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Faculty of Social Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Melissa Butcher

Dr Melissa Butcher
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom
MK7 6AA

Senior Lecturer in Geography

Geography

Profile

Melissa is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography. Her research examines the intersections between globalisation and contested urban space, processes of urban and cultural change in European and Asian cities, questions of identity and belonging, and the deployment of intercultural competencies to manage diversity. Before joining the OU, Melissa lived and worked in India, taught in universities in Ireland and Australia, and has also worked as a journalist, and a development education and intercultural trainer in the private, government and community sectors. Her recent publications include: New Perspectives in International Development (ed. with T. Papaioannou, Bloomsbury 2013); Managing Cultural Change: Reclaiming Synchronicity in a Mobile World (Ashgate 2011), and Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia's Cities (ed. with S. Velayutham, Routledge 2009). Melissa presents and writes regularly on issues relating to urbanisation, globalisation, migration, urban and youth cultures, and global human resources management.

Qualifications

BA (Charles Sturt, NSW)
M. Phil (Trinity, Dublin)
PhD (Macquarie, Sydney)

Professional affiliations

Association for Asian Studies
International Institute for Asian Studies
Research Committee 21 (International Sociological Association): Sociology of Urban and Regional Development
Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers

Course development and teaching

Melissa is currently on the production team for the new first level module Investigating the Social World (DD103). She has co-chaired the production and presentation of the Level 2 module International development: making sense of a changing world (TD223), and has taught courses on Migration, Mobility and Identity, Globalisation: Changing Worlds, Changing Minds, Geographies of Development and Asia Pacific Development.

Research interests

Melissa’s research focuses on the intersections between cultural change, globalisation and urbanisation, mobility and conflict, processes of identity re-evaluation and belonging within diverse urban spaces, and the development and deployment of intercultural competencies. Past projects include: a study of transnational television in India and its impact on cultural identity; examining identity re-evaluation among second generation migrant youth in Sydney; and assessing the impact of culture and mobility in the global workplace with transnational professionals in the Asia region.

Melissa is currently principal investigator of Hackney as Home: Young People as Participatory Researchers and Publics. This is a two year ESRC funded project (2013-2015) working with young people in the London Borough of Hackney. Using participatory video research methods, the project aims to understand the experience of space and space use in the formation of 'home' and belonging, and the impact of emotional responses to change and difference in that process. Melissa is also principal investigator within the Humanities in Europe Research Area (HERA) funded project, Creating the ‘New’ Asian Woman: Entanglements of Urban Space, Cultural Encounters and Gendered Identities in Shanghai and Delhi (SINGLE)(2013-2016). Using ethnographic, mobile and visual methodologies this collaborative project with the Universities of Amsterdam and Heidelberg, explores the relationship between urban transformation and the formation of new cultural geographies and biographies for single women who have become increasingly visible in public space in Shanghai and Delhi. Drawing on the experiences of women in these cities, the project documents wider social and demographic transformations, set within debates of cultural encounter, ‘world’ cities and globalisation.

 Melissa Butcher is a member of the OpenSpace Research Centre.

PhD supervision

Areas of supervision include globalisation and cultural change; urban cultures; urban redevelopment and gentrification; identity, diversity and migration; development and culture.

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Books

Butcher, M. & Papaioannou, T. (2013), New Perspectives in International Development, London/NY: Bloomsbury Academic/Open University.

Papaioannou, T. & Butcher, M. (2013), International Development in a Changing World, London/NY: Bloomsbury Academic/Open University.

Tyszczuk, R., Smith, J., Clark, N. & Butcher, M. (2012), ATLAS: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World, UK: Blackdog Publishing.

Butcher, M. (2011), Managing Cultural Change: Reclaiming Synchronicity in a Mobile World, UK: Ashgate

Butcher, M & S. Velayutham (eds) (2009), Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia's Cities, UK: Routledge.

Butcher, M. & M. Thomas (eds) (2003), Ingenious: Emerging Youth Cultures in Urban Australia, Melbourne: Pluto Press.

