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 currently holds 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, geopolitics and global development'.


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

LEC329 Global Consumption

LEC222 Political Geography


John is currently: