New Political Geographies Research Group

Members and affiliated members: Professor Mike Woods (Convenor), Dr Catherine Cottrell, Dr Elizabeth Gagen, Dr Jesse Heley, Dr Laura Jones (PDRA, GLOBAL-RURAL & WISERD/Civil Society), Professor Rhys Jones, Dr Rhys Dafydd Jones, Dr Anthonia Onyeahialam (PDRA, GLOBAL-RURAL project), Dr Mitch Rose, Dr Rachel Vaughan (Administrator, GLOBAL-RURAL project), Dr Marc Welsh (PDRA, GLOBAL-RURAL project), Professor Mark Whitehead.


The New Political Geographies Research Group is concerned with exploring the multiple intersections of politics, space and place that we define as the field of political geography. We are interested in the expressions and practices of political geographies at scales from the personal to the global, in Wales, the UK and internationally. As ‘new’ political geographers, we are committed to approaching political geography from diverse standpoints encompassing political economy, post-structuralist and feminist theories and experimenting with qualitative, quantitative and participatory methodologies.

The current work of the New Political Geographies Research Group is focused around seven key themes:

‌Civil Society, Participation and Governance: Including research projects as part of the ESRC WISERD/Civil Society Research Centre on ‘Redefining local civil society in an age of global interconnectivity’ (Woods), ‘Migrants, minorities and engagement in local civil society’ (R D Jones), ‘Ageing, serious lecture and the grey economy’ (Heley and L Jones), and ‘Education, Language and Identity’ (R A Jones); as well as ongoing research on localism and the town, parish and community sector (Woods), and work on ‘negative governance’ (Rose).

Governmentality, Behaviour Change and Neuroliberalism: Including research funded by the ESRC Transformative Social Science programme on ‘Negotiating Neuroliberalism’ (R A Jones and Whitehead), that builds on previous Leverhulme-funded research on ‘soft paternalism’ and behaviour change; and work on governing emotion behaviours (Gagen).

Politics, Citizenship and Young People: Including research on youth citizenship, education and national identity in Wales (R A Jones) and Estonia (Cottrell), and work on the role of developmental psychology in reconfiguring children and governable citizens (Gagen).

Political Economies of Rural Change: Including research funded by the European Research Council on globalization and rural areas (GLOBAL-RURAL) (Woods, Heley, L Jones, Onyeahialam and Welsh), and ongoing research interests in rural politics and protest (Woods), class and rural communities (Heley), and neoliberalism and agricultural policy (Wynne-Jones).

National Identities, Ethnicity and Religion: Including research on the reproduction of the Welsh nation and nationalism at various scales (R A Jones), the geographies of immigration and religion in the southern United States (Cottrell), and religion, minorities and rural society (R D Jones).

Environmental Politics and the Politics of Alternatives: Including research exploring political dimensions of climate change (Grove, Whitehead), national sustainabilities (R A Jones), and alternative political and economic mobilizations around environmental sustainability and food sovereignty (Rose, Whitehead, Wynne-Jones).

Geopolitics, Development and Security: Including research on the geopolitics of post-disaster recovery and resilience in developing world contexts (Grove), biopolitics and biosecurity (Grove), and environmental geopolitics (Grove, Whitehead).

‌Members of the New Political Geographies Research Group are also affiliated with the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) [insert link to], a partnership between Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Swansea and South Wales universities to build social science capacity and collaboration in Wales, and contribute to the work of the Public Policy Institute for Wales, which supports evidence-based policy making by the Welsh Government. Group members are also active in working with a range of other government agencies and civil society organizations in Wales and internationally, in public outreach activities and media work, and in pedagogical development and writing, including the textbook An Introduction to Political Geography, published by Routledge.