(2003), Transnational Television, Cultural Identity and Change: When STAR Came to India, New Delhi/UK/USA: Sage.

Journal articles

(2011) 'Cultures of Commuting: the Mobile Negotiation of Space and Subjectivity on Delhi's Metro', Mobilities, Vol 6, No 2, pp. 237–254.

Harris, A. and Butcher, M. (eds) (2010), 'Pedestrian Crossings: Young People and Everyday Multiculturalism', Special Issue, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol 31, No 5.

(2010) 'Navigating "New" Delhi: Moving Between Difference and Belonging in a Globalising City', Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol 31, No 5, pp 507–524.

(2010), 'From "Fish Out of Water" to "Fitting In": The Challenge of Finding Home in a Mobile World', in Special Issue: Embodied Transnationalism: Bodies in Transnational Spaces, Population, Space and Place, Vol 16, No 1. pp 23–36.

(2009), 'Ties that Bind: The Strategic Use of Transnational Relationships in Demarcating Identity and Managing Difference', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol 35, No 8. pp 1353–1371.

(2008), 'FOB Boys, VCs and Habibs: Navigating Language in Culturally Diverse Sydney', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol 34, No 3. pp 371–387.

Book chapters

(2013) ‘Congestion’, in P. Adey, D. Bissell, K. Hannam, P. Merriman, M. Sheller (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities, London/NY: Routledge.

Mohan, G. & Butcher, M. (2013), 'Spaces of Development: cities, mobilities and ecologies', in Papaioannou, T. & Butcher, M. (eds), International Development in a Changing World, London/NY: Bloomsbury Academic/Open University.

(2012)  'Creative Disturbances in Urban Space', in R. Tyszczuk, J. Smith, Clark, N. & Butcher, M. (eds), ATLAS: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World, UK: Blackdog Publishing, pp 54–59.

(2011) 'Distinctly Delhi: Affect and Exclusion in a Crowded City', in M. Jayne & T. Edensor (eds) Urban Theory Beyond the West: A World of Cities, UK: Routledge. pp 173–192.

(2009), 'Re-writing Delhi: Cultural Resistance and Cosmopolitan Texts', in M. Butcher & S. Velayutham (eds), Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia's Cities, UK: Routledge. pp 168–184.

(2009), (with S. Velayutham), 'Introduction: Cultures of Resistance in Asia's Transforming Cities', in M. Butcher & S. Velayutham (eds), Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia's Cities, UK: Routledge. pp 1–13.

(2006), '"White Collar Filipinos": Australian Professionals in Singapore', in A. Kaur & I. Metcalf (eds), Mobility, Labour Migration and Border Controls in Asia, London: Palgrave MacMillan. pp 172–192.

Butcher M. & M. Thomas (2006), 'INGENIOUS: Emerging Hybrid Youth Cultures in Western Sydney', in P. Nilan & C. Feixa (eds), Global Youth? Hybrid Identities, Plural Worlds, London/New York: Routledge. pp 53–71.

Non-refereed articles

(2011) 'Managing Proximate Community', essay to accompany the Inheritance Projects exhibition, Community Without Propinquity, MK Gallery, 7 October–27 November 2011.

(2007), 'Plaza Real: Re-imagining Urban Spaces of Cultural Resistance', Critical Dialogues series, Urban Theatre Projects, Sydney

(2006), 'Cultural Perspectives on Development', in Thomas Leonard (ed.), Encyclopaedia of the Developing World, 3 vols., New York: Routledge.

(2006), 'Inter-religious Perspectives on Development', in Thomas Leonard (ed.), Encyclopaedia of the Developing World, 3 vols., New York: Routledge.

(2006), 'Southeast Asia: History and Economic Development', in Thomas Leonard (ed.), Encyclopaedia of the Developing World, 3 vols., New York: Routledge.

Reports

(2006), The Effectiveness of Cross-Cultural Training in the Australian Context, member of research team, study commissioned by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Australian Federal Government.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Last updated: 3 January 2014