RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016

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46 Provocations and Possibilities of ‘Nexus Thinking’: Postgraduate Snapshots
Affiliation Postgraduate Forum
Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Katie Ledingham (University of Exeter, UK)
Phil Emmerson (University of Birmingham, UK)
Chair(s) Phil Emmerson (University of Birmingham, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 31 August 2016, Session 2 (11:10 - 12:50)
Session abstract The aim of this session is to explore the different ways in which postgraduate researchers in Social and Cultural Geography are engaging with and attending to the manifold provocations posed by the concept of Nexus Thinking. ‘Nexus thinking’ is taken here to refer to the varying ways in which human geographers are working to consider the entanglements and interconnectivities between environmental and social domains. We are encouraging postgraduates to present a brief ‘snapshot’ of their work (whether a photograph, a quotation, a field diary entry, an image of an object, or mini-video clip) as a focus for 5-10 minute contributions that explore the ways in which their theoretical and/or methodological interventions expand or restrict the propensity for and the possibilities of nexus thought. It is envisaged that the snapshot will be the main artefact around which each contribution is orientated. We encourage participants to fully utilise their snapshots in ways which further deepen and enrich the developing trajectories, tensions, and textures associated with the mobilisation of the Nexus Thinking.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
The Boundary
Tracy Hill (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
'The Boundary' is an artwork created within a wider body of research called 'Sensorium' investigating our relationship to the Mosslands of the North West whilst travelling on foot. Drawing on combinations of the senses, personal experiences and memory of place "The Boundary" invites you to connect with this re-imagined perspective of a liminal landscape. Travelling on foot requires an acute understanding of touch and connection to geological and hydrological changes in order to navigate such transcient and dynamic environments. "The Boundary" informed by digital data offers a familiar analysis of the physical. By adopting digital mapping technology I seek to alter our perspectives offering a view beyond our own visual capability which when translated into handmade artworks results in re-imagined visions. Reminding us that in order to achieve true understanding of spaces, we must understand our personal responses to experiences encountered and memory of place.
Discourse analysis of emerging municipal energy initiatives in the Bristol region
Aleksandra Michalec (University of the West of England, UK)
Evaluating the potential of emerging policies to reduce carbon emissions is essential for setting successful carbon budgets and ensuring long-term resilience for all citizens. Traditional positivist methods of policy evaluation are not applicable to the new initiatives, as they have not produced quantifiable outputs at the time of appraisal. Nevertheless, examining multiple elements of climate change mitigation discourse (e.g. policy design assumptions, academic journals, statistics, news, climate activism) can improve both evaluation and further policymaking. The aim of this "nexus snapshot" is to illustrate the interactions between carbon targets, social equity and wider nexus impacts of the policies at different scales. Using the case study of Bristol region, the researcher analysed the discourse around municipal energy initiatives which was then turned into decision flowchart infographics. The intelligible and visually attractive method of presenting data is expected to improve access to information, enhance nexus understanding and boost public participation.
Looking for identity through the media stereotypes: The South-Eastern Sicily of Inspector Montalbano
Giovanna Ceno (University of Palermo, Italy)
The territory no longer precedes its representation, which becomes simulacrum (Baudrillard, 1983; Soja, 2001). Images have become the first instrument of knowledge and smart tools for creating urban attractiveness and marketing, through a process of strategic choices and "selective narratives" (Sandercock, 2003) and homologated reproduction of the latter through cinema and the media. This is the case of South-Eastern Sicily: historically a marginal area, it has recently reached international success with the TV series "Inspector Montalbano". But in this region the distance between the ideal reality represented on the screen and the present contradictory situation is now evident (Lo Piccolo, Giampino & Todaro, 2015).
This paper wants to deconstruct the stereotyped representations on the screen to grasp those elements proving authentic local identities. Visual tools for geographers can be new supports to create a more efficient dialogue between mass media and local actors towards more sustainable policies.
A Very Telling Footpath Story about Urban Development Intricacies
Renard Teipelke (Independent Urban Development Consultant)
Jane Jacobs' sidewalks; Doreen Massey's sense of place; or James Sidaway's transects – different perspectives on the development, functioning, and underlying intricacies of urban spaces have been based on the technique of walking through a particular space to experience and analyze it. Taking photographs of such spaces is one way to 'capture' the experience and to somehow convey it to a distant audience. In an environment like Metro Manila, there is no lack of nexus research objects embodying globalized/glocalized interconnectivities. However, this abundance can blind a researcher's focus for a seemingly negligible but apparent detail, such as a footpath. After numerous walks over a certain footpath in Metro Manila's Fort Bonifacio, I took a bird's eye photograph. This photograph reveals the intricacies of Metro Manila's urban development quintessentially represented by the interplay of a natural lawn and a human-made footpath: transport/mobility challenges, infrastructure interdependencies, land market economies, neoliberal planning models, etc.
A pain in the nexus? UNGASS 2016 and the geographical futility of a 'Drug Free World'
Joe Thorogood (University College London, UK)
In 1998, the Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGASS) met to discuss the world drug problem. The tagline was a 'drug free world'. In 2012 the severity of the world drug problem showed no signs of abating, and nations in the Global South called for an expedited meeting of the General Assembly for April 2016 to discuss alternatives for the United Nation's approach towards the international drug policy.
The 2016 UNGASS represented the first time that nations, scholars and activists challenged the dominant geographical imagination of drug control which is predicated upon supply reduction. This paper will discuss how the UNGASS 2016 and its tagline of 'A better tomorrow for the world's youth' have functioned as a nexus for researchers in geography (including myself) along with activists and policy makers concerned with reforming international drug law. The paper will therefore report on the progress of UNGASS 2016. Were principles of 'harm reduction' adopted and accepted by member states? Did civil society create meaningful change? Or were they just 'a pain in the nexus' of the General Assembly?
Connections and disconnections between water in the home and water in the river
Claire Hoolohan (The University of Manchester, UK)
Domestic resources use is inextricably entwined with environmental processes. For water the sustainability of water supplies is threatened by growing demand and the implications of climate change. Simultaneously our use of water has ecological implications for local hydrological systems. Further water-y landscapes have deep social, physical and emotional significance in the lives of people living in these landscapes, and further afield. This snapshot briefly explores provocations arising from a case study of a water efficiency initiative that aims to utilise this nexus of social and environmental relations to provoke more sustainable patterns of domestic water use and reduce abstraction from a vulnerable chalk stream. I will talk briefly about how nexus thinking brings together complex themes from across social and environmental studies, not only those relating to demand and sustainable consumption as might be expected. In particular for this research topic how it necessitates and enables connections to be drawn between complex and divergent issues such as private property, public safety, leisure, local geographies and the implications of these for hydro-social systems.
Discussant
Katie Ledingham (University of Exeter, UK)
Discussant