WHO WE ARE

The Politics, Economies and Place research group aims to create friendly spaces for the sharing of ideas and, ideally, baked goods. We are a group of postgraduate students and staff at the University of Auckland. Our research interests are diverse, but we find common ground in how the stuff of politics and/or economies ‘take place’. Check out what we’ve been doing on our Publications page and Blog. You can also hear from a few of our former postgraduate students on our Our Graduates page.

WHAT WE DO

We study the ways in which political and economic practices are entangled in their spatial contexts, from cities and regions, to the nation and beyond. Politics (how we make collective decisions) and economy (how we steward resources to generate livelihoods and reproduce society) are central to the organisation of social and cultural life. We examine their spatiality as both source and outcome of social change at multiple scales. Our staff and postgraduate students research assemblages of practices and actors in both micro (eg. events, organisations) and macro (eg. cities, regions, nations) spaces. We draw on insights from urban, economic and political geography, and are particularly interested in how post-structural ideas and practice-centred methodologies can enrich political economy critique of social change.

PEP ACADEMIC RESEARCH STAFF

Dr Tom Baker

Dr Tom Baker

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

Tom researches the politics and practice of policy-making and the governance of socio-economic marginality.

Dr Emma Sharp

Dr Emma Sharp

Lecturer in Human Geography

Emma’s research focusses on food politics and systems, the diverse economies of environment, care, and, intersectionality. 

Professor Robin Kearns

Professor Robin Kearns

Professor of Geography

Robin researches the politics and human experience of place and the links between place and wellbeing.

Associate Professor Nick Lewis

Associate Professor Nick Lewis

Associate Professor of Human Geography

Nick researches the knowledge infrastructures of economisation by which social, political and economic practices and relations are assembled into material and discursive formations such as industry or national economy, and in turn made available for politics, management and policy making.  

Professor Laurence Murphy

Professor Laurence Murphy

Professor of Human Geography

Larry’s research interests include finance capital and the built environment, globalisation and world cities, housing finance, and housing policy and urban change.

CURRENT PEP POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS

Salene Schloffel-Armstrong

Salene Schloffel-Armstrong

PhD Student

Salene is a PhD student currently working on a doctorate investigating the place of the public library in the contemporary city. Her other research interests include public space, infrastructures of care and housing.

Georgia McLellan

Georgia McLellan

PhD Student

Georgia is doing doing her PhD on Māori kuku economies with Nick Lewis and Emma Sharp. Her tentative PhD title is: From taonga species to high-value export Commodity, the transformation of Māori kuku economies.

Angus Dowell

Angus Dowell

Masters Student

Angus is a recent masters student interested in the intersection between economic geography and just transitions. His thesis explored the formation of regenerative economies in New Zealand. Despite the photo, Angus has a strong affinity with dogs.

Emily Stevens

Emily Stevens

PhD Student

Emily is a PhD candidate exploring the ways in which knowledge is produced through life course research in Aotearoa New Zealand. With her Masters thesis exploring the political/moral economy of greyhound rehoming, her interests are quite eclectic and don’t all involve dogs. She’s looking forward to engaging with feminist science and technology studies for her doctorate.

Neil Lindsay

Neil Lindsay

Masters Student

Neil is interested in how particular environments influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, and is currently investigating the psychological role of music festivals. An academic octopus of sorts, Neil has written on digital mental heath geographies, critical toponym studies, and island studies. In his downtime, Neil runs the School of Environment Students Association (RTEA), and plays as a musician for musical theatre shows.

Valentine Ibeka

Valentine Ibeka

PhD Student

Valentine’s ongoing research which is situated at the intersection between Human Geography and Development Studies comparatively examines educational migrations to Denmark and New Zealand. In using theoretical framings from Pierre Bourdieu and by following the lives of educational migrants in Denmark and New Zealand, Valentine explores the intersection of education, migration and development​.

Ingrid Petersen

Ingrid Petersen

PhD Student

Ingrid is a PhD candidate in the School of Environment exploring the ways Aotearoa New Zealand might move towards just food futures. Her research focusses on alternative biological economies, feminist and more-than-human geography, food sovereignty, and just transitions.

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