Simon Batterbury

Simon Batterbury
University of Melbourne | MSD · School of Geography

PhD, Clark University, 1997; MA Clark; BA hons 1st, Reading 1985

About

95
Publications
65,661
Reads
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4,588
Citations
Introduction
Associate Prof of Environment Studies, University of Melbourne. Was Professor of Political Ecology, Lancaster University 2017-2019. Environment and development, rural livelihoods, political ecology, bikes in cities. Originally working in the francophone African Sahel, particularly on livelihoods and productive bricolage, and soil and water conservation, latterly Oceania and East Timor on indigenous responses to mining and land tenure. Editor, open access 'Journal of Political Ecology' since 2003.
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - May 2019
Lancaster University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Inaugural Chair.
January 2015 - March 2016
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Position
  • Visiting researcher
July 2007 - January 2008
University of Oxford
Position
  • James Martin Fellow
Education
January 1990 - January 1997
Clark University
Field of study
  • Geography
August 1987 - January 1990
Clark University
Field of study
  • Geography
August 1985 - June 1987
University of Reading
Field of study
  • Human and Physical Geography

Publications

Publications (95)
Article
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A key element of sustainable development in cities is the implementation of more effective, less polluting, and equitable transportation policy. This article examines the role of activist organizations promoting transport alternatives in London, Britain's capital city and its largest metropolitan area. Major national, citywide, and local policy cha...
Article
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Indigenous agricultural practices in semiarid West Africa must be seen as dynamic operations that serve different ends. These ends are not only agricultural, but symbolic. By highlighting how farmers in the Central Plateau region of Burkina Faso organize their farming strategies, the “agriculture as performance” arguments developed by Richards (198...
Article
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In this millennium, global drylands face a myriad of problems that present tough research, management, and policy challenges. Recent advances in dryland development, however, together with the integrative approaches of global change and sustainability science, suggest that concerns about land degradation, poverty, safeguarding biodiversity, and pro...
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This article introduces a collection of papers that provide empirical studies of the impacts that result from changes to established modes of governance: in particular, decentralizing the scale at which state institutions operate or the privatization of service delivery. We critically assess the claims made for “good governance” reforms in the ligh...
Article
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Continuing the work to make publishing accessible and just, with updated recommendations toward the commonification (and away from the commodification) of open access. Publishing reform in humanities and social sciences is like steering an ocean liner — to initiate slow changes requires huge effort, and the commercial tradewinds force us backward...
Technical Report
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Une équipe internationale de chercheurs décrit comment s’enseigne la culture du vélo à l’échelle globale: par le développement d’un réseau d’ateliers où apprendre la mécanique, la récupération et aussi la contre-culture cycliste. https://medium.com/anthropocene2050/les-ateliers-dautor%C3%A9paration-du-v%C3%A9lo-et-l-enseignement-de-la-v%C3%A9lonomi...
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The third and final referendum in the French overseas territory New Caledonia on December 12, 2021, was wasted. Although the vote was legal and the result was clear (96.5% voting against independence), we argue-along with various international observers-that the schedule did not respect Kanak cultural traditions and the vote should be considered as...
Article
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Due to longstanding ethnic and political divisions, New Caledonia is caught in a new round of geopolitics and its referendum outcome is unlikely to please everyone.
Research
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To increase urban cycling, we need more than extra cycling infrastructure; we need a culture change. A worldwide movement of community bike workshops, also known as Bike Kitchens, can help. Bike kitchens offer tools, second-hand parts and bikes, and convivial help with repairs. They are also hubs for community development. Since 2014 we have visite...
Chapter
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The "sociality" of cycling has broader ramifications for mobility transitions. While infrastructure engineering and other planning efforts may "attract" more cyclists to the roads, we introduce key aspects of the culture of bicycle mobility, which is boosted by social movements like Critical Mass, and organizations including community bike workshop...
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Despite the proliferation of literature on large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA) in Africa, few empirical studies exist on how patronage networks combine with socio-cultural stratification to determine the livelihood outcomes for African agrarian-based communities. This article draws from ethnographic research on Cameroon to contribute to bridging t...
Article
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Over the next decade, Open Access (OA) is likely to become the default in scholarly publishing. Yet, as commercial publishers develop new models for capturing revenue (and as policy initiatives like Plan S remain reluctant to challenge their centrality), researchers, librarians, and other concerned observers are beginning to articulate a set of val...
Article
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In the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, conflict and difference between Indigenous Kanak people and European settlers has existed at least since the 1850s. We interrogate the geopolitical ecology of these islands, which is deeply wedded to natural resource extraction, is instrumentalized in political debate, power struggles, conflict, and...
Chapter
In this chapter we relate New Caledonia's geopolitical history to key themes in political ecology. This small island territory exemplifies many of the problems experienced by the world's few decolonized states. Recent referendum results on independence from France conceal a geopolitical ecology of struggle going back to the mid 1800s, one that led...
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Non-technical summary Mining regions are affected by climate change. Supplies of energy and water are required, and operations become hazardous during adverse weather events. Adapting to climate change takes three forms: incrementally improving the resilience of mining operations; transitioning to more inclusive governance through institutional and...
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This chapter discusses how we can interrupt the cycle of consumption and disposal to reuse a relatively simple and ubiquitous item – the bicycle. We compare two projects that are non-commercial, community-based and involve volunteers who recycle, redistribute and assist with the repair of bicycles. The first is a project that repairs donated bikes...
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El Pacífico colombiano ha sido imaginado vacío en términos sociales y lleno de recursos naturales y biodiversidad. Estos imaginarios han permitido la creación de fronteras de control que históricamente han despojado a afrodescendientes e indígenas de sus territorios ancestrales. Este artículo examina la territorialización en los océanos, tomando co...
Article
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Academic critique drives most political ecology scholarship. An engaged and affirmative political ecology, however, is practiced in scholarly, everyday and activist communities. Many academic political ecologists, including some founding figures like Piers Blaikie, take an interest in the '‘relevance'’ of their work and wish to remain '‘engaged'’ w...
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Given a history in political ecology of challenging hegemonic “scientific” narratives concerning environmental problems, the current political moment presents a potent conundrum: how to (continue to) critically engage with narratives of environmental change while confronting the “populist” promotion of “alternative facts.” We ask how political ecol...
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This set of articles discusses and investigates the conditions and situation of Public Universities in 14 countries around the globe. It analyzes the productivist model created for the public university in an era of withdrawal and lack of political and institutional support. It discusses the loss of self-assessment criteria of the academics and the...
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This brief note identifies the consequences of land acquisitions in peri-urban spaces around the cities of Bamako and Ségou, Mali. This contributes to debates surrounding the rapid expansion of African cities faced with rapid rural-urban migration and new arrivals settling in precarious conditions. West Africa has a long history of urbanisation, in...
Article
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Masters degrees that offer a broad understanding of environmental issues have been taught in universities since the 1960s. As the problems they address have increased in severity and become global in scale and reach, higher education offerings have flourished accordingly. Today, environmental Masters degrees offer a variety of specialisations, are...
Chapter
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Political ecology (PE) is concerned with how humans relate to the biophysical world. Political ecologists have investigated the many environmental challenges that vulnerable communities across the world must face. These include the unequal impacts of global warming on different societies, the health effects of environmental toxics in food, air a...
Chapter
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Large-scale land acquisitions are widespread in Africa. In the 2000s, Africa became a 'grabbers’ hotspot', following global concerns over food security and fuel supplies. Land, with its available water potential, was acquired by a wide range of private and public actors, including sovereign governments, on African soil. Ineffective legal, political...
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There have been a range of protests against the high journal subscription costs, and author processing charges (APCs) levied for publishing in the more prestigious and commercially run journals that are favoured by geographers. But open protests across the sector like the ‘Academic Spring’ of 2012, and challenges to commercial copyright agreements,...
Article
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The Pacific region of Colombia, like many sparsely populated places in developing countries, has been imagined as empty in social terms, and yet full in terms of natural resources and biodiversity. These imaginaries have enabled the creation of frontiers of land and sea control, where the state as well as private and illegal actors have historicall...
Article
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Batterbury, S.P.J. and J. Byrne. 2017. Australia: reclaiming the public university? In a special collection, W. Halffman and H. Radder (eds.) International responses to the Academic Manifesto: reports from 14 countries. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2017: 23-33. (ISSN 2471-9560)
Conference Paper
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Keynote II by Ken Giller argued that the "context" for smallholder farming has a significant effect on livelihood outcomes and the success of technological interventions. "Context" includes adaptive skill, and a wide set of constraints. African farmers are quite capable of managing their own genetic resources, innovating, finding markets and divers...
Presentation
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The extractive sector can be described as an enclave industry, because mining development often occurs in remote or rural areas without established infrastructure. That’s the reason why Australia for example introduced a fly in – fly out system for mine workers to avoid costintensive construction of affordable housing, socio-cultural facilities and...
Article
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Large-scale land acquisition (LSLA) by foreign interests is a major driver of agrarian change in the productive regions of Africa. Rural communities across Southwest Cameroon are experiencing a range of political conflicts resulting from LSLA, in which commercial interests are threatening local land-use practices and access to land. This paper show...
