I have two quite separate areas of research expertise; one which has evolved through my own PhD research, the other through postdoctoral positions which draw on my background as a Zoologist. Strangely, these areas have managed to complement each other, either theoretically or methodologically, as I draw on my experiences as a natural and social scientist.
With a Zoology degree and an MSc in Nature and Society in tow, my recent postdoctoral work has allowed me to revisit this background of resources for use on two large-scale projects. Most currently I am working as a Research Fellow at the University of Cardiff on a DEFRA funded project led by Dr Gareth Enticott. As part of the project we will be working with the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency to develop a set of social risk factors which can be incorporated into epidemiological mapping of bovine tuberculosis (bTB).Between Nov 2011 and Dec 2012 I was an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter on an ESRC project entitled ‘Biosecurity Borderlands’ ( led by Professor Steve Hinchliffe). Here, my research into animal health, disease and science and society, allowed me to explore themes of immunity, risk and knowledge practices associated with farming and agriculture.
Key themes explored during my PhD were those of exclusion, citizenship and Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality. Conducted within areas of deprivation, I was particularly interested in the methods by which deprived neighbourhoods and communitiesbecome engaged and enrolled into government initiatives: initiatives which ultimately seek to shape and redefine their subjectivities into ‘appropriate’ citizens. This is where governmentality proved useful, not only in looking closely at the techniques of government at work but also to tease out the ways in which communities themselves can use, resist or even translate such initiatives for their own ends. My thesis paid particular attention to the process of neighbourhood regeneration, and recently I have been following the Troubled Families programme, one of the Coalition’s key approach to tackling social ‘problems’ in deprived areas, with a close eye. Central to my PhD research was the issue of housing, chiefly the role that low-cost private sector housing can play in creating geographies of exclusion and segregation. Accordingly my research touches on geographies of poverty, homelessness and unemployment within rural and coastal communities.