Dr David Tyfield


Research Overview

Current Teaching

I have not been teaching while based in Guangzhou.

In January 2017, I will take over LEC322 Cultural Geography.

Research Interests

Current Research Activities

My current research develops my interests in the normative and political/power dimensions of the processes of knowledge production and their interaction with issues of global cultural political economy, especially regarding critical analysis of the emergence of a globalised "knowledge-based" economy, climate change and the rise of China. I am particularly interested currently in issues regarding innovation, inequality and advanced liberalism. This has three threads:

1) Low-Carbon Socio-Technical Systems Transition in China, especially regarding automobility and agri-food.

Relating to this work, and an interest in the politics of the discourse of 'responsible innovation', I was PI in a British Council grant (April 2014 - April 2015) on 'Responsibly Innovating Energy for Mobility: Brazil, China, UK', with colleagues at UFABC (Dr Leo de Mello), Strathclyde (Dr Brian Garvey) as well as UniCamp (Dr Andre Campos).

From December 2013, I am Co-I and lead project coordinator on the ESRC project 'Low Carbon Innovation in China - Prospects, Politics and Practice', and leading the Research Package on urban electro-mobility. This project is in collaboration with colleagues at CeMoRe, Lancaster University (Prof John Urry, Dr Dennis Zuev); STEPS Centre, Sussex University (Dr Adrian Ely, Dr Sam Geall); SOAS (Dr Frauke Urban); Tsinghua University (Dr Yu WANG); Tsinghua University Graduate School, Shenzhen (Dr Ping LI); and the CAS Centre for Agricultural Policy (Dr Yiching SONG).

2) The Cultural Political Economy of Research & Innovation - following the argument of my book (2 Volumes, Routledge, 2012), 'The Economics of Science - A Critical Realist Overview' I continue my interest in the interaction between changing practices of R&I and a changing political economy. Based on a Lancaster University Early Career Small Grant (2011-13), this has involved workshops on the 'Political Economy of Research & Innovation' in both Lancaster (October 2012) and at York University in Toronto (December 2013). Further annual workshops have been held since then, with the 3rd in the series at University of California, San Diego (March 2015) and the 4th to be held in June 2016 at the University of Liege.

3) These various themes are being brought together in a book project for Routledge, to be completed in 2015 on the inter-relation between the crises of neoliberalism and innovation.

A related argument, concerning new knowledge politics of complex systems and the need for a New Social Contract, in response to commentary about the UK election 2015, is available here.

For my blog pieces 'On Post-Capitalism', reviewing Paul Mason's book of that title, are also available: Part 1 (Overview), Part 2 (Information Capitalism), Part 3 (Kondratiev Waves).


Before starting my PhD, I studied Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology at Oxford and the Philosophy of Social Sciences at LSE. I also qualified as a solicitor, working in London and Brussels in various areas of corporate and commercial law, including intellectual property law and EU competition law. Bringing together these interests, I began my PhD in the Philosophy and Sociology of Science at Exeter in 2003. My research was based across two institutions: the Centre for Philosophy of the Social Sciences and the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (Egenis), the sister-centre of Lancaster's CESAGen. My thesis was a multidisciplinary examination of the dramatic changes to the funding of science, especially the biosciences, that have occurred since 1980 including the growth of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in scientific research, alongside the global strengthening of IPRs under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation's TRIPs agreement. By examining how TRIPs came to be signed, a theory for the (critical) realist examination of the economics of science is elaborated. This includes concerted attention to the role and importance of philosophical/ontological reflection in the development of social scientific theory. The project thus engages with work in the philosophy of science, science & technology studies, innovation economics, international relations (particularly regarding IPRs), critical theory and cultural political economy.

Additional Information

Administrative Roles

From March 2014 - and specifically from August 2014 when I relocated to Guangzhou - I am Director of the International Research & Innovation Centre for the Environment (I-RICE), a joint initiative between Lancaster Environment Centre and the CAS Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry (GIGCAS). I-RICE is a platform for international and inter-disciplinary research on the 'grand challenges' of the environment.

From 2013, I am a Director (Communications) for the Centre for Mobilities Research, one of the four Lancaster University Research Centres.

