Brazilian State-Formation: Rethinking Geopolitical Agency

Pedro Salgado // International Relations // Wednesday 15th March 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


Latin American historical trajectory normally falls in a gap in the fields of International Relations and Historical Sociology. The political transformation it sees in the nineteenth century is rarely contemplated by studies of state-formation, or by those who focus on the post-colonial moment after 1945. When it is addressed, it is normally explained through the expansion of the European international society, or through the colonial difference itself. Using the particular case of Brazil up until the nineteenth century, I argue that a better account of state-formation can be achieved by focusing on the connection between social conflict and the strategies of territorialisation of given polities, through a radically historicist framework based on the notion of geopolitical agency.


Pedro is in the final year of his PhD in International Relations. He has previous degrees on Law (UFRJ) and Social Sciences (UERJ), and a Masters in International Relations (Sussex). His worked is focused on applying historical materialism in the field of International Relations, aiming to develop a framework that can integrate social relations and forms of territoriality through a focus on radical historicism and contextualised agencies.

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Return to Mexico: what influences Mexican migrants’ return decisions?

Lorena Guzman Elizalde // Geography // Wednesday 8th March 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


Despite return migration being an important aspect in the US-Mexican migration flow it has been largely under studied, especially when it comes to migrants’ post-return experiences. My PhD research aims to highlight the intersections between types of return and (re)integration, focusing on the central factors that shape (re)integration, the multidimensionality of this process, and the key elements that can contribute (or not) to migrants’ wellbeing upon return. In this talk, I will present a general background of my research, followed by some thoughts on what motivates migrants’ return decisions and how pre-return experiences, personal characteristics and geographies, affect such experience. I will illustrate this through narratives of migrants coming back from the United States to two different locations in Mexico: Huaquechula, Puebla and Mexico City.


Lorena Guzman is a fourth year PhD student in Migration Studies. She has worked for more than ten years delivering psychosocial services for asylum seekers, migrants and refugees and doing research related to migrants’ local integration and psychosocial wellbeing. Lorena has also collaborated with a number of nongovernmental organisations and research institutions in Mexico and internationally. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Migration, Mental Health and Social Care from the University of Kent in the UK.

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Receptive cities? Institutional narratives of migrants integration and everyday intercultural interactions in Brighton and Bologna

Caterina Mazzilli // Geography // Wednesday 1st March 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


In this lecture I will present the background and rationale of my PhD research, investigating the criteria according to which a city can be considered receptive and open towards migrants. To provide both narratives from above and from below, I have collected local authorities’ narratives of migrants integration and migrants’ direct experiences of integration. Even though the research is a cross-country comparison between Brighton and Bologna, in this lecture I will only focus on the Brighton side, elaborating about the responses of local authorities.


I am a third year PhD student in Migration Studies, working on cities’ receptiveness towards migrants in the UK and Italy. I have worked in asylum seekers reception for three years for an association of Bologna and I hold an MA in International Cooperation and Development from the University of Bologna.

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On the fringes of adaptation: climate change, risk perception and household resettlement in rural Malawi

Stern Kita // Geography // Wednesday 22nd February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


The lecture focuses on a study conducted in Malawi, sub-Saharan Africa as part of a PhD project to assesses why there are variations in adopting resettlement as an adaptation measure among households with similar levels of vulnerability to climate variability and change. It will specifically narrow down on how social-psychological and socio-economic factors determine resettlement outcomes. This will then be discussed within broader adaptation and disaster risk reduction perspectives to demonstrate some of the challenges that vulnerable households in low-income countries face as they adapt to climate change, within the context of equally demanding livelihood and other needs. It will also demonstrate this complexity in private adaptation with evidence showing that, in most communities, adaptation decisions are made not just in response to a single hazard. In the case of these complexities, maladaptive options, or non-response options such as wishful thinking, denial and fatalism that some households are adopting become clearer.


Stern Kita is a third year PhD student in Geography whose research is focusing on adaptation to climate change and climate variability, with a focus on resettlement. He has worked in disaster risk management for the past seven years within government in Malawi. He holds an MSc in Environment and Development from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

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National identity integration and belonging among white British middle-class British adults in north-east London/Essex

Amy Clarke // Geography // Wednesday 15th February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


In this talk I will present the background of my research and offer some thoughts on the question of how white British-born people (in the suburbs of London) understand other people as belonging (or not) to a British ‘national community of belonging’. Where do they draw the line between ‘national us’ and ‘foreign them’? And, what does this tell us about contemporary processes of inclusion and exclusion?


Amy Clarke is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of Sussex. She is a Social and Cultural Geography with an MA in Migration Studies, also from the University of Sussex, with research interests in national identity and belonging, migrant integration, race and ethnicity. She is now in the third year of her PhD into white British understandings of national identity and belonging in a London suburb.

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The moral corporation: On personal conviction and professional care of Turkish CEOs

Deniz Seebacher // Anthropology // Wednesday 8th February 2017 // 1-2pm // Arts C 133


CEOs are often the charismatic faces of the corporations and represent the corporate personality. While corporate practices are associated with exploitation and greedy profit maximization, their CEOs often highlight the philanthropic and giving role of their organizations for society. In this lecture, I will go beyond corporate practices labeled as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and look at the historical development and contemporary roles of corporations and their leaders in Turkey.

Using the case of two big Turkish corporations with publicly vocal CEOs, their histories within the Turkish nation state as well as their involvement in the Gezi park protests (2013), I will elaborate on CEOs as family patriarchs, business leaders and their roles within today’s society and the political landscape in Turkey. From a care perspective, it becomes especially interesting to see what they care about and whom they care for, in their quest to create coherent images of personal integrity, professionalism, and business trajectories. The notion of care is a powerful way to create relationships and dependencies, and frame political ideas of what doing good for society means.


Deniz Seebacher is currently completing her doctoral thesis at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, after having conducted ethnographic fieldwork with the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Department of a corporate holding in Turkey between 2012 and 2016. She focuses on every day CR&S practices and ideas of morality within the corporate form.

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On the Politics of Biodiversity and Forests

Andrea Brock // International Relations // Wednesday 27th April 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133



What is biodiversity and why should it matter? What are some of the politics involved in nature conservation? Can we solve our biodiversity crisis through privatising, commodifying, marketising and financialising nature? I suggest we can’t, but we need much more fundamental transformations of our political economic system. Current approaches to “neoliberal conservation”, especially biodiversity markets, pretend that we can have a win-win-win, saving nature, enabling ‘development’ and making money off it. Instead, these policies legitimise an inherently unsustainable system and facilitate business as usual, as I show with a case study of biodiversity offsetting in Malaysia.


Andrea is a doctoral researcher and Associate Tutor in International Relations, member of the Centre for Global Political Economy and STEPS Centre. Her PhD research is about the development of the No Net Loss of biodiversity initative in the European Union. She has worked for a number of social and environmental nongovernmental organisations in the past and considers herself an activist for social and ecological justice.

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