Cover image for Vol. 48 Issue 2

Edited By: Kavita Datta (co-Editor, Human Geography), Peter Kraftl (co-Editor, Human Geography) and Rob Bryant (co-Editor, Physical and Environmental Geography)

Impact Factor: 1.203

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 32/76 (Geography)

Online ISSN: 1475-4762

Associated Title(s): Geo: Geography and Environment, The Geographical Journal, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Prize Winners

The Area Prize for New Research in Geography

2015 Winner

Sam Halvorsen, University of Sheffield
Militant research against-and-beyond itself: critical perspectives from the university and Occupy London
Area 47 466–472

This accomplished and well-argued paper advances geographical research on militant research and activism. It interrogates different sites for doing militant research located both within, and beyond, the confines of the neoliberal university. Drawing upon research with Occupy London, it explores the challenges of institutionalising militant research, advocating for open and relational understandings. Honourable mentions go to Peter Wynn Kirby (University of Oxford, UK) for ‘Exporting harm, scavenging value: transnational circuits of e-waste between Japan, China and beyond’ (Area 47 40-47) and Joanna Mann (University of Bristol, UK) for ‘Towards a politics of whimsy: yarn bombing the city’ (Area 65-72).

Previous winners

Rory Horner, University of Manchester
Postgraduate encounters with sub-disciplinary divides: entering the economic/development geography trading zone
Area 46 435–442

This paper engages with key conceptual debates and, using a case study of the Indian Pharmaceutical industry, illustrates the challenges and opportunities associated with intra and interdisciplinary research. Honourable mentions go to Hannah M Chiswell (University of Exeter, UK) for ‘The value of the 1941–1943 National Farm Survey as a method for engagement with farmers in contemporary research’ (Area 46 426–434) and Saskia Warren (University of Manchester, UK) for ‘ “I want this place to thrive”: volunteering, co-production and creative labour’ (Area 46 278–284

Thomas Birtchnell, University of Wollongong
Fill the ships and we shall fill the shops: the making of geographies of manufacturing
Area 45 436–442

This was a well written and theoretically-sophisticated and empirically-rich paper that reveals some of the historical geographies of globalization. Honourable mentions go to Sarah Turner (McGill University, Canada) for ‘Red stamps and green tea: fieldwork negotiations and dilemmas in the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands’ (Area 45 396–402) and Stephanie Morrice (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK) for ‘Heartache and Hurricane Katrina: recognising the influence of emotion in post-disaster return decisions’ (Area 45 33–39).

Martin C A Muir, University of Dundee
Climate change and standing freshwaters: informing adaptation strategies for conservation at multiple scales
(co-authored with Christopher J Spray and John S Rowan)
Area 44 411–22

Well organised and clearly argued, this article has a strong empirical and conceptual basis and also raises some wider, non-academic issues. Honourable mentions also go to Jake Rom D Cadag (Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier III and IRD, France) for ‘Integrating knowledge and actions in disaster risk reduction: the contribution of participatory mapping’ (co-authored with JC Gaillard; Area 44 100–9) and Chris McMorran (National University of Singapore) for ‘Practising workplace geographies: embodied labour as method in human geography’ (Area 44 489–95).

Karin Schwiter, University of Zurich
Anticipating the transition to parenthood: the contribution of Foucaultian discourse analysis to understanding life-course patterns
Area 43 397–404

Abstract: Existing analyses of life-course transitions tend to take either an institutional or an agency perspective. The aim of this paper is to show how a discourse analytical approach might contribute to bridging the gap between the two perspectives and thereby broaden our understanding of life-course trajectories. To do this, it presents an empirical study that looks at how young Swiss adults anticipate the transition to parenthood. The findings show that young adults are confronted with conflicting and opposing norms concerning parenthood. On the one hand, there is the idea of free choice as to whether and when to have a child. On the other hand, there exist persisting societal prescriptions that govern who may legitimately become a parent. Whoever does not fulfil the required conditions – the discourse suggests – should not have children. The discourse perspective thus brings to the fore what counts as shared knowledge in a particular place and at a particular historical moment. It indicates how the social construction of the transition to parenthood forges particular life-course trajectories.

David Bassens, Ghent University
Searching for the Mecca of finance: Islamic financial services and the world city network
David Bassens, Ben Derudder and Frank Witlox
Area 42 35–46

Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of the geography of the booming ‘Islamic financial services’ (IFS) sector, which provides a host of financial services based on Islamic religious grounds. The relevance of such an analysis is discussed against the conceptual backdrop of the world city network literature. It is argued that a focus on the globalisation of the IFS sector may provide an alternative to hegemonic geographical imaginations of world city-formation through its focus on other forms of globalising economic processes and regions that do not commonly feature in this literature. Based on information on the location strategies of 28 leading IFS firms in 64 cities across the world, we analyse different features of this decentred global urban geography. Manama is hereby identified as the Mecca of the IFS sector, while other major Gulf cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also primary nodes in this urban network. Other major Middle East North Africa (MENA) cities such as Tehran follow suit, but also more traditional financial centres such as London are well connected.

