) “Women’s Empowerment: A Critical Re-evaluation of a GAD Poverty Alleviation Project in Southeast Egypt” in Chant, S. (ed) The International Handbook on Gender and Poverty. Elgar.
Political economy, justice and solidarity: Our research interests are concerned with undertaking politically and theoretically engaged research that seeks to combat social and economic inequalities and challenge hegemonic neoliberal agendas while contributing to alternative projects for social justice and solidarity. We do this in a variety of ways, ranging from a focus on the divergent urban and regional development pathways produced by uneven development, theorising critical political economies of the city, exploring emerging networks of transnational solidarity, engagement with and studying alternative environmental and social movements, and contributing to the growing field of labour geography. Recent publications include:
Bryceson, D. (2010) ‘Dar es Salaam as a “Harbour of Peace” in East Africa: Tracing the Role of Creolized Urban Ethnicity in Nation-State Formation’ in Beall, J., Guha-Khasnobis, B. and Kanbur, R. (eds),Urbanization and Development: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Cumbers, A. and McMaster, R. (2010) Socialism, knowledge, the instrumental valuation principle, and the enhancement of individual dignity. Economy and Society 39, 2, 247-70.
Featherstone, D.J. (2008) Resistance, Space and Political Identities: The Making of Counter-Global Networks. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
MacKinnon, D., Cumbers, A., Birch, K., Pike, A. and McMaster, R. (2009) ‘Evolution in economic geography: institutions, political economy and regional adaptation’. Economic Geography 85, 129-150.
Routledge, P. and Cumbers, A.(2009) Global Justice Networks: Geographies of Transnational Solidarity. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Difference, otherness and subalternity: This theme brings together those working on the geographies of otherness and marginality informed by a range of theoretical perspectives including Foucauldian, feminist, post-colonial and subaltern studies. A key intervention is to create new understandings of spatial relations of difference and subalternity through engaging with how these are made and remade. Our work foregrounds diverse forms of marginal and subaltern agency in shaping such relations. This involves a direct concern with the ways in which stigmatised people rescript their own difference by engaging material and social geographies in particular ways. There are a set of methodological and theoretical concerns that flow from these commitments. Methodologically, the research is informed by an ethos of engaging ‘with’ stigmatised or marginal groups rather than carrying out research ‘on’ such groups. Theoretically, the theme is animated by attempts to recover subaltern agency and experiences in both the past and the present. Finally, there is a set of concerns about how difference is mobilised, constructed and reconfigured through political engagements and practices. Recent and forthcoming publications include:
Featherstone, D.J. (2011) ‘Black Internationalism, Subaltern Cosmopolitanism and the Spatial Politics of Anti-Fascism’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
Parr, H. (2008) Mental Health and Social Space: Towards Inclusionary Geographies? RGS-IBG Book Series, Blackwell Publishing.
Philo, C. and Pickstone, J. (2009)‘Unpromising configurations: towards local historical geographies of psychiatry’, Health and Place, 15, 649-656.
Philo, C. (2010) ‘Foucault’s children’, forthcoming in Holt, L. (ed.),International Perspectives on Geographies of Children, Youth and Families: Exploring Young People in their Socio-Spatial Contexts. London, Routledge.
Sharp, J. (2009) Geographies of Postcolonialism: spaces of power and representation. Sage.
Creativity , experiment and expression: Through academic and non-academic publishing, by way of spoken words, theatre, film, music, visual art and story-telling we are ‘working the ground’ between academic geography and forms of critical creativity. By attempting to bring the world to life through work that challenges conventional understandings of geographical research and education, we want to create novel and vital ways in which to engage with and record human, more-than-human and historic landscapes. We are one of the few schools of geography in the world to have a consistent and vibrant research tradition that reaches out to arts and creative practice. Recent and forthcoming publications include:
Lorimer, H. and Wylie, J. (2010) Loop – a geography. Performance Research.
Mulholland, D. with Lorimer, H. and Philo, C. (2009) Re-sounding: an interview with Drew Mulholland. Scottish Geographical Journal, 125(3-4), 377-98.
Parr, H.(2007) Collaborative film making as process, method and text in mental health research. Cultural Geographies. 14, 1, 114-138.
Routledge, P. (2011) Sensuous solidarities: emotion, politics and performance in the clandestine insurgent rebel clown army. Antipode.
Sharp, J. (2009) What belongs to feminist geography? Emotion, power and change. Progress in Human Geography 33, 1, 74-80.