Current projects in process
GeoPolitics of Deep Oceans
In July, 2014, the Global Ocean Commission, a high-level initiative captained by 17 blue chip politicians, heads of major organizations and business leaders including the former President of Costa Rica (José María Figueres) and Prime Minister of Canada (Paul Martin) released their final report, From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean. Human activity, the Commission Report says, has put the world’s oceans on a dangerous trajectory of decline, threatened right now by climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, acidification, oil and gas spills; and, in the future, by deep-sea mineral mining, biological prospecting and geo-engineering.
In The Geopolitics of Deep Oceans, my new book, I look at key geopolitical challenges and conflicts related to the deep oceans, as outlined in by the Global Ocean Commission’s Report. Specifically, I argue that the contemporary geopolitics of the deep ocean is constructed through and around four master narratives (big stories), which I have labeled: ‘Oceanic Frontiers’; ‘Scramble for Advantage ’; ‘Governing the Abyss’; and ’Saving the Oceans’. Rather than being self contained and mutually exclusive, these narratives frequently overlap, collude and collide within a ‘discursive policy field. The Geopolitics of Deep Oceans is written in a lively and accessible style for readers who aren’t experts in marine biology, oceanography or maritime law, but want to know concisely and reliably what is going on. To be published by the Polity Press in 2015, the book has four chapters (plus introduction and conclusion) and is approximately 50,000 words long.
Handbook of New Urban Studies
It has been more than a decade since the publication of the SAGE Handbook of Urban Studies and the field has developed rapidly in the intervening years. With this in mind, SAGE has commissioned another Handbook, which will bring this important review up to date and add many new dimensions to this dynamic field. The Handbook of New Urban Studies, co-edited by Greg Richards (Leisure Studies,Tilburg University) and myself brings together a multidisciplinary group of leading global scholars to review, critique and explore recent advances and trends in urban studies.
This state of the art volume will consist entirely of original commissioned chapters of between 5,000 and 8,000 words each. It will draw upon the insight of experts working in mainstream urban studies and commentators from related fields, such as architecture, cultural studies, geography, economics, political science and sociology and urban planning. The collection will re-examine the central conceptual pillars of the field, as well as spotlighting emerging sub-fields that reflect recent developments in the study of the city and urbanity.
The Handbook of New Urban Studies will be published by SAGE in 2016.
Katrina as Metaphor and Template for the "urban apocalypse"
“It’s the end of the city (as we know it) ”: Katrina as metaphor and template for the ‘urban apocalypse’
The concept of the urban apocalypse occupies a distinct place in contemporary thought and literature, from descriptions of ‘landscapes of nightmare’ in twentieth century ‘ American city fiction,’ to predictions of looming social unrest and ecological catastrophe in contemporary Los Angeles made in Mike Davis’ seminal book Ecology of Fear (1998). In this chapter, I argue that the prime importance of the “Katrina effect’ is that it refashions this apocalyptic social imaginary into an urban future defined by catastrophic natural disaster, racial and environmental inequality, urban chaos, and societal breakdown. I link this emerging vision of urban apocalypse to a dystopian scenario of global climate change and energy shortages, where, as British sociologist John Urry (Societies Beyond Oil, 2013) imagines, the rich and powerful isolate themselves in fortified enclaves, while those without resources live in bleak, dystopian ‘wild zones’.
The chapter will appear in William Taylor, Michael Levine, Oenone Rocksby and Joely-Kym Sobatt (eds.), The Katrina Effect: Reflections on a Disaster and Our Future (Bloomsbury Press, 2015), a collection of essays with photographs explaining the impact of Hurricane Katrina on contemporary discourse.