Dr John Childs


Research Overview

Having joined Lancaster in 2013, John is particularly interested in the political ecological dimensions of natural resource extraction, including the study of minerals, precious metals, oil and gas. Most contemporarily, he is particularly interested in the emergent political geography of deep-sea mining (DSM). He is currently beginning an ESRC Future Research Leaders fellowship investigating the kind of geopolitics that emerges when the materiality and dynamism of the deep sea is taken seriously alongside the political ecological concerns of how it is managed.

Previous work has focused on (1) the political economy of 'resource nationalism' in sub-Saharan Africa and (2) the discourse of 'responsibility', 'fairness' and ethics in the mining industry, particularly the extent to which Fairtrade can solve the problems of social and environmental injustice in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Published Research

John has published extensively on the political ecological dimensions of the Fairtrade certification of gold. This research, variously funded by the British Institute in Eastern Africa and The British Academy/Leverhulme, has investigated both the political economy and social and environmental justice of Fairtrade gold.

He has also been published on ‘resource nationalism’ in sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by the ESRC, this work seeks to understand the geographic and political ways in which ‘resource nationalist’ policies are both articulated and resisted in various countries including Tanzania and Ghana.

Current Research

He is just beginning a 2 year ESRC Future Researchg Leaders Fellowship entitled 'Into the Abyss: Deep-sea mining, geopolitcs and global development'.


John teaches on several undergraduate and postgraduate geography modules, and convenes:

LEC329 Global Consumption

LEC222 Political Geography


John is currently:

Extraction in four dimensions: time, space and the emerging geo(-)politics of deep sea mining
Childs, J.R. 16/02/2018 In: Geopolitics.
Journal article

‘New’ nations: resource-based development imaginaries in Ghana and Ecuador
Childs, J.R., Hearn, J.F. 04/2017 In: Third World Quarterly. 38, 4, p. 844-861. 18 p.
Journal article

Geography and resource nationalism: a critical review and reframing
Childs, J.R. 04/2016 In: The Extractive Industries and Society. 3, 2, p. 539-546. 8 p.
Journal article

The New Extractivism: A Post-Neoliberal Development Model or Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century? edited by Henry Veltmeyer and James Petras
Childs, J.R. 1/03/2016 In: Journal of International Development. 28, 2, 2 p.
Book/Film/Article review

From ‘criminals of the earth’ to ‘stewards of the environment': the social and environmental justice of Fair Trade gold
Childs, J. 11/2014 In: Geoforum. 57, p. 129-137. 9 p.
Journal article

A new means of governing artisanal and small-scale mining?: Fairtrade gold and development in Tanzania
Childs, J. 06/2014 In: Resources Policy. 40, p. 128-136. 9 p.
Journal article

An ethical turn in African mining: voluntary regulation through fair trade
Fisher, E., Childs, J. 26/09/2013 In: Mining and social transformation in Africa. Abingdon : Routledge p. 130-147. 18 p. ISBN: 9780415833707.

Hogl, Kvarda, Nordbeck, Pregernig (Eds): Environmental governance: the challenge of legitimacy and effectiveness
Childs, J. 2013 In: Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. 31, 6, 2 p.
Book/Film/Article review

"Fair trade gold": a key to alleviating mercury pollution in sub-Saharan Africa
Childs, J. 2010 In: International Jounal of Environment and Pollution. 41, 3-4, p. 259-271. 13 p.
Journal article

Reforming small-scale mining in Sub-Saharan Africa: political and ideological challenges to a fair trade gold initiative
Childs, J. 12/2008 In: Resources Policy. 33, 4, p. 203-209. 7 p.
Journal article

  • Improving global stewardship
  • Political Ecology