• From pragmatism to meritocracy? Views on in-house family ties on the Swedish labour market (2019-11-15)
    Kerstin Westin Dept. of Geography and Economic Histpry Katarina Haugen Human Geography Unit, Department of Society and Economy, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg

    In-house family ties within workplaces are a non-negligible phenomenon on the labour market. Drawing on organizational and geographical perspectives and based on thematic analysis of 40 interviews with human resource managers, we analyse how family ties are viewed and managed in organizations on the Swedish labour market. Based on the empirical analysis, we suggest that there are two different logics of human resource management concerning in-house family ties: a traditional, pragmatic and informal logic which expresses an accepting view; and a modern, meritocratic and formal logic associated with a disapproving view. Moreover, the informal logic seems to be increasingly challenged by formalization of human resource processes in both urban and rural settings. However, the analysis indicates that in smaller labour markets this shift is somewhat restrained by the limited supply of labour and socially tight knit local communities. Also, it seems that the change often meets resistance from supporters of the informal logic, and there is dissonance across different professional groups across and within organizations.

  • GIS and land cover-based assessment of ecosystem services in the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve, Finland (2019-11-15)
    Laura Poikolainen Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, University of Eastern Finland Guilherme Pinto SLU - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, SLU Petteri Vihervaara 3) Finnish Environment Institute, Biodiversity Centre, Benjamin Burkhard 4) Institute of Physical Geography and Landscape Ecology, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Franzeska Wolff Finnish Environment Institute, Biodiversity Centre Reima Hyytiäinen Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, University of Eastern Finland Timo Kumpula University of Eastern Finland, Finland

    Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, ecosystems and their services are key principles behind the establishment of “Biosphere Reserves”. Mapping of ecosystem services is one of the activities that is expected to increase the knowledge of sustainable land use planning. The Biosphere Reserves, established by the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme, aims to find the balance between nature conservation, use of natural resources, recreation and other culture-related activities. For this purpose, the ecosystem services approach is a promising tool for examining the relationships between people and nature in practice. This study applies the ecosystem services approach and examines which ecosystem services are perceived to be relevant in the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve in Eastern Finland. The results of a matrix method, with expert-based approach, showed that particularly old-growth forests and undrained open and forested mires have a broader potential to provide different ecosystem services. Water and urban areas are considered important for cultural services. However, these areas cover only a relatively small area altogether. The results of the ecosystem services assessment were compared to areas of high biodiversity, as defined by local biodiversity experts. The areas with high capacity for ecosystem services provision (from now on “high ecosystem services areas”) were found in areas with high biodiversity. In most cases, these areas are already under protection. The results also showed that ambiguity is an issue with the use of the ecosystem services concept in both stakeholder and expert evaluations.

  • The long shadows cast by the field: violence, trauma, and the ethnographic researcher (2019-12-09)
    Stephen Taylor Queen Mary University of London

    As more geographers utilise ethnographic methods to explore pressing contemporary issues such as abandonment, precarity, and resilience, they enter into research environments often defined by social marginality and violence. There are emotional and psychological risks associated with embedded research in such contexts, however these challenges have largely been ignored in existing methodological literatures. A frank debate is needed about the emotional and psychological burden that ethnographic research can exact upon lone researchers and how these burdens interface with researcher identity and positionality. Drawing on a reflexive analysis of the author’s experience of fieldwork in South Africa, this paper highlights the emotional consequences of conducting ethnographic research with marginal groups in dangerous contexts. It specifically examines the ripple effect of exposure to traumatic events that culminated in the author’s diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In so doing, the paper draws attention to the acute emotional and psychological consequences of ethnographic research, while also challenging prevalent professional attitudes within the neoliberal university that promote the downplaying or silencing of such repercussions. The paper concludes with a series of suggestions for how (early career) researchers, our discipline, and institutions might better promote and realise an ethic of collective care for field researchers.

  • Imagining future worlds alongside young climate activists: a new framework for research (2019-12-05)
    Benjamin Bowman Manchester Metropolitan University

    Young people’s climate activism must stand as one of the most remarkable and important mass movements of our age. At levels of organization from the local to the global, young climate activists are coming together in massive mobilizations, and particularly school strikes, under the names of Fridays For Future, #FridaysForFuture, Youth for Climate, Youth Strike for (or 4) Climate and School Strike for (or 4) Climate. This article responds to the most extensive study of young people’s climate action published to date, entitled ‘Protest for a Future: Composition, Mobilization and Motives of the Participants in Fridays For Future Climate Protests on 15 March, 2019 in 13 European Cities’. In this significant and provocative article, an analysis is provided of the potential – and the need – for empirical work at local and international levels concerning youth climate activism that recognizes the often complex, liminal nature of young political agency and the diverse, intersecting motives that lead young people to demonstrate for action on climate change. Through this analysis, this article contributes to theoretical innovation to get beyond rigid, top-down understandings of young people’s political engagement, and instead build theory from young people’s visions of social, economic and political change in response to climate emergency.