Research Themes

The individual doctoral study projects will explore three interconnecting research themes:

Wego thematic diagram
The three interconnected research themes of the WEGO-ITN project.
Climate Change, Economic Development and Extractivism

How communities respond to economic and ecological changes in everyday social struggles and organizing for well-being in efforts to move out of situations of inequality, exclusion and poverty.

Theme one will research the community response to climate change, neoliberal capitalism and extractive development processes. The focus will be on how communities respond to economic and ecological changes in everyday social struggles and organizing for well-being in efforts to move out of situations of inequality, exclusion and poverty. The individual projects will explore gender power relations in organizing for the security and protection of local natural resources in Nepal, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania and the UK. The studies are based in Global South contexts as well as Europe in order to look for modalities of power that cross different geographical contexts, and that produce similarities and differences in community responses to the impacts of climate change, economic development and resource extractivism, and the forms of knowledge, power and authority that sustain extractive development processes.

The shared framework will look at:

1. modes of governing natural resources by national and international governments and private companies;

2. forms of community mobilization to defend water and food security, energy, livelihoods and demand fair labour conditions; and

3. alliances being formed by communities within and across different locations with attention to gendered cultural, social and economic resource-reallocation.

money diagram forest diagram factories diagram

PhD Topics

  1. Climate change adaptation programmes and political violence in Nepal
  2. Virtual water flows: re-articulating gendered structures of accumulation along emerging agro-food commodity chains in Maharashtra, India
  3. The feminist political ecology of mining on gender and ethnic identities in Kalimantan, Indonesia
  4. The politics of uncertainty and adaptation to climate change in Kenya and Tanzania
  5. Drilling through the Anthropocene: fracking, land and expertise in contemporary Britain
Commoning, Community Economies and the Politics of Care   

How gender relations are being shaped in emerging practices of commoning, community economies and work of care for families and communities in successful strategies of ‘living well together’.

This theme will focus on in-depth case studies in six countries of commoning experiments. Special attention will be placed on the relationships between gender relations and resource extraction and governance to understand how commoning can add to transformation of sustainability outcomes. The individual projects will have a strong focus on the Global North (Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Scotland and Japan) as well as the Global South (India and Indonesia). The PhDs will benefit from the on-going relations with communities where WEGO beneficiaries and partners are actively engaged. The projects will examine how changing gender relations in rural communities have come under pressure from changing resource depletion as well as policy changes that have transformed the political economy of small-scale communities.

The shared framework will look at how communities are being transformed into more resilient and sustainable ones by exploring:

1. ‘commoning’ efforts to promote the recovery of their food security and their communities;

2. care practices in interconnected spaces, the enterprise, its members’ households and embedded communities and environments;

3. subjectivities (masculinities and femininities) to create and enable a more inclusive community and commitment to place;

4. market rationalities in the shift to alternative ideas of sustainable livelihoods;

5. entrepreneurial practices and resource management by community groups linking rural producers and urban consumers; and

6. political and ecological consequences of new value chains and how they intersect with notions of class, gender, religion (caste) and age.

handshake diagram family diagram meeting diagram

PhD Topics

  1. Community, commoning and care in the ruins of post-oil palm landscapes in Indonesia
  2. Eating relations: community economies, belonging and place-based food in the megacity Chennai, India
  3. The politics of care and defining the good life: elderly women’s community food economies in rural Japan
  4. Transformation of small-scale fishing communities
  5. The politics of food in urban southern Europe
  6. Women organizations in gendered economic landscapes in rural Italy
Nature/Culture/ Embodiment and Technologies 

How environmental justice takes into account the ways embodied, gendered and everyday lived experiences are mediated by technological interventions marked by economic and social inequalities that require a rethinking of issues around reproduction, production and population growth.

The projects in this research area will explore how people and communities are facing dramatic ecological and economic change in an analysis of today’s disquieting troubles about: the impact of environmental degradation fueled by consumerism on both human and non-human lives; the difficulty to include queer movement’s analysis of environmental change in policy debates; the gendered governance of water; the ethical concerns around the escalating interdependence of bodies and technologies; and how advocates of reproductive freedom can address the problem of growing populations and scarce resources. What is new and exciting is the focus on the body as the first place where people experience the environment as well as the political struggle of people to claim control over their own biological, social and cultural embodied experiences. The research will move beyond the conventional environmental focus on nature that separates humans from their environments. Instead, it will look at how bodies, technologies and economies need to be understood as integral to understanding our material environment and ecological practice and theory.

The shared framework will look at:

1. the concept of naturecultures and how to look at the interrelationship of human and non-human in changing ecologies and economies;

2. the emerging narratives that can unmake and make new worlds in the “turn” to new eco-criticism and new eco-politics; and

3. the interdependence of technologies, ecologies and bodies and the implication for sustainable development policy frameworks.

gears diagrambarchart diagramwater diagram

PhD Topics

  1. Social (re)production and the good life in a post-growth society: a feminist and queer perspective
  2. Liquid encounters - fluid conversations around water, environment, and gendered naturecultures
  3. Bodies, technologies and well-being
  4. Population growth and environmental justice: rethinking reproductive freedom

In addition, training laboratories will be held annually engaging with partners in the network from University of Auckland (UoA), University of Vermont (UVM), University of Western Sydney (UWS), Defensoria del Vecino de Montevideo (DVM), Island Institute (II), Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM), Associazione Culturale “Punti di Vista” (PDV), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Centre for Social Studies-University of Coimbra (CES-UC) and Swarthmore College (SC).