Edmund Harris, University of Edinburgh/Clark University
Neoliberal subjectivities or a politics of the possible? Reading for difference in alternative food networks
Area 41 55-63

The judges found this to be a theoretically sophisticated article. It takes on the ‘it’s all neo-liberalism’ assumptions that characterises some of human geography and shows how alternative food networks, such as the 100 mile food movement, escape that kind of labelling. This is a well-written piece that is truly original, both empirically and theoretically.

Emilie Lagacé, Oxford University Centre for the Environment
Science–policy guidelines as a benchmark: making the European Water Framework Directive
Area 40 421–434

A convincing mixture of argument and evidence, this paper tackles the important issue of how science is incorporated into public policy. This well-written article questions many assumptions held by physical scientists as well as those policy makers who claim to be adopting 'evidence-based' approaches to scientific advice.

Jessica Graybill, Colgate University, Hamilton, USA
Continuity and change: (re)constructing environmental geographies in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia
Area 39 6–19

This is an empirically rich, well-argued and thought-provoking paper that challenges all environmental geographers to think carefully about the roots of environmental knowledge and how that knowledge is transferred in different cultures. Based on a painstaking analysis of journal articles from the late Soviet and post-Soviet period, Graybill illustrates not only how Russian geographers (re)construct environmental knowledge but also the ways in which changing theorizations of society–nature interactions have shaped attitudes towards environmental and resource management over time. Above all else, Graybill provides a fascinating gateway into a very different tradition of geographic inquiry in a study that should be required reading for anyone interested in ‘non-western’ conceptualizations of nature.
Dr David Nash, University of Brighton

Christine McCulloch, Oxford University Centre for the Environment
Transparency: aid or obstacle to effective defence of vulnerable environments from reservoir construction? Dam decisions and democracy in North East England
Area 38 24–33

This is a provocative and well-informed paper that challenges some of the well-worn clichés of environmental consultation. Based on a series of case studies that detail how communities were engaged in dam construction decisions, McCulloch shows that success in opposing dams may be better achieved by behind- doors bargaining rather than by public debate. The author reveals some uncomfortable facts about the current emphasis on participation and transparency. This is a paper that should be read by all those with an interest in environmental management and the modern political process.
Professor Alastair Bonnett, University of Newcastle

Clare Herrick, University College, London
Cultures of GM: the discourses of risk and labelling of GMOs in the UK and EU
Area 37 286–294

This paper by Clare Herrick puts forward a clear and important argument. Her investigation into ‘cultures of GM’ and foodstuff labelling provides a balanced mix of the current theoretical material and her own empirical data. The paper has an original and urgent quality that illustrates why such issues are important to geographical enquiry.
Professor Alastair Bonnett, University of Newcastle

Pauline Couper, The College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth
Space and time in river bank erosion research: a review
Area 36 387–403

Pauline Couper here provides us with a substantial review of research on river bank erosion, with a bibliography of over 100 items covering the diversity of scale, method, and purpose of this research - a diversity seen as a great strength. The paper is a novel synthesis, which adds value in using abstract concepts of space and time to show how these can help us understand this process, and guide further experimental research. The paper also critically evaluates theoretical means of bridging across scales (such as hierarchy theory, extrapolation methods, and modelling). Professor Keith Richards, University of Cambridge

Markus Hassler
Crisis, Coincidences and Strategic Market Behaviour: The Internationalization of Indonesian Clothing Brand Owners
Area 35 241–250

This paper by Markus Hassler encapsulates the essence of a good 'Area paper'. It is theoretically informed, placing analysis of the Indonesian clothing industry within the global commodity change framework. It utilises a sound methodology to provide original insight into the trading activities of Indonesian brand-owners. It is well structured and clearly presented and it does all of this within the word limit! This paper is proof that is possible to produce a theoretically ground, methodologically rigorous and informative empirical paper in 5,000 words.
Professor Mike Bradshaw, University of Leicester

Richard C Powell
The Sirens' voices? Field practices and dialogue in geography
Area 34 261–272

There are few greater challenge in geography than the constant re-evaluation the role, approaches and outcomes of fieldwork - yet few of us in higher education take the time; Powell's paper is a painstaking analysis of current dilemmas that will hopefully find an audience beyond 'the community of philosophically minded earth scientists' (p.265)!
Malcolm Newson, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Newcastle

Matt Bradshaw
Contracts and member checks in qualitative research in human geography: reason for caution
Area 33 202–211

Bradshaw's article marks a significant intervention in qualitative methodology. He explores the way contracts and member checks can be used by powerful groups to shape research processes and outcomes. Bradshaw's brilliant, crystal clear analysis makes it clear that researchers are facing new sets of methodological dilemmas and choices.
Professor Mike Bradshaw, University of Leicester