Faculty of Social Sciences
My work investigates the intersections between democracy, public life, and urbanization. I have written on topics including colonial and postcolonial discourses, critical theory and the public sphere, political philosophy, popular media cultures, poststructuralism, social movements, and urban politics. My current research focuses on emergent forms of public action and their implications for understandings of democracy.
I blog about some of my research and teaching hang-ups at Pop Theory.
I am a member of the OpenSpace Research Centre and of the Publics Research Programme in the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University. I am also a Member of the Open University's Ethics Centre.
BA (Cambridge), D.Phil. (Oxford)
I am Chair of a new Masters level course Changing cities: urban transitions and decision making (D837) which explores the links between urbanization, contemporary environmental issues, and critical spatial thinking. This course has been developed in collaboration with the RTPI accredited Joint Distance Learning Masters in Town and Country Planning.
And I am co-Chair of the interdisciplinary second-level undergraduate social sciences module, The uses of social science (DD206).
I was a member of the course team responsible for the Level 2 course Living in a globalised world (DD205) including co-editing (with Gillian Rose and Jenny Robinson) one of the two main course books co-published by Sage in 2008, as Geographies of Globalisation.
I have a long-standing research interest in understanding the reconfigurations of public life. This has included work on the textual geographies of postcolonial public spheres, including research on the construction of transnational literary publics around the Heinemann African Writers Series; research examining relationships between social movements and media organizations in the city of Durban; and critical engagements with the conceptualization of 'neoliberalism'. More recently, the Emergent Publics project explored the development of new practices, sites and norms of public action, and has informed research on the use of marketing technologies in segmenting the subjects of public services, public engagement, and community engagement.
This work on public formation is closely tied to ongoing research on the spaces of democratic politics. This has included my book Culture and Democracy (Edinburgh University Press and University of Alabama Press, 2003), and the co-edited collection Spaces of Democracy: Geographical Perspectives on Citizenship, Participation, and Representation (Sage, 2004). Most recently, I have been elaborating a theoretical framework for the analysis of the relations between urbanization and democratic mobilization. This research focuses on re-conceptualizing the geographical aspects of the democratic principle of 'all affected interests'. This theoretical work draws on empirical projects, including research on new spaces of democracy in post-apartheid Durban, research on transnational HIV and AIDS advocacy networks, and research on ethical consumption which explored the place-based problematization of everyday consumption practices as a strategy for mobilizing local networks of global solidarity (Governing the subjects and spaces of ethical consumption).
The third strand of my research focuses on developing social theoretical perspectives on ordinary practices of virtue, such as generosity, hospitality, and responsibility. This work is part of a wider concern with understanding the ways in which normative values are folded into and out of practices, and with developing an account of critical theory that does justice to the ordinary dimensions of 'normativity'. Most recently, this work has been elaborated in a series of Progress Reports on the state of the field of 'geography and ethics'.
I am currently co-supervising PhD students working on the cultural politics of climate change, community-led initiatives towards low carbon living, urban politics in Berlin, and the role of the BBC World Service in democratization in Africa; recently competed PhD students have worked on democracy and rubbish in Buenos Aries, the politics of global water rights, and the politics of reconciliation in South Africa.
A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.
2011 Barnett, C., Cloke, P., Clarke, N. & Malpass, A. Globalizing Responsibility: The political rationalities of ethical consumption (RGS-IBG Book Series). London, Wiley-Blackwell.
2010 Mahony, N., Newman, J. & Barnett, C. (eds.) Rethinking the Public: Innovations in research, theory and practice. Bristol, Policy Press.
2009 Dikeç, M., Clark, N., and Barnett, C. (eds.) Extending Hospitality: Giving space, taking time. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.
2012 Barnett, C. Changing cities. In Butcher, M., Clark, N., Smith, J., and Tyszczuk, R. (eds). Atlas: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World. London, UK: Black Dog Publishing.
2011 Barnett, C. Class (Part II). In J. Agnew and J. S. Duncan (eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Human Geography. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 426-439.
2009. Barnett, C. Publics and markets: What's wrong with neoliberalism? In S. Smith, R. Pain, S. Marston, and J.P Jones III (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Social Geography. Sage, pp. 269-296.
2008. Barnett, C. Convening publics: the parasitical spaces of public action. In K. R. Cox, M. Low, and J. Robinson (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Political Geography. Sage, pp. 403-417.
2009 Rodgers, S., Barnett, C., & Cochrane, A. Themed Section: Re-engaging the intersections of media, politics and cities. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 33, pp. 231-249.
2013. Barnett, C. Geography and ethics: from moral geographies to geographies of worth. Progress in Human Geography. In Press.
Barnett, C. and Bridge, G. Geographies of radical democracy: agonistic pragmatism and the formation of affected interests. Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
2012. Barnett, C. Geography and ethics: Placing life in the space of reasons. Progress in Human Geography. 36(3), pp. 379–388.
2012. Barnett, C. Situating the geographies of injustice in democratic theory. Geoforum. 43, 677-686.
2012. Marx, C., Halcli, A., and Barnett, C. Locating the global governance of HIV and AIDS: exploring the geographies of transnational advocacy networks. Health and Place18(3):490-5.
2011. Geography and ethics: Justice unbound. Progress in Human Geography. 35(2) 246–255.
2010. Barnett, C. The politics of behaviour change. Environment and Planning A, 42, 1881-1886.
2009. Barnett, C. Violence and publicity: constructions of political responsibility after 9/11. Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, 12, 353-375.
2008. Barnett, C. Theorising democracy geographically. Geoforum 39, 1637-1640.
A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.
Last updated: 30 November 2012