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School of Geography

Cities & Social Justice – PhD projects

We have considerable experience in guiding students successfully through a PhD and helping applicants develop proposals and seek funding. We particularly welcome applications from those candidates interested in utilising participatory and action research methodologies, and in any of the following areas. Please note that we also offer some of the topics below as a Masters by Research

For further details of our research and staff, please click here

1. Consumption cultures and subcultures

Exploring the impress of consumption and consumerist lifestyles on the city and on urban life is a key aspect of the cluster's research agenda. We are interested on the impacts of globalisation on traditional retail patterns and types of consumer behaviour. We look forward to research proposals on spaces of consumption and city living (from domestic and retail sites to recreational spaces such as parks and nightclubs) in both historical and contemporary cities, across a variety of cultural contexts and locations.

We would welcome research proposals on:

  • Downshifting and the Rural 'Creative Class'
  • Material and Embodied Spaces of Sexual Practices
  • Experiencing and Imagining New Technologies
  • Food and Identities
  • Drinking Cultures and Spaces
  • Social Uses of the Internet
  • Night-time economies
  • Gambling
  • Retail change in developing worlds
  • Consumption, diet, food access & growing levels of obesity

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

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2. Challenging neoliberal spaces

Neoliberalism has become one of the key terms used to interpret contemporary urban development. People now talk about the urbanisation of neoliberalism. We are interested in research that looks at social movements and resistance practices that have emerged in cities in the UK, Europe and across Latin America to resist life under capitalism and reinvent new forms of democracy and politics.

We would welcome research proposals on:

  • Autonomous social movements in the UK
  • Social movements in Latin America including Zapatista in Mexico and popular groups in Argentina
  • Social movements in Asia and Europe (urban and rural) challenging neoliberalism
  • Challenging the urban competitiveness discourse and practices
  • Environmental resistance movements
  • Climate justice movements
  • The privatisation of public space and services
  • International Trade Unions.
  • Global capitalism

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

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3. Urban memory and landscape

Landscape and the imprint of conflicting historical memories, ethnic identities and the contested claims over territories and landscapes are key research areas in our cluster. Our research expertise has two regional foci -- one is South and Southeast Europe, with a particular interest in Trieste, and the other is Japan, Taiwan and China.

We would welcome research proposals on:

  • Memory and Landscape in Trieste and the Slav Borderlands
  • Geographies of Japan and East Asia
  • Geographies of Empire

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

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4. Territorial governance and urban restructuring

Power in cities and regions is being reshaped in the UK and across Europe and East Asia. We are interested in questions of devolution towards regions and city-regions, rescaling and how this is affecting the power of groups in cities. Who governs our cities and regions? How are cities reinvented over time? We would welcome research proposal that look at these questions in the UK, Europe, Tokyo, Taipei and other East Asian Cities.

  • Power in the city
  • Regions and city-regions
  • Territorial Politics in Europe and East Asia
  • Regional policy and uneven development
  • Urban regeneration

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

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5. Cultural policy and regeneration

Proposals are welcome in the broad area of cultural and culture-led regeneration, including the use of food and drink spaces in regeneration, creative industries development, cultural policy, festivals and events, cultural tourism and cultural quarters. Culture is a major regeneration focus not only in Europe but increasingly in Chinese, Indian and other major Asian cities.

We welcome research proposals on:

  • Culture-led Regeneration
  • Hospitality and the City
  • City living
  • Re-imagining industrial cities

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

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6. Sustainable urban futures

Cities face immense challenges in the coming decades in terms of resource and energy use, transport, food, planning, architecture, work and housing patterns. Many urban areas, both large and small are pioneering new models for creating more sustainable patterns of urban life, while others are struggling to reinvent themselves. As cities grapple with what eco-urbanism, or sustainable urban futures might entail, the very idea of the city is up for grabs. We are interested in research proposals that explore these possible urban futures across a variety of contexts.

We welcome research proposals on:

  • Sustainable models of planning and regeneration
  • Urban food production
  • Ethical consumerism, fair trade, co-operativism
  • Sustainable and eco-housing
  • Localisation
  • Sustainable/green urban economics
  • Renewable energy

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

7. Traditional retail markets and new forms of gentrification

Traditional public markets, where food and other goods and services are sold, have been for centuries important features in cities across the world as economic hubs but also as places for social interaction and community building where many diverse groups of people meet. Many markets are currently undergoing transformation  and we see a tendency for gentrification. We are interested in supervising students looking at traditional markets in a variety of ways from historical analysis to ethnographic and policy analysis.

Cluster members interested in potential PhD students in this area:

 Paul Waley, Sara Gonzalez, Martin Purvis

   

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