The Question of Space: Interrogating the Spatial Turn between Disciplines

The spatial turn has been deeply influential across the humanities and social sciences for several decades. Yet despite this long term influence most volumes focus mainly on geography and tend to take a Eurocentric approach to the topic. The Question of Space takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding how the spatial turn has affected other disciplines. By connecting developments across radically different fields the volume bridges the very borders that separate the academic space. From new geographies through performance, the internet, politics and the arts, the distinctive chapters undertake conversations that often surprisingly converge in approach, questions and insights Together the chapters transcend longstanding disciplinary boundaries to build a constructive dialogue around the question of space.

The question of Space – out by Rowman&Littlefield

Very happy to be joining the Political Geography team, standing in as Associate Editor while Fiona McConnell is on maternity leave. PG is the leading journal in the subfield, and Fiona is an outstanding colleague, so these are some pretty big shoes to fill! I am joining the journal in January, shortly after Filippo Menga, who is going to be the Setting-the-Agenda Editor.


Two new editors at Political Geography

polgeogPolitical Geography has brought on two new associate editors, joining our ever-expanding editorial team.

Today is the first day on the job for Filippo Menga, who is replacing Jo Sharp as associate editor for the Setting-the-Agenda section. Filippo is a lecturer at the University of Reading where his research focuses on the geopolitics of water supply. As editor of the Setting-the-Agenda section, Filippo will be responsible for all non-peer-reviewed content (e.g. review forums, review essays, interventions, guest editorials) as well as online content.

Political Geography is also happy to announce the appointment of Antonis Vradis, who will be replacing Fiona McConnell when she is on maternity leave (January-June 2018). Antonis, who is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow at the University of Loughborough, has expertise in urban and migration issues.

The entire Political Geography editorial team — Tor Benjaminsen, Halvard Buhaug, and Kevin Grove, in addition to Fiona and myself — welcomes Filippo and Antonis, and we look forward to maintaining our standing as the leading international journal in political geography.

Much looking forward to this – inaugural VC Fellowship Lecture on November 22, with my fellow Fellows following through the year! 

Fellowship Inaugural Lectures

Holding image for Fellowship Inaugural Lectures. Photo of Tracey Bhamra at Research Conference 2015.

This prestigious lecture series showcases Loughborough University’s Research Fellows, who will present their cutting-edge research and outline their career to-date. The lectures will offer some insight into the careers of some of Loughborough’s leading Early Career Researchers, and will be followed by the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the University.

Dr Antonis Vradis

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

The New Spatial Contract: the way we move (and live) in cities today

We perfectly understand the meaning of being “on time”. So much of our daily lives revolves around this : scheduling meetings, meeting deadlines, running errands and doing chores at set intervals―in short, managing when we do what. But what about where we do what? Here, I believe, there is a gap in our understanding. Even though we are equally―if not more―aware of the invisible barriers that separate the spaces through which we move, we lack the words to describe these. Take the example of the campus: a lecture theatre is the space to deliver lectures, a kitchenette is where you will prepare a cup of tea or some food, an office is where an academic will work, meet colleagues, etc. Mix up any of these spaces and their use, and things can get pretty strange, pretty fast.

I call this invisible human agreement a “spatial contract”. I believe it works in ways that are very similar to the social contract, this implicit agreement we have with the authorities that govern us in terms of how we are meant to act and what we can expect in exchange. And similarly with our conceptualisation of time, the barriers are socially constructed but nevertheless extremely robust. To understand what breaking them could possibly entail, I have been studying contemporary cases where the spatial contract is tested to its limits. From the Brazilian favelas, to migrant camps, to the Greek riots, my aim is to understand the state of the spatial contract today: how and why people challenge the current spatial status quo, and what it might look like in the future.


Antonis grew up in Patras, Greece’s port city and gateway to the West: he has been fascinated by people moving in and through cities ever since. Antonis studied Sociology at University of Leeds, the academic home of Zygmunt Bauman, before moving to London School of Economics to study for two Masters, followed by his PhD, completed under the supervision of Diane Perrons in 2013. Antonis was a Junior Research Fellow at Durham University (2014-2016) before moving to Loughborough as a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in September 2016.

Time and Place

This lecture takes place Wednesday 22 November 2017, 12.30-13.30, Brockington U005.

Please make sure you book your seat.

Planning for the Future

This lecture will be followed by the workshop “Planning for the Future: Fellowships, collaboration & transdisciplinary research“, which aims to provide information about fellowships and encourage cross campus collaboration leading to transdisciplinary research. The workshop is being organised in conjunction with the Disaster Risk Management theme of the Secure and Resilient Societies Global Challenge within the CALIBRE framework.  Visit the Eventbrite page to find out more and to sign up to this exciting event!

Last month, we officially started work on NutriCities, one of the grants awarded through the British Academy Cities&Infrastructure Programme. This is very exciting: working with good colleagues and friends Dr Timo Bartholl and Dr Christos Filippidis (PDRAs), Dr Oonagh Markey and Dr Richard Pithouse (from Loughborough and Wits University, South Africa as Co-Is), plus two local researchers on the ground in the Maré complex of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Starting from questions on food scarcity and food sovereignty, our aim is to understand how informal populations are managed and pacified – how, beyond the official practices of militarisation and control, the city’s populations are now rendered governable and docile through and ever-increasing set of technologies of government. Stay tuned for updates from Rio!