Professor Noel Castree
Professor of Geography.
I've long been interested in understanding how capitalism relates to land, water and air. Early in my career I sought to ‘green’ Marxist political economy in ways that avoided the explanatory Scylla of a fixed, external ‘nature’ and the Charybdis of an all-powerful capitalism that bends nature to its will.
This eventually led to an attempt to theorise how and why neoliberalism, an historically specific form assumed by capitalism, has taken an ‘environmental turn’ since the early 1980s. My interest in the political economy of environment has fed into a wider philosophical desire to denaturalize understandings of what we call nature without descending into a nature-blind social constructionist position.
This wider endeavour found expression in the books Remaking Reality (1988), Social Nature (2001) and Nature (2005):
The latter was a modest attempt to explore how Geography, as a discipline, has tried to deal with the question of nature since its late nineteenth century inception as a university subject. More recently I authored a multidisciplinary book 'Making Sense of Nature’ designed to show the ways that representations of things like polar bears, bees and human genes comprise an extraordinarily wide arena for the exercise of social power and resistance.
Global environmental change
I am currently interested in the claims being made about global environmental change by geoscientists. This research draws on STS, political philosophy and debates about transdisciplinarity and socially ‘relevant’ forms of academic knowledge. It also speaks to the hoary debate in Geography about the relations between its ‘physical’ and ‘human’ components.
I am managing editor of Progress in Human Geography, and a former editor of Antipode. I also coedit Geography Review, the leading educational magazine for 16-18 year old Geography students in the UK.
For more detail and a list of Noel’s publications, see his research profile: