My research and writing look at different aspects of nature ‐ society relations in their political ‐ economic, social and developmental contexts. Most fundamentally, I have been interested in empirically investigating and theoretically exploring the intersections between contemporary neoliberal or ‘late’ capitalism and the environment.
I start from the assumption that neoliberal capitalism has deeply yet unevenly influenced the ways humans exploit, conserve or otherwise relate to nature and that this process fundamentally influences broader dynamics of development and change. Methodologically, I combine multi ‐ level, engaged ethnography with discourse analysis and ‘deep reading’ to understand how actors and their lived realities influence and are influenced by structural power dynamics over time.
- Transfrontier conservation in Southern Africa: exploring the effects of emerging transnational governance structures on local and regional socio ‐ ecological realities in the Maloti ‐ Drakensberg between Lesotho and South Africa, as well as other ‘peace parks’ in the southern African region (PhD).
- Nature 2.0: This research investigates how new online media such as Facebook, Twitter and other web 2.0 tools are changing global and local politics of conservation.
- The political economy of energy in relation to fossil and timber resource extraction: understanding local and regional socio ‐ ecological impacts of increasing energy and resource investments by (emerging) global powers in Southern Africa.
Through various projects, I have further explored how both the conservation and the exploitation of nature relate to and function within broader structures of power, and how they relate to each other. Over the next couple of years, I hope to build on this work to investigate the violent impacts of recent surges in wildlife crime and resource extraction on ecosystems and wildlife.
I like to supervise theses that broadly deal with the links between environment and development and relate these to, for example, power, politics, economy, exclusion, inequality, new online media and technology, governance, the role of different actors (state, NGOs, private sector, influential individuals), violence, conflicts, etc.