Human Geography

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.

Human Geography

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This chapter summarises the material of the book. It revisits some of its core theoretical themes, suggesting that there are openings within the fissures presented by rentier capitalism’s corrosion of community, and its densification of everyday life within dwindling space. The author argues that these openings incorporate alternative strategies of social reproduction that signal a ‘will to become’: a desire for generational reconfiguration borne from the erosion of ‘secure’ pathways to traditional kinship structures.

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This chapter looks at the ways that affective politics circulate within precarious rental accommodation, amidst constricted desires and difficulties in holding boundaries. Moving from a discussion of sexual constriction to feelings of ‘displaced sovereignty’ among respondents who are mistreated by, yet defend, controlling landlord behaviour, the chapter makes connections between capital’s constriction of embodied agency and the suppression of political subjectivity. In the second part of the chapter, the author explores the efforts of queer collective households to realign their homes with desire for social and political transformation, and the tensions and challenges experienced along the way.

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This chapter sets out the substantive content of the book and its broad themes of generational inequality, housing unaffordability and intimate relationships. The chapter includes an account of the author’s personal housing experiences and an overview of their critique of the nuclear family. The author connects the generational disjunctures posed by housing inequality to the diminishing political purchase of the home-owning family, identifying the precarious intimacies of the rented sector as fertile ground for exploring this historical moment in the history of capitalism. There is also a discussion of methods.

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This chapter explores the immaterial, affective and invisibilised labour that renting respondents carried out to replenish their relationships. It first focuses on the affective labour carried out by some social housing residents affected by intergenerational histories of racial capitalism – something the author terms ‘cumulative precarity’. The chapter goes on to explore the precarious relational labour involved in creating a sense of belonging in transient, privately rented homes, looking at relationships to home improvement and outdoor space.

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This chapter draws out the politics of renting respondents’ reproductive imaginaries, and how they speak to the different lives that can be made and remade amidst precarity. The chapter explores the assumed dependentlessness embedded in the transient temporalities and dense spaces of London renting, and examines the ways that both social and private tenants’ access to social reproduction is eroded by the formulation of housing as either investment or consumption. The final section of this chapter shifts focus from the reproduction of families to the reproduction of romantic relationships.

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Generation, Rent and Reproducing Relationships in London

In a time of increasing social and economic inequality, this book illustrates the precarity experienced by millennials facing both rising rents and wage stagnation. Featuring the voices of those with lived experience of precarity in north-east London, MacNeil Taylor focuses on intimacy, reproduction and emotional labour.

The book widens readers’ understanding of a middle-class ‘generation rent’ beyond those locked out of anticipated home ownership by considering both social and private renters. Situated in a feminist and queer theoretical framework, the book reveals the crucial role of British policy-making on housing, welfare, and immigration on deepening inter- and intra-generational inequality.

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This chapter provides a conceptual overview of the theoretical literature and research on precarity, intimacy and reproduction. It unites these concepts to formulate a theory of precarious intimacy as the ‘place between difficulty and desire’ in insecure rented accommodation. This chapter also offers a geo-historical account of the assetisation of housing in Britain and specifically in London, with emphasis on the imperialist politics undergirding this process.

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The COVID-19 pandemic reveals economic, social and cultural fragilities even in those countries that were considered structurally solid. Among the most damaged sectors, the higher education and training sector stands out with serious consequences for its stakeholders. This chapter deals with the COVID-19 emergency in Italian higher education. The emergency pointed out some vulnerabilities of Italian universities but also enlightened their resilience. In a short time, most of them were able to ensure teaching activities continuity by moving online. Teaching activities are among the main aims of higher education, but they are often taken for granted and undervalued, with research activities receiving more attention. The pandemic brought teaching activities back to the centre of attention. Therefore, it became fundamental to redesign teaching activities using distance learning methods even if almost all stakeholders (including university lecturers) were unprepared. In addition to the difficulties in accepting and using information technologies, lecturers challenged themselves with planning and designing new forms of teaching to protect students’ attendance and ensure adequate learning. The chapter reflects on the experience of the University of Milan-Bicocca. It discusses the outcomes of survey research administered to university staff and proposes new teaching strategies moving beyond the emergency.

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The earthquake that occurred on 23 November 1980 has been one of the largest disastrous seismic events in Italy. It affected a large area in Southern Italy, destroyed dozens of towns and caused thousands of deaths. After four decades, the traces of destruction, temporary solutions and reconstruction are still evident in the landscape. Above all, we can find personal experiences and interpretations of these long-term processes in the memory of affected population. Through the analysis of some testimonies collected in the affected areas, this chapter illustrates how the inhabitants perceive the changes that occurred and transmitted their experiences within the community and through the generations. These changes concern the sudden disappearance of the lived space, the loss of human life, the mourning, the choices for reconstruction and the economic changes, as well as the trauma and a shared social experience that has influenced people’s lives and expectations for years. These elements are embodied in the social fabric and, in their testimonies, local communities give a new meaning to their history. The chapter demonstrates that a long adaptation process begins after each disaster. A perspective on memory helps us to investigate in depth the complex relationships between human beings and their environment.

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Vesuvius is one of the most worrying volcanoes in the world, because it is located in a vast urbanized area with millions of inhabitants. After its last eruption in 1944, volcanologists believe that Vesuvius is in a dormant phase of unknown duration. To prepare for future eruptions, the Italian government issued a ‘National Emergency Plan’ in 1995, which divided the exposed area into several danger zones (red, yellow, and blue). The red zone now includes the 24 municipalities closest to the volcano and potentially affected by volcanic material. The yellow zone includes 63 municipalities across three provinces (Naples, Salerno and Avellino) and over 1 million people. While the political agenda focuses on the red zone, it dedicates less attention to the yellow zone, which is considered, wrongly, less dangerous. This chapter focuses on the Agro Nocerino-Sarnese, an area in the yellow zone comprising 16 municipalities and around 300,000 inhabitants. Historically agricultural, this area has radically changed since the Second World War, in a combination of limited restrictions on urban development and scarce prevention and preparedness measures. Therefore, the yellow zone continues to grow by pursuing chaotic patterns of urban expansion, which prevent proper risk planning.

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