Tag Archives: power

Geographers’ Mobility in Academia

By Benjamin Sacks

Travel amongst Chinese geographers has dramatically increased in the last decade. © 2013 Wikimedia Commons.

Travel amongst Chinese geographers has dramatically increased in the last decade. © 2013 Wikimedia Commons.

In a series of mid-1980s studies, Pierre Bourdieu explicated his ethnocentric conceptions of capital accumulation, conversion, and authority. Knowledge and power, he asserted, were deeply related, and used across cultural divides to establish and maintain elites. In France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere, academic institutions (e.g., private grammar schools, elite universities, and think tank centres) formed a vital component of state power or, as Bourdieu (1996) described, ‘underlining the central role of the…elite higher education system in perpetuating social domination by the elites’ (Leung p. 314). Academics’ experiences both in and outside the classroom provided them with an ever-expanding “toolkit” to enhance their own perceived value, prestige, and usefulness to state and private requirements. This, as Karl Marx originally, albeit very broadly outlined, and Bourdieu refined, constituted an important form of ‘capital accumulation’ (Leung p. 313).

In her April 2013 article ‘”Read ten thousand books, walk ten thousand miles”: geographical mobility and capital accumulation among Chinese scholars‘, Maggie W H Leung (Utrecht University) complicated and contextualized Bourdieu’s terminology. Relying on a decade of studies by S Robertson and P Blumenthal, amongst other scholars, Leung specified geographical mobility – that is, the role movement across location and space has in cultivating academics’ knowledge – as a valuable form of capital accumulation. Generally speaking, academics gain knowledge and authority through the comprehensiveness of their research, which is (often) intrinsically linked with their ability to travel, conduct field or archival research of primary resources, and to network at national and international conferences. Concerning international migration, academics are ‘[c]onsidered as the best and brightest’, carrying with them highly important ‘social, economic and technical’ data and concepts (p. 312).

Leung focused her examination on the increasingly vital China-Germany route. Academics across discipline travel to German universities, think tanks, and conferences to engage with “Western” technologies, ideas, and publications, before returning to China to teach and implement these approaches for domestic (public and private) audiences. This did indeed comprise a form of Bourdieu’s academic accumulation. However, unlike Bourdieu, Leung stressed the importance of individual experiences and academic maturation, interviewing sixty-five post-doctoral fellows and professors. Zhong Hong, for instance, recalled of her experience:

I was supposed to take a look at how they teach in Germany, how the curriculum is organised and what kind of facilities they have…because our university aims to upgrade itself to a world-class institution…And our university also expected me to elevate my ability in research (p. 319).

By identifying and extrapolating individual experiences, cataloguing them according to approach, motivation, and resulting consequences, Leung provided a more nuanced, carefully considered version of Bourdieu’s previous, rather rigid capital accumulation model. Such theoretical reconstructions can prove enormously useful for geographers studying institutions, power relations, and even exploration. In a 1999 critique, geographer Michael T Bravo (University of Cambridge) re-articulated Bruno Latour’s earlier social science framework, as outlined in Science in Action (1987). Bravo agreed with Latour’s conception of ‘immutable mobiles’, knowledge data transported back to ‘centres of accumulation’ (such as universities or the Royal Geographical Society), but added that scientists’ individual experiences and changes or maturation over time must be considered as well.

60-world2 Leung, M W H, 2013, ‘Read ten thousand books, walk ten thousand miles’: geographical mobility and capital accumulation among Chinese scholars, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series, 38, 311-24.

Also see:

books_icon Bourdieu, P, 1988, The forms of capital, in Richardson J ed, Handbook for theory and research for the sociology of education, Greenwood Press, New York, 241-58.

books_icon Bourdieu, P, 1996, The state nobility: elite schools in the field of power Polity Press, Cambridge.

books_icon Bravo, M T, 1999, Ethnographic navigation and the geographical gift, in Livingstone D and Withers C W J, Geography and enlightenment, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

books_icon Latour, B, 1987, Science in action: how to follow scientists and engineers through society, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

Content Alert: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Volume 37, Issue 4 (October 2012) is Available Online Now

Cover image for Vol. 37 Issue 4

Volume 37, Issue 4 Pages 477– 657, October 2012

The latest issue of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers is available on Wiley Online Library.

Click past the break for a full list of articles in this issue.

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RGS-IBG New Content Alert: Early View Articles (25th May 2012)

The following Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.

Original Articles

Soil hydrodynamics and controls in prairie potholes of central Canada
T S Gala, R J Trueman and S Carlyle
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01103.x

Paying for interviews? Negotiating ethics, power and expectation
Daniel Hammett and Deborah Sporton
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01102.x

Domestication and the dog: embodying home
Emma R Power
Article first published online: 23 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01098.x

Adapting water management to climate change: Putting our science into practice

Runoff attenuation features: a sustainable flood mitigation strategy in the Belford catchment, UK
A R Nicholson, M E Wilkinson, G M O’Donnell and P F Quinn
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01099.x

Commentary

Geography, libertarian paternalism and neuro-politics in the UK
Mark Whitehead, Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett and Marcus Welsh
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00469.x

Subaltern geopolitics: Libya in the mirror of Europe
James D Sidaway
Article first published online: 11 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00466.x

Original Articles

Faith and suburbia: secularisation, modernity and the changing geographies of religion in London’s suburbs
Claire Dwyer, David Gilbert and Bindi Shah
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00521.x

Mobile nostalgias: connecting visions of the urban past, present and future amongst ex-residents
Alastair Bonnett and Catherine Alexander
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00531.x

Dalits and local labour markets in rural India: experiences from the Tiruppur textile region in Tamil Nadu
Grace Carswell
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00530.x

The Korean Thermidor: on political space and conservative reactions
Jamie Doucette
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00528.x

‘Faith in the system?’ State-funded faith schools in England and the contested parameters of community cohesion
Claire Dwyer and Violetta Parutis
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00518.x

The short-run impact of using lotteries for school admissions: early results from Brighton and Hove’s reforms
Rebecca Allen, Simon Burgess and Leigh McKenna
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00511.x

Learning electoral geography? Party campaigning, constituency marginality and voting at the 2010 British general election
Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00527.x

Hidden histories made visible? Reflections on a geographical exhibition
Felix Driver
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00529.x

‘Read ten thousand books, walk ten thousand miles’: geographical mobility and capital accumulation among Chinese scholars
Maggi W H Leung
Article first published online: 15 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00526.x

Content Alert: New Articles (11th May 2012)

The following Early View articles are now available on Wiley Online Library.

Original Articles

Migration, urban growth and commuting distance in Toronto’s commuter shed
Jeffrey J Axisa, K Bruce Newbold and Darren M Scott
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01097.x

Original Articles

Mobile ‘green’ design knowledge: institutions, bricolage and the relational production of embedded sustainable building designs
James Faulconbridge
Article first published online: 27 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00523.x

Creating and destroying diaspora strategies: New Zealand’s emigration policies re-examined
Alan Gamlen
Article first published online: 27 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00522.x

The demographic impacts of the Irish famine: towards a greater geographical understanding
A Stewart Fotheringham, Mary H Kelly and Martin Charlton
Article first published online: 27 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00517.x

Transnational religious networks: sexuality and the changing power geometries of the Anglican Communion
Gill Valentine, Robert M Vanderbeck, Joanna Sadgrove, Johan Andersson and Kevin Ward
Article first published online: 25 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00507.x

Geographies of transition and the separation of lower and higher attaining pupils in the move from primary to secondary school in London
Richard Harris
Article first published online: 23 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.519.x

Rethinking governance and value in commodity chains through global recycling networks
Mike Crang, Alex Hughes, Nicky Gregson, Lucy Norris and Farid Ahamed
Article first published online: 23 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00515.x

The ‘missing middle’: class and urban governance in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies
Charlotte Lemanski and Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal
Article first published online: 20 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00514.x

Science, scientific instruments and questions of method in nineteenth-century British geography
Charles W J Withers
Article first published online: 20 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00513.x

Genome geographies: mapping national ancestry and diversity in human population genetics
Catherine Nash
Article first published online: 18 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00512.x

Militant tropicality: war, revolution and the reconfiguration of ‘the tropics’c.1940–c.1975
Daniel Clayton
Article first published online: 18 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00510.x

Beginners and equals: political subjectivity in Arendt and Rancière
Mustafa Dikeç
Article first published online: 13 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00508.x

Scaling up by law? Canadian labour law, the nation-state and the case of the British Columbia Health Employees Union
Tod D Rutherford
Article first published online: 13 APR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00506.x

The Geographical Journal Content Alert: Volume 178, Issue 1 (March 2012)

The latest issue of The Geographical Journal is available on Wiley Online Library.

Click past the break to view the full table of contents.

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Energy dilemmas

I-Hsien Porter

In a paper in The Geographical Journal, Michael Bradshaw describes two pressures facing energy policy.

First, there is the need to guarantee a reliable and affordable supply of energy. Energy security can be threatened by domestic disputes (e.g. in France, recent strike action caused the country to import large amounts of electricity) and international tensions (which led Russia to restrict gas exports via a pipeline to Belarus, in June 2010).

Second, the current reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) is unsustainable. The economic and environmental costs of extracting fossil fuels, alongside the threat of climate change, means that it is increasingly difficult to match demand with carbon-based energy sources.

The Statement on Energy Policy, recently announced by the UK government, reflects these concerns. The policy envisages half the new energy capacity built in the UK between now and 2025 will come from renewable sources. Nuclear and wind power are highlighted as key areas for development.

However, as Bradshaw argues in his paper, emerging economies in the global South will cause a shift in global energy demand and production. Geographers can play a key role in informing national policies and investment, by linking changing patterns in global energy use and resource distribution, to national and local impacts.

The Guardian (18th October 2010) ‘Severn barrage ditched as new nuclear plants get green light’

Bradshaw, M. J. (2010) ‘Global energy dilemmas: a geographical perspective’, The Geographical Journal (Early view)

Fair trade?

by Jayne Glass

The Dean of Manchester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, is making sure that his parishioners are playing their part in helping to ensure that third world crop farmers are getting a fair price for their produce.  Having introduced what is thought to be the world’s first Fairtrade communion wine, Govender uses a Fairtrade Chilean wine during communion at the Cathedral.  About 70% of the churches in the diocese already use some Fairtrade products such as tea and coffee.  The Porterion Fairtrade Wine is imported from a co-operative in Chile by a company in Stone, Staffordshire.

In the Geographical Journal, Dorothea Kleine reports on the findings of her action research that was undertaken with different economic actors along the value chain of a Chilean Fairtrade wine.  Kleine explored how the internet and tracking and tracing technologies could be used to make value chains more transparent for consumers and producers.  She found that while supermarkets are the lead firms in the Fairtrade wine chain in terms of economic power, the producers and the Fairtrade certification body wield ‘moral power’ over other actors in the value chain, demonstrating cycles of mutual recognition and underpinning each others’ legitimacy and moral power.

Read the BBC news article: ‘Cathedral trials Fairtrade wine’

Read Kleine, D. (2008).  Negotiating partnerships, understanding power: doing action research on Chilean Fairtrade wine value chains. The Geographical Journal, 174(2), 109-123.