Our Human Geography list tackles the big issues, from equality to population growth to sustainability, publishing in cultural and social geography, development geography, political geography, qualitative and quantitative research methods and urban geography.
The list includes internationally renowned names such as Danny Dorling, Loretta Lees and Anne Power. We publish a range of formats including research books that bridge theory and apply it to practice.
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This chapter thinks from care and repair towards a worldly form of hope. Reclaiming the concept from its salvationist roots, it offers instead a deflationary account in which hope functions as an ordinary feature of being in the world – and one which deepens rather than reduces our entanglements with the nature-cultures around us. It advances several propositions. Hope is not predictive (and therefore cannot be falsified or disproved). The measure of hope is not accuracy, but efficacy: its ability to hold more meaningful forms of action in the world. Hope may be expressed in change and transformation, but also more modest forms of patience and enduring. While often called to the fore in moments of crisis and transition, hope is above all a property of ordinary work, from whence comes it depth and power. Finally, hope is a collective accomplishment – something we do together in the world, in concert with others and with things.
In this chapter I describe the practices of farmers who are rearing beef cattle exclusively on the forage of grass pastures as ‘mending ecologies’. To mend ecologies requires intimate observation of what has broken down, as well as specific spaces for experimentation, collaboration and repair. I describe how this mending, and the new ecologies that emerge as a result, involve a gradual re-materialization of the whole body of the farm, in a way that counters the mode of production of industrialized livestock agriculture. Farmer members of the Pasture Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) are deliberately making spaces for this re-materialization: their farms are accommodating new forms of attention and human labour, new multi-species interactions, and new configurations of infrastructure and expertise. Such re-arrangements are risky and fallible. But they are, at the same time, a hopeful reclamation of the socioecological fabric – part of what our editors have called the ‘unfolding, relational and inter-connected movements of ecological reparation’. As such, they brim with a new sensual repertoire – bringing new sounds, colours, textures, rhythms and emotions to the material practices of the livestock farm.
Ecological Reparation engages with social-environmental degradation by attempting to rethink concepts and practices that may be needed to repair damaged ecologies and to claim reparations for persistent inequities and injustices. The volume brings together a multiplicity of original contributions of international scholars in science and technology studies, environmental studies, ecological humanities, art and design, geography, anthropology and other social sciences exploring a multiplicity of socio-ecological struggles as well as insurgent and inventive modes of conservation, mending, care and empowerment of more than human ecologies.
When a factory shuts down, it destroys the territory at environmental, economic and social level, leaving behind an ecology of despair. Resistance is the leap from despair to repair. In this chapter, I follow the story of Ri-Maflow, a recuperated factory in the north of Italy. Repair is here understood as pairing together once again what has been separated: the workers and their factory, the factory and its territory. In this sense Ri-Maflow represents an ecology of repair: beyond and against despair and degradation, recuperating a factory means repairing the lives of despaired workers made redundant by the logic of capitalist delocalizations and limiting the damage to the environment threatened by an otherwise abandoned factory with its toxic pollutants. But it also shows the other meaning of reparation: the occupation of the warehouse becomes a form of compensation for the damage that the territory and its inhabitants have suffered.
Building on the history of technology, science, technology and society studies and environmental history, the chapter compares wind energy that is based on small-scale, local storage, and care for saving, and, on the other hand, wind energy that relies on large-scale generation, long distance transmission and profiting through consumption. This is further linked to the difference between open wind structures, which are explicit about their dependence on physical labour/agency (human and that of the rest of nature), and partially black-boxed/encased ones, which conceal it. On the grounds of this difference, ecological reparation, based as it is on a transition from consuming to saving, becomes an issue of social resistance to the technological encasement of physical agency. In the vocabulary of STS, ecological reparation is about opening technology’s black-box. To elaborate on the technological encasement/concealment of the physical, the chapter briefly points to the similarities between soft/renewable energy and analog/software computing.
Remembering can act as a work of connecting past and present, providing a connective tissue for making lives meaningful. In cases where the remembered past is traumatic or ‘difficult’ in some way, remembering constitutes an act of repair that is grounded in the very specific ecological settings and practices in which the person is located. In this piece, we discuss the case of mental health service users detained within a secure forensic inpatient mental health facility where remembering intersects with a broader notion of mental health ‘recovery’. We describe the ways in which memory comes to matter for patients and the dilemmas this creates. We focus in particular on the informal practices adopted by ward staff as they support patients’ memory work. We argue that a ‘process-ecological’ approach to remembering can inform practical decisions are around care planning and the ward design of the setting.
Craft (noun): [countable, uncountable] an activity involving a special skill at making things with your hands
I crafted this piece (which is both textile and text) from diverse threads. One thread is made of a myriad of threads and brings the story of the making of a textile piece. An activity that produces the cloth and shapes relations, humans, knowledge, textile materials and subjectivities within it. The crafting of a hand-made ecology. The second thread is spun of fictional voices of various theorists and my reflexive voice. It is aimed to (un)make in order to understand what happens while weaving. And the third thread tells my personal story of grief and how I (un)make myself through crafting.
Therefore, the meaning of craft was modified for this piece. Here, it is both verb and noun. It is an activity involving special skills not only to make, but to (un)make; and not only things, but humans. And it is also a textile woven.
Since the 1950s, the rural midlands of Ireland have been the site of large-scale industrial peat-cutting. With the phasing out of the peat industry, these post-industrial ‘waste’ landscapes are now being positioned as central to the country’s ‘green’ and ‘smart’ futures as sites for renewable energy, carbon sequestration and information services. Contemporary discourses of waste and bog landscapes resonate with discourses in the 18th and 19th centuries, when colonial efforts to drain and reclaim these semi-aqueous territories were driven by moral as well as economic imperatives. In this chapter, we aim to disrupt linear accounts of bog progress and ruination that rely on binaries of waste/value, to surface ‘submerged’ bog relations that pre-date and endure in spite of their designation as ‘un-valuable’ within colonial and post-colonial economies. Our contribution is that ‘repair’, rooted in maintenance, endurance and liveability, while not spectacular, resists the temporality of boom/bust, even if remaining ambivalent in political expression.
This conclusion answers the main question posed by the book: if corporate smart promises are inadequate in responding meaningfully to urban challenges in Africa, how do disruptive practices that use digital platforms do so more effectively? It also tells the conceptual story about how we make sense of socio-technical change in geographies that are politically unstable, spatially fragmented and highly inequitable, using a postcolonial STS approach. The chapter is structured around five dimensions of platform urbanism in African cities: space; the importance of flow and connection in socio-technical relations; the centrality of trust and continuity in enabling the application of technology; the tensions between existing governance frames and emerging regimes because of the digital evolution; and the African city as hybrid, that is, a messy entanglement of the old and the new.
Social mobilization is an important feature of African cities where inequality and political power undermine livelihoods. By examining digitally driven activism in South Africa and Sierra Leone, this chapter explores the notion of ‘cyborg activism’ to illustrate the experiential and hybrid dimensions of such processes. Co-production of knowledge is an important aspect of these examples because the notion of agency is revised and revisited.