A barbed wire fence

Critical Geographies

Group Leader

Nigel Clark

Critical Geographies, Improving global stewardship, Understanding a changing planet

A29, A - Floor, LEC lll


Future Families: Climate Justice, Intimate Life and the Adaptation of the Human
09/10/2023 → 30/09/2024

Reducing End Use Energy Demand in Commercial Settings Through Digital Innovation
01/01/2021 → 31/12/2024

Exploring how sources, behaviour and mitigation strategies influence Indoor Air Quality: A Pilot Study
23/11/2020 → 30/10/2021

ESRC NWSSDTP: Experiments in democracy: Knowing, caring and acting in neighbourhood planning and beyond
01/10/2020 → 30/11/2021

FLF: Consumer & citizen engage
01/10/2020 → 30/09/2025

The health and equity impacts of climate change mitigation measures on indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure
01/08/2020 → 31/08/2023

Negative emissions and moral hazards
01/05/2020 → 30/04/2023

Potential Subsurface Conflicts
01/01/2020 → 31/03/2020

Security Politics of Climate Engineering: Diplomatic and strategic implications of solar geoengineering technology
01/01/2020 → 30/11/2022

Supporting Local Officers and Politicians to Implement Rapid Climate Action
01/01/2020 → 31/12/2020

Geoengineering Climate Justice?
01/02/2019 → 31/08/2019

Housing energy efficiency transitions: scaling up affordable retrofit
01/01/2019 → 16/12/2023

CASE:Exploring the Resilience of Groundwater Governance in Malawi - Jack Hemingway
01/10/2018 → 30/09/2023

Rural spaces of youth reform: agricultural landscapes of punishment and citizen education 1850-1967
01/05/2018 → 31/08/2019

Assessing the Mitigation Deterrence Effects of GGRs
01/08/2017 → 30/04/2020

Failure to Learn, Failure to Grow: creating space to ‘fail’ in order to allow real learning to take place
01/03/2017 → 31/03/2018

(Re)assembling air quality science: exploring air quality knowledge production
01/10/2016 → 31/12/2023

Forking paths? Engaged research on food-political visions and changes in the Faroe Islands and in São Tomé and Príncipe
01/10/2016 → 31/03/2023

CLISEL: Climate Security with Local Authorities
01/05/2016 → 30/04/2019

Research - socio-legal scholarship
01/09/2015 → …

DEMAND: Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand
01/05/2013 → 30/06/2019

Human rights and boundaries
01/03/2013 → …

The Catchment Change Management Hub
02/04/2012 → 29/03/2013

Community based fuel poverty initiatives and access to energy services for older people
01/10/2011 → 31/03/2015

01/06/2009 → 31/05/2012

Children, flood and urban resilience
01/03/2009 → …

INCLUESEV energy and equity cluster
01/01/2009 → 31/12/2011

FP6: Governat
01/10/2006 → 30/09/2010

Research Activity

Our research focuses on a variety of critical geographies - geographies that are vital to sustainability, social and environmental justice and our collective futures. These include, in our current research and writing, geographies of migration, energy, water, food, climate change, infrastructure, the Anthropocene and the subterranean.

As human geographers and social scientists, we undertake our research with a 'critical' perspective and approach. This means drawing on theory, empirical inquiry and cutting edge analysis to question and challenge dominant discourses and power structures, to identify the fundamental ways in which these serve to impair human and planetary wellbeing and to work with all those engaged in finding better and alternative forms of practice and governance.

Theoretically and methodologically our interest is not just in 'the human', rather we actively engage in thinking about and investigating the materiality of everyday social practice, the agency of non-humans and our fundamental embedding in technological, ecological, geosocial and planetary formations.

Our research group consists of academic staff, researchers and PhD students working separately and together in collaborations that extend across and beyond the University. We are actively engaged in other Centres and Institutes at Lancaster, including the RCUK funded DEMAND Centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) and the Institute for Social Futures.


Academically Speaking

Join social geographers in conversation. Each monthly episode features hosts talking to the authors of papers that inspired them, discussing the realities of researching and writing high quality geographical publications. Listeners are invited behind the scenes to understand more about what inspires, drives and challenges academic writers, and to learn about the realities of research that didn't make it to print. Created by Dr Nadia von Benzon. Read the story behind the podcast: Launch of Academically Speaking

Academically Speaking podcast
Logo of the Academically Speaking podcast


Writing and editing books is an important part of the activity of the research group, providing space for developing new ideas, defining new research directions and generating research and teaching resources. Here are some of our key book-length outputs over the last few years.