Innovating Innovation: Disruptive Innovation in China and the Low-Carbon Transition of Capitalism
Tyfield, D.P. 03/2018 In: Energy Research and Social Science. 37, p. 266-274. 9 p.
Journal article

Stasis, Dynamism and Emergence of the e-Mobility System in China: a Power Relational Perspective
Tyfield, D.P., Zuev, D. 01/2018 In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 126, p. 259-270. 12 p.
Journal article

Green Keynesianism: Bringing the entrepreneurial state back in(to question)?
Goldstein, J., Tyfield, D.P. 2018 In: Science as Culture. 27, 1, p. 74-97. 24 p.
Journal article

Critical perspectives on disruptive innovation and energy transformation
Wilson, C., Tyfield, D. 3/11/2017 In: Energy Research and Social Science.
Journal article

Liberalism 2.0 and the Rise of China: Global Crisis, Innovation and Urban Mobility
Tyfield, D.P. 18/08/2017 London : Routledge. 264 p. ISBN: 9781138832633.

Blinded by (Economic) Science
Tyfield, D.P. 07/2017 In: Metascience. 26, 2, 5 p.
Book/Film/Article review

Introduction: beyond crisis in the knowledge economy
Tyfield, D.P., Lave, R., Randalls, S., Thorpe, C. 4/05/2017 In: The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science. London : Routledge ISBN: 9781138922983.

Research and innovation (and) after neoliberalism: the case of Chinese smart e-mobility
Tyfield, D.P. 4/05/2017 In: The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science. Routledge ISBN: 9781138922983.

The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Science
Tyfield, D.P., Lave, R., Randalls, S., Thorpe, C. 4/05/2017 London : Routledge. 486 p. ISBN: 9781138922983.

The political economy of technical fixes: the (mis)alignment of clean fossil and political regimes
Markusson, N.O., Gjefsen, M.D., Stephens, J., Tyfield, D.P. 01/2017 In: Energy Research and Social Science. 23, p. 1-10. 10 p.
Journal article

Realizing the Beckian vision: cosmopolitan cosmopolitanism and low-carbon China as political education
Tyfield, D.P. 1/12/2016 In: Theory, Culture and Society. 33, 7-8, p. 301-309. 9 p.
Journal article

Building the new international science of the agri-food-water-environment nexus in China and the world
Zhu, X.G., Parry, M.A.J., Lu, Y., Heard, M.S., Ying, G., Vaughan, S., Shen, J., Jenkins, A., Wang, Y., Lacorte, S., Ouyang, T., Pedrero Salcedo, F., Niu, J., Quinton, J.N., Luo, C., Zhang, F., Zhang, G., Davies, W.J., Jones, K.C., Tyfield, D.P. 11/2016 In: Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. 2, 11, 7 p.
Journal article

Doing methodological cosmopolitanism in a mobile world
Tyfield, D.P., Blok, A. 31/10/2016 In: Mobilities. 11, 4, p. 629-641. 13 p.
Journal article

Mobility intersections: social research, social futures
Buscher, M., Sheller, M., Tyfield, D.P. 31/10/2016 In: Mobilities. 11, 4, p. 485-497. 13 p.
Journal article

Low-carbon mobility transitions in China
Tyfield, D.P., Zuev, D. 30/09/2016 In: Low Carbon Mobility Transitions. Oxford : Goodfellow Publishers Ltd ISBN: 9781910158647.

Mobilizing the emergence of phronetic techosciencesocieties: low-carbon e-mobility in China
Tyfield, D.P. 5/09/2016 In: Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook. Springer

The economics of research: the contribution of critical realism
Tyfield, D.P. 12/07/2016 In: Crisis system. London : Routledge p. 30-47. 18 p. ISBN: 9780415818742.

From neoliberalizing research to researching neoliberalism: STS, rentiership and the emergence of commons 2.0
Birch, K., Tyfield, D.P., Chiappetta, M. 8/07/2016 In: SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism. Sage Publishing ISBN: London.

The Politics and Practices of Low-Carbon Urban Mobility in China: 4 Future Scenarios
Tyfield, D.P., Zuev, D., Li, P., Urry, J. 23/06/2016 Lancaster : Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University
Working paper

Science, innovation and neoliberalism
Tyfield, D.P. 21/06/2016 In: The handbook of neoliberalism. Routledge ISBN: 9781138844001.

An open letter in support of transformative biotechnology and social innovation: SANKO University Innovation Summit in Medicine and Integrative Biology, Gaziantep, Turkey, May 5-7, 2016 (Letter)
Tyfield, D.P. 19/04/2016 In: OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology. 20, 4, 4 p.

