In the past year I have been part of a collaborative endeavor between three chair groups  (Cultural Geography, Rural Sociology and Sociology of Development Change) in setting up the Centre for Space, Place and Society at Wageningen University. The main aim of the Centre is to advance critical-constructive scholarship within the social sciences of the University and the focus will be on issues of socio-spatial and environmental justice.

On Friday the 21st of October the Centre was finally launched and the University’s bi-weekly magazine Resource devoted an article to it. Here is a provisional translation of the press release, the original article in Dutch can be found here.

“Forty members of staff and more than eighty doctoral students will work on several themes such as tourism, food and disaster, from a variety of theoretical perspectives such as biopolitics and political ecology. What unites the sociologists, anthropologists and geographers at the Centre is that they want to problematize social inequalities in the world from a critical socio-theoretical approach. Additionally, the merger has several practical reasons. The last assessment review from our graduate school advocated the formation of research clusters with a greater critical mass. As as result, the three chair groups have now set up a PhD training program together in which they wish to supervise the PhD students together and collaborate on research projects.”

Why the name Space, Place and Society? Han Wiskerke: “Those three aspects bind us. For example, we do a lot of research on space-related issues, for example on how citizens give meaning and respond to their own social context and living conditions. There is a spatial and social dimension also in the political ecology of nature parks and in research related to refugee camps.”

More information on the Centre for Space, Place and Society and its activities can be found here.