The Political Ecology theme runs through much of the research undertaken by geographers at The University of Manchester.
Our work encompasses many of the exciting permutations of the approach that have arisen over the last decade, particularly critical approaches like the growing incorporation of science and technology studies, urban political ecology, political theory, Marxism, and critical theoretical work on alternative socio-natural arrangements.
Manchester political ecology research engages with a series of interlocking socio-environmental crises, demonstrating the irreducibility of environmental problems to technical solutions while also signalling opportunities for engaged politics.
Who we are
Stefan Bouzarovski (Groups: SERG, CPERG)
Stefan Bouzarovski's research explores the enrolment of + development of new frameworks to understand how infrastructural formations are implicated in the making of different spaces and territories. Within this, he has been primarily concerned with the social equity and justice implications of energy transitions in urban contexts. He has also explored the links between built form and everyday practices in the transformation of inner-city areas.
Alison Browne (Group: SERG)
Much of Alison’s work critiques the policies and practices of contemporary environmental governance and neoliberalism. This has been explored in relation to governance processes which extend traditional notions of engagement (e.g., participatory research Browne & Bishop, 2011) also with Indigenous Australian Communities; mining, CSR and community impacts water governance and water management; and behaviour change policies directed at individuals and households.
Noel Castree (Group: SERG)
Noel Castree has extended critical theories of neoliberalism to incorporate questions of environmental use and governance. While environmental economics long ago applied neoliberal thinking to environmental management, a much broader project to ‘neoliberalise nature’ has occurred over the last 25 years. In several articles and chapters he has provided a conceptual framework useful for explaining and evaluating this project.
Maria Kaika (Groups: SERG and CPERG)
Maria’s work on Urban Political Ecology establishes a conceptual and methodological framework that aims to dissolve the geographical and social divide between cities and nature. This framework stipulates that we cannot talk about nature and the city as separate entities, but should understand them as socio-environmental hybrids, part of the same global process of metabolic flows and creative destruction that transforms urban and non-urban landscapes and livelihoods.
Filippo Menga (Groups: CPERG, SERG)
Filippo’s research sits at the intersection of international relations, political geography and nationalism studies, focusing on the role that discursive constructions play in the management of transboundary water resources. He is currently studying the multiscalar politics of large dams, to explore how the interrelation between domestic politics and international relations can further our understanding of water politics.
Saska Petrova (Groups: CPERG, SERG)
Saska’s scholarship scrutinizes how the transformative governance of forests and nature protection can lead to (energy) poverty, and how top-down regulation is resisted and challenged from below. Her work illuminates the complex geographies of legality involved in forest exploitation and connects scholarship on ‘recombinant’ capitalism with wider questions of environmental governance.
Mark Usher (Group: SERG)
Broadly drawing upon aspects of political ecology, political geography and science and technology studies, Mark’s research examines the links between nature, infrastructure and the state. With an empirical focus on water engineering and governance, he has have demonstrated how the state is restructured through the material configuration of drainage infrastructure, reservoirs and distribution systems.
Current research projects
- ENTITLE (funded by Maria Curie ITN). Maria Kaika, Erik Swyngedouw with partners.
- DAM-NET: Dam-nations? A study on dams, nation-building and transboundary water relations through case studies from Ethiopia and Tajikistan.(funded by Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Award). Dr. Filippo Menga, Erik Swyngedouw.
- TWENTY65 – Tailored water for solutions for positive impact. Alison Browne with partners.