‘What is to be done?’: insights and blind spots from cultural political economy(s)
Tyfield, D. 10/2015 In: Journal of Critical Realism. 14, 5, p. 530-548. 19 p.
Journal article

‘Meet the new boss … same as the old boss?’: technology, toil and tension in the agrofuel frontier
Garvey, B., Tyfield, D., De Mello, L.F. 21/07/2015 In: New Technology, Work and Employment. 30, 2, p. 79-94. 16 p.
Journal article

Low carbon innovation in China: from overlooked opportunities and challenges to transitions in power relations and practices
Tyfield, D., Ely, A., Geall, S. 07/2015 In: Sustainable Development. 23, 4, p. 206-216. 11 p.
Journal article

Socio-economic data for global environmental change research
Otto, I., Biewald, A., Coumou, D., Feulner, G., Köhler, C., Nocke, T., Blok, A., Gröber, A., Selchow, S., Tyfield, D., Volkmer, I., Schellnhuber, H.J., Beck, U. 06/2015 In: Nature Climate Change. 5, 6, p. 503-506. 4 p.
Journal article

Low carbon innovation in Chinese urban mobility: prospects, politics and practices
Tyfield, D., Zuev, D., Li, P., Urry, J. 2015 Brighton : STEPS Centre, 70 p.
Working paper

Low-carbon innovation in China: prospects, politics and practices
Tyfield, D., Ely, A., Urban, F., Geall, S., Zuev, D., Urry, J. 2015 Brighton : STEPS Centre, 43 p.
Working paper

Editorial introduction: introduction to special issue on ‘Mobilities and Foucault’
Tyfield, D., Manderscheid, K., Schwanen, T. 22/10/2014 In: Mobilities. 9, 4, p. 479-492. 23 p.
Journal article

Putting the power in ‘socio-technical regimes’ – e-mobility transition in China as political process
Tyfield, D. 22/10/2014 In: Mobilities. 9, 4, p. 585-603. 18 p.
Journal article

King Coal is dead, long live the King!: the coal renaissance in the emergence of low carbon societies
Tyfield, D. 09/2014 In: Theory, Culture and Society. 31, 5, p. 59-81. 23 p.
Journal article

Special issue: energy & society
Tyfield, D., Urry, J. 09/2014 In: Theory, Culture and Society. 31, 5
Special issue

Responsible innovation across borders: tensions, paradoxes and possibilities
MacNaghten, P., Owen, R., Stilgoe, J., Wynne, B., Azevedo, A., de Campos, A., Chilvers, J., Dagnino, R., di Giulio, G., Frow, E., Garvey, B., Groves, C., Hartley, S., Knobel, M., Kobayashi, M., Lehtonen, M., Lezaun, J., Mello, L., Monteiro, M., Pamplona da Costa, J., Rigolin, C., Rondani, B., Staykova, M., Taddei, R., Till, C., Tyfield, D., Wilford, S., Velho, L. 18/06/2014 In: Journal of Responsible Innovation. 1, 2, p. 191-199. 9 p.
Journal article

Complexity, knowledge politics and the remaking of class: response to Levins
Tyfield, D. 06/2014 In: International Critical Thought. 4, 2, p. 241-254. 14 p.
Journal article

Transition to Science 2.0: ‘remoralizing’ the economy of science
Tyfield, D. 12/2013 In: Spontaneous Generations : A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science. 7, 1, p. 29-48. 20 p.
Journal article

Theorizing the Bioeconomy: Biovalue, Biocapital, Bioeconomics or...What?
Birch, K., Tyfield, D. 05/2013 In: Science, Technology, and Human Values. 38, 3, p. 299-327. 29 p.
Journal article

Transportation and low-carbon development
Tyfield, D. 7/03/2013 In: Low carbon development. London : Routledge
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Cosmopolitan communities of climate risk: conceptual and empirical suggestions for a new research agenda
Beck, U., Blok, A., Tyfield, D., Zhang, J.Y. 01/2013 In: Global Networks. 13, 1, p. 1-21. 21 p.
Journal article

The Demise of Capitalism?: Lessons from an Entropic Perspective on the Current Crises - Review of Robert Biel (2012) 'The Entropy of Capitalism'
Tyfield, D. 01/2013 In: Journal of Critical Realism. 12, 1, p. 112-128. 17 p.
Journal article

Greening China’s ‘Cars’: Could the Last be First?
Tyfield, D., Urry, J. 09/2012 Lancaster : Lancaster University
Working paper

The Economics of Science – A Case Study in the Contribution of Ontology
Tyfield, D. 07/2012
Conference paper

A Cultural Political Economy of Research and Innovation in an Age of Crisis
Tyfield, D. 06/2012 In: Minerva. 50, 2, p. 149-167. 19 p.
Journal article

The economics of science : a critical realist overview. Volume 1.: Illustrations and philosophical preliminaries
Tyfield, D. 11/11/2011 London : Routledge. 248 p. ISBN: 9780415498357.

The economics of science : a critical realist overview. Volume 2.: Towards a synthesis of political economy and science and technology studies
Tyfield, D. 11/11/2011 London : Routledge. 232 p. ISBN: 9780415688734.

Food systems transition and disruptive low carbon innovation: implications for a food security research agenda.
Tyfield, D. 07/2011 In: Journal of Experimental Botany. 62, 11, p. 3701-3706. 6 p.
Journal article

Low carbon China : the role of international collaboration.
Tyfield, D., Wilsdon, J. 29/10/2010 In: Sustainable reform and development in post-Olympic China. London : Routledge 224 p. ISBN: 978-0415559560.

Game-changing China : lessons from China about disruptive low carbon innovation.
Tyfield, D., Jin, J., Rooker, T. 06/2010 London : NESTA, 52 p.

Cosmopolitan China?
Tyfield, D., Urry, J. 2010 In: Soziale Welt. 61, 3-4, p. 277-294. 18 p.
Journal article

Low-carbon disruptive innovation in China.
Tyfield, D., Jin, J. 2010 In: Journal of Knowledge-based Innovation in China. 2, 3, p. 269-282. 14 p.
Journal article

Low-carbon innovation in China – introduction to the special issue
Tyfield, D., Jin, J. 2010 In: Journal of Knowledge-based Innovation in China. 2, 3
Special issue

Neoliberalism, intellectual property and the global knowledge economy.
Tyfield, D. 2010 In: The rise and fall of neoliberalism : the collapse of an economic order?. London : Zed p. 60-76. 17 p. ISBN: 9781848133488.

The importance of the 'international collaboration dividend': the case of China.
Tyfield, D., Zhu, Y., Cao, J. 11/2009 In: Science and Public Policy. 36, 9, p. 723-735. 13 p.
Journal article

Low carbon China : disruptive innovation and the role of international collaboration.
Tyfield, D., Wilsdon, J. 01/2009 Nottingham : University of Nottingham, 33 p.

A Surplus of 'Surplus'?
Tyfield, D. 2009 In: Science as Culture. 18, 4, p. 497-500. 4 p.
Journal article

Cosmopolitan China: Lessons from International Collaboration in Low-Carbon Innovation
Tyfield, D., Urry, J. 2009 In: British Journal of Sociology. 60, 4, p. 793-812. 20 p.
Journal article

Raging at imaginary Don-Quixotes: a reply to Giraud and Weintraub.
Tyfield, D. 2009 In: Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics. 2, 1, p. 60-69. 10 p.
Journal article

Collaboration not Confrontation: low carbon China and the role of international collaboration
Tyfield, D. 11/2008 In: China-Britain Business Review.
Journal article

Low carbon innovation in China
Tyfield, D. 29/10/2008
Other contribution

Enabling TRIPs : The pharma-biotech-university patent coalition.
Tyfield, D. 2008 In: Review of International Political Economy. 15, 4, p. 535-566. 32 p.
Journal article

Four fallacies regarding the current crisis.
Tyfield, D. 2008 Lancaster : University of Lancaster

The impossibility of finitism: from SSK to ESK?
Tyfield, D. 2008 In: Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics. 1, 1, p. 61-86. 26 p.
Journal article

The debate about transcendental arguments in critical realism (Presentation)
Tyfield, D. 17/03/2007
Other contribution

Chasing fairies or serious ontological business : tracking down the transcendental argument.
Tyfield, D. 12/2006 In: Contributions to social ontology. London : Routledge 320 p. ISBN: 978-0415403733.

Philosophy and Green Economics: An Introduction
Tyfield, D. 2006 In: The Green Economist.
Journal article