Chapter
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L’objectif de ce chapitre est de retracer le contexte historique et socio- politique de la mise à l’agenda de l’environnement en géographie, en éclairant des moments clés, ainsi que les débats épistémologiques et concurrences institutionnelles majeurs. Nous allons d’abord traiter la perspective historique, y compris le moment clé des années 70. Ens...
Chapter
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"Community bike workshops" are a little-studied aspect of bicycle justice. They provide facilities for almost anybody to learn bike maintenance skills at low cost, aided by volunteers, and using recycled parts. Fieldwork in Brussels, Belgium shows that bike workshops combines pro-bike activism with varying levels of professionalization and engageme...
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Perceptions of food systems and food acquisition decisions are grounded in specific socio-economic and environmental contexts. Working in two relatively affluent urban communities in Melbourne, Australia and San Diego County, USA, this article explores the ways that individuals perceive their food systems, where they acquire food, and their definit...
Article
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Introduction Political ecologists are not the architects of the environmental problems and social justice issues that they study. Their presence in universities and in political debate is the "symptom of a vast global transition" which is underway and which has "produced" political ecology scholars willing, and able, to investigate and understand k...
Chapter
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Dans le monde anglophone, la relation de la discipline géographique aux aspects politiques des problèmes environnementaux a su évoluer en tant que domaine de recherche et mode d’engagement. Un certain nombre des changements générationnels et disciplinaires clés ne relèvent pas seulement de changements de paradigme tels que les a définis Thomas Kuhn...
Article
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In Timor-Leste, customary institutions contribute to sustainable and equitable rural development and the establishment of improved access to and management of land, water and other natural resources. Drawing on multi-sited empirical research, we argue that the recognition and valorization of custom and common property management is a prerequisite f...
Article
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Property relations are often ambiguous in postcolonial settings. Property is only considered as such if socially legitimate institutions sanction it. In indigenous communities, access to natural resources is frequently subject to conflict and negotiation in a ‘social arena’. Settler arrivals and new economic possibilities challenge these norms and...
Article
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This article explores how macroeconomic and environmental policies instituted since the 1990s have altered meanings, imaginaries, and the human relationship to nature in Colombia. The Colombian nation-state is pluri-ethnic, multilingual, and megabiodiverse. In this context, indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, and some peasant communities survive h...
Presentation
Across the globe, large scale commercial mining seems to offer little local economic benefit, when it takes place in regions far from centres of political power where indigenous populations are numerous. Their claims on mining companies are often unmet, and their participation in the industry, despite recent efforts in Australia and elsewhere, is l...
Technical Report
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Report of work carried out as one of the first visiting research fellows at the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, VUB, Brussels in 2015. An investigation into Brussels and Berlin community bicycle workshops as contributors to community economies and sustainable urban transport.
Article
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Purpose – The article surveys dairy farmers' lay knowledge of climate change and the adaptation strategies they have implemented to respond to climatic and economic drivers. Dairy farming is highly dependent on local weather and climate. The case study is in Western Victoria, Australia, part of a major dairy farming region that contributes 26 per c...
Chapter
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Abstract: In the 1970s and 1980s, a fierce debate took place concerning the vulnerability and adaptive practices of farmers and herders in the West African Sahel, and the utility of concepts including ‘adaptation’ to drought. The region has had the most primary research conducted on drought vulnerability and response, and it is referred to as an a...
Article
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Bien que la production de bois dédiée à l’exportation ait une longue histoire en Afrique subsaharienne, cet article s’intéresse à l’actuelle re)commercialisation des forêts de cette région. En tant que chercheurs en écologie politique combinant « les préoccupations de l’écologie et une économie politique au sens général », nous observons que les pa...
Technical Report
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Adapting to climate change requires new approaches to strategic planning at state, regional and local scales and the development of learning organisations at all levels of government. In this think tank, held at Northcote Town Hall on 5 July 2010, local policy and decision makers worked with overseas experts to consider how to better integrate adap...
Article
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This article offers a critical perspective on the academic tenure system in the USA. Academic tenure is most frequently defended for the protection it affords freedom of speech in higher education, and it is attacked for its cost and lack of flexibility in a rapidly changing sector. The paper makes a third argument, that tenure sustains an unhealth...
Article
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The World Bank's recent concern for 'empowerment' grows out of longer standing discussions of participation, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society. While commitments to empowerment enter World Bank texts with relative ease, their practice within Bank-funded projects is far more contingent, and the meanings they assume become much...
Chapter
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Article
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The World Bank's recent concern for 'empowerment' grows out of longer standing discussions of participation, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society. While commitments to empowerment enter World Bank texts with relative ease, their practice within Bank-funded projects is far more contingent, and the meanings they assume become much...
Article
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Culture has received increasing attention in critical development studies, though the notion that there are important cultural differences within and between development organizations has received less consideration. This paper elaborates elements of a framework for studying organizational culture in multi-agency development projects. It draws on s...
Article
Soil is being eroded from the village lands of Fandou Béri, in southwestern Niger, at rates of over 30 t ha−1 year−1, as measured by the 137Cs method. These figures exceed those that were used to label the Sahel a “hot spot” for soil erosion. The response to these data in international agronomic research organisations has been to make large investm...
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Article
It is difficult to produce systems for judging sustainability, despite general enthusiasm for the concept. Here we evaluate the 'capitals' formulation for sustainability, which attempts to bring together the social and the environmental dimensions of the issue, and which has gained wide currency. We concentrate our attention on the 'natural capital...
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This paper introduces a collection of articles on 'Transnational livelihoods and landscapes'. We outline the analytical value of grounding political ecologies of globalization in notions of livelihood, scale, place and network. This requires an understanding of the linkages between rural people to global processes. We argue that the exploitation of...
Article
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The landscapes created by livelihood diversification in rural Africa result from human activity, from biophysical processes, and from their interrelations. The paper explores these interrelationships through analysis of ‘productive bricolage’ -the ways in which rural people in one of Africa’s most disadvantaged countries have constructed a liveliho...
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The livelihoods and life chances of pastoral communities in the West African Sahel are linked to: the complexity of the activities they must engage in to insure access to resources; to the nature of conflicts and co-operation between ethnic groups; to the inconsistent role of the state in assisting or constraining pastoral livelihoods; and to the n...
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This paper introduces a special issue of Global Environmental Change: Human dimensions on the Sahel of West Africa. It reviews the seminar to which the papers were presented, and brings together some conclusions. Despite the quarter century of research into the West African Sahel that followed the great droughts of the 1970s, there are still strong...
Article
A review of soil erosion research in the West African Sahel finds that there are insufficient data on which to base policy. This is largely because of the difficulties of measuring erosion and the other components of “soil life”, and because of the highly spatially and temporarily variable natural and social environment of the Sahel. However, a “lo...
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MortimoreMichael, Roots in the African Dust: sustaining the drylands. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, 219 pp., £37.50, ISBN 0 521 45173.6 hard covers, £13.95, ISBN 0 521 45785 8 paperback. - Volume 71 Issue 1 - Simon P.J. Batterbury
Article
This paper forms the introduction to a special issue of Land Use Policy based upon a selection of papers presented at thèUsing and Shaping the Landa symposium that took place at the conferencèNature, Society and History: Long-Term Dynamics of Social Metabolisma in autumn 1999 in Vienna. This introductory paper o!ers a framework and an analysis of t...
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This paper forms the introduction to a special issue of this journal entitled 'Environmental Histories, Access to Resources and Landscape Change', that poses challenges to the ways in which the multiple dimensions of resource degradation are understood, analyzed and acted upon in developing countries. The paper outlines a framework for understandin...
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These perceptive analyses offer a picture of spiraling degradation, growing poverty, and the displacement of people to accommodate economic growth and population increase. This article, by contrast, examines cases that lead to a different conclusion. While aggregate or regional statistics present a depressing picture, it is quite evident that at th...
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This paper critically evaluates the gestion des terroirs villageois (GTV) approach to community management of natural resources. The approach is widely used in francophone West Africa by NGOs, bilateral programmes, and government agencies. Three aspects of GTV approaches are presented and reviewed, based on research conducted with a large bilateral...
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This paper introduces a special edition of The Geographical Journal on the theme of 'environmental transformations in developing countries'. Geographical research into human-environment relations is well established. However. many recent studies of political ecology or constructivist approaches to environment either overlook biophysical aspects of...
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Innovative but now well-known conservation techniques have been developed over the last decade in Burkina Faso. The author discusses how local community organizations and farmer groups are involved in managing these important activities, and what role they play in overseeing and directing change in the region. -Author
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This article looks at the challenges posed by the introduction of locally developed, low cost techniques for soil and water conservation on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso in dryland West Africa. It asks how local community organisations and farmer groups are involved in managing these important activities, and what role they play in overseeing...
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Farming and the Countryside: An Economic Analysis of External Costs and Benefits, ed. HanleyN.. vii + 328 pp. Wallingford: CAB International (1991). £40.00 or $76.00 (hardback). ISBN 0 85198 713 3. - Volume 118 Issue 2 - Simon Batterbury