Planetary and Social Thought: The Anthropocene Challenge to the Social Sciences

by Nigel Clark and Bron Szersyynski

This innovative book outlines ‘planetary social thought’: a transdisciplinary way of thinking social life with and through the Earth. Using a range of case studies, the book shows how familiar social processes can be radically recast when looked at through a planetary lens, revealing how the world-transforming powers of human social life have always depended on the forging of relations with the inhuman potentialities of our home planet.

Publisher's page: Wiley - Planetary and Social Thought

Energy and Rhythm: Rhythmanalysis for a Low Carbon Future

by Gordon Walker

This book sets out to energise Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis. Social theory, thermodynamic thinking and diverse streams of energy-oriented research are brought together to trace how the climate crisis has the rhythmic patterning of big power energy systems at its core; and how transitioning to a just, low carbon future means transforming energy systems and our everyday dependencies on them into new rhythmic patterns and interrelations.

Support website: http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/energyandrhythm/

Too Hot to Handle: The democratic challenge of climate change

by Rebecca Willis

This book explores why climate is such a challenge for political systems, even when policy solutions exist. It argues that more democracy, not less, is needed to tackle the climate crisis, and suggests practical ways forward.

Publisher's page: To hot to handle

The Social Dynamics of Carbon Capture and Storage: understanding CCS representations, governance and innovation

edited by Nils Markusson, Simon Shackley and Benjamin Evar

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged rapidly as a crucial technological option for decarbonising electricity supply and mitigating climate change. Great hopes are being pinned on this new technology but it is also facing growing scepticism and criticism. This book is the first to bring together the full range of social and policy issues surrounding CCS shedding new light on this potentially vital technology and its future.

Publisher's page: Routledge - The Social Dynamics of Carbon Capture and Storage

Creative Methods in Human Geography

edited by Nadia Von Benzon, Mark Holton, Catherine Wilkinson and Samantha Wilkinson

Introducing a diverse range of innovative qualitative methods, this accessible book encourages experimenting with creative methods in human geography research projects. With chapters written by leading experts, this book offers straightforward advice on how to approach every step of the research process, from planning and organisation to writing up and disseminating research.

Publisher's page: Sage - Creative Methods in Human Geography

Supporting blog post: creative methods for supporting social science students in qualitative remote research

Geographical Research with Vulnerable Groups: Re-examining Methodological and Ethical Process

edited by Nadia Von Benzon and Lorraine Van Blerk

Drawing on varied expertise from specialisms across the sub-disciplines of social and cultural geography, this book seeks to interrogate what it is to do research with people widely considered to be vulnerable. Written from an emancipatory standpoint, this book addresses the ethical and practical challenges that face researchers working with marginalised people.

Publisher's page: Routledge - Geographical Research with Vulnerable Groups

Intersectionality and Difference in Childhood and Youth: Global Perspectives

edited by Nadia Von Benzon and Catherine Wilkinson

This book explores the alternative experiences of children and young people whose everyday lives contradict ideas and ideals of normalcy from the local to the global context. The young lives foregrounded in this volume include the experiences of transnational families, children in ethnic minority communities, street-living young people, disabled children, child soldiers, victims of abuse, politically active young people, working children and those engaging with alternative education.

Publisher's page: Routledge - Intersectionality and Difference in Childhood and Youth

Demanding Energy: Space, Time and Change

edited by Allison Hui, Rosie Day and Gordon Walker

This book critically engages with an important but rarely-asked question: what is energy for? This starting point foregrounds the diverse social processes implicated in the making of energy demand and how these change over time to shape the past patterns, present dynamics and future trajectories of energy use.

Book online: https://demandingenergy.wordpress.com/

Environmental Justice: Concepts, Evidence and Politics

by Gordon Walker

This book provides a wide-ranging analysis of the rapidly evolving field of environmental justice research and activism, with compelling examples of the processes involved in producing inequalities and the challenges faced in advancing the interests of the disadvantaged. It provides a critical framework for understanding environmental justice in various spatial and political contexts.

Publisher's page: Routledge - Environmental Justice

Life Adrift: Climate Change, Migration, Critique

edited by Andrew Baldwin and Giovanni Bettini

This book provides a collection of essays from across the interpretive social sciences and humanities which treats climate change and migration as a relation that demands theoretical and historical explanation, rather than a problem requiring technical and expert solutions. The result is a unique collection, offering readers a means for reconceptualising migration and environmental changes as a site of politics and of political possibility.

Publisher's page: Rowman & Littlefield - Life Adrift

Montage of colourful academic book covers

Research Highlights