Dr Nils MarkussonLecturer
The core of my interest is about the politics of environmental technology. I want to understand the relationship between how we develop and use technology in response to environmental problems on one hand, and political processes at varying scales in society on the other.
I am a social scientist, with a background in engineering, innovation policy, innovation studies and science & technology studies (STS), and most recently cultural political economy. Much of my work is done in multi- and interdisciplinary collaborations, spanning social science, natural science, engineering and the humanities. I am a qualitative researcher, and favoured data sources include documents and interviews.
I have published on cleaner technology innovations in process industries and the organisational dynamics behind them, analysed through the theoretical lenses of the ‘company social constitution’, ‘environmental championing’ and ‘reification’/’black boxing’.
I have also built up a substantial body of work on carbon dioxide capture and storage technology (CCS), seeking to expand this strand of research beyond public perception related studies. Specific pieces of work has included analysing ‘lock-in‘ dynamics in relation to capture ready designs as well as biomass CCS, relating demonstration of CCS technology to notions including ‘social learning’, and explorations of CCS technology development to different ways of conceptualising and representing ‘learning’. I used historical technological analogues to explore uncertainties relating to CCS in a project funded by UK Energy Research Centre. I led a book project, resulting in an edited volume published by Routledge.
Over the last few years, I have been working on climate geoengineering, including a study of how geoengineering has been justified with reference to expected climate emergency, and a paper on how the dominating definition and classification of climate engineering can be challenged, opened up and re-politicized by studying how the technology is presented on Wikipedia. See related blog posts here and here.
My current work applies cultural political economy to CCS and climate engineering. A recent paper has re-theorised the notion of ‘technical fixes’ based on a study of the co-evolution of climate engineering promises with the neoliberal political regime.
The NERC-funded project 'Assessing mitigation deterrence effects of greenhouse gas removal technologies' looks into the risks of such GGRs delaying or reducing mitigation efforts. See related blog post here.
I teach on modules across the second and third years of our undergraduate geography courses:
- Environmental conflicts in the second year
- Sociotechnical urban change in a third year module
- Urban inequality, for a field trip to New York in the third year.
I also contribute to a postgrad geography module:
- Climate Change and Society
- Critical Geographies
- Innovation for a better environment