Dr Caroline Upton
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography
- Tel: 0116 252 3824
- Email: email@example.com
- Fax: 0116 252 3854
- Office: Bennett Building F64b
I completed my doctoral research in Geography at the University of Cambridge in 2004 and spent two years there as a lecturer and research officer prior to joining the Geography Department at Leicester in 2006.
My research focuses on aspects of political ecology, especially responses to political, socio-economic and environmental change amongst resource-dependant rural societies. In particular I am concerned with exploring dynamic interactions between policy, practice and livelihoods in the context of debates around sustainability, institutional change, adaptive management and diverse environmental knowledges.
I am also currently working with colleagues in Leicester, Europe and East Africa to explore climate change scenarios and their efficacy as policy tools, and to develop methods for participatory valuation of ecosystem services. My ongoing research interests also include environmental justice and activism with a particular focus on post-Soviet contexts, transnational movements and pastoralism.
Recent research has addressed the following key themes:
- Endogenous and donor-driven evolution of resource management institutions amongst pastoralists
- Evolution of land tenure regimes, especially in post-Soviet contexts, and links between land reform, land inequality and poverty.
- Collective action, social capital and emergent civil society in post-Soviet contexts.
- The poverty/conservation nexus, with reference to resource governance around Protected Areas and community-based resource management.
- Values and valuation of nature and ecosystem services
- Pastoral livelihood strategies, adaptation and activism
Much of my empirical work has focused on these issues in the context of Mongolia’s herding communities and their reponses to complex land tenure reforms, increasing donor influence, exacerbation of poverty and inequality, struggles over competing discourses of conservation and, most recently, emergent social movements and innovations in civil society. I have recently completed an RGS-IBG funded research project, ‘Mining and Resistance: New Struggles on Mongolia’s Pastoral Commons’, and a British Academy funded project ‘Development and Change: Institutional Innovation and Mongolian Pastoralism’.
I have also undertaken research in conjunction with colleagues at Cambridge, Oxford and Manchester Universities on global and national aspects of poverty/conservation relationships. In addition to the above, ongoing research interests also explore issues of accountability, participation and representation in the context of the emergence of pastoralists’ initiatives and networks at a global scale as funded through my British Academy funding for the project ‘Common Ground? Identity, Activism and the Global Pastoralists’ Movement’.
Current projects include:
- Community, Place and Pastoralism: Nature and Society in Post-Soviet Central Asia (Leverhulme Trust, 2010-2012; PI)
- EAGLO – East African Great Lakes Observatory (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation [ESPA] Programme, DFID/NERC/ ESRC, 2010-2012)
- Naivasha Roses Sustainability Project (Swiss COOP, 2011)
- Associate Editor Society and Natural Resources
- Fellow of Royal Geographical Society/ Institute of British Geographers
- Member, International Association for Study of the Commons (IASC)
- Member, Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge
Research Areas for PhD Supervision
Institutional dimensions of natural resource management, with particular reference to pastoralists; land reform and inequality, conservation discourses, values and practices.
Enquiries: If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via geogPhD@le.ac.uk
Selected Recent Publications
Upton, C. (2011) Managing Mongolia’s commons: land reforms, social contexts and institutional change. Society and Natural Resources.
Upton, C. (in press, 2011). ‘Mining, resistance and pastoral livelihoods’, in Dierkes, J. (ed.) Contemporary Mongolia. Netherlands: Brill.