I am professor of Postcolonial Studies in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. Although my academic background is in Geography, for the last 20 years I have been based in a multi-disciplinary institute teaching and researching international development theory and practice. My research has focused on colonial and postcolonial analyses of international development and on diasporas and migration. On these issues I have edited a number of books including Participation: the new tyranny? (2001), Development Theory and Practice: critical perspectives (2002) and A Radical History of Development Studies (2005). Much of this research has explored how eurocentric, particularly colonialist, ideologies and practices continue to pervade the workings of the international development industry. What has emerged from this work has been a growing awareness about the centrality of time to explanations of difference and inequality. More recently, therefore, I have been carrying out historically informed research on how different conceptualisations, imaginings and uses of time shape global inequalities by examining the spatial mapping of different temporalities. More specifically, I examine how temporalities, of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’, are associated not solely with different historical moments but with particular people and places. I am also interested in identifying the variety of ways in which these hegemonic temporalities are being resisted.
I am Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, and co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) where I covene the research theme on ‘Topologies of Social Change’ - an inter-disciplinary group interested in the politics of space, time and matter. I am currently working with Hannah Knox on an ethnography of roads in the Andean and Amazonian regions of Peru. Our almost finished book - Precarious Infrastructures - tracks the material, moral and social controversies produced by a volatile mix of engineering expertise, transnational capital and territorial politics. We are particularly interested in how road construction projects mobilise spatial and temporal imaginaries. Roads are field sites that allow for the empirical study of trans-local places that register histories of travel and of settlement, and that draw together the preoccupations and speculative investments of multilateral funders, international trade and local enterprises. Since October 2010 I have also been working on a new ethnographic project entitled Unsettling the State: Law, Engineering and Regional Government in Cusco, Peru. This is a collaborative project in a research team of six ethnographers, which I run together with Deborah Poole (Johns Hopkins University) that looks at how the ambiguities that technical and legal knowledges create and sustain are mobilised in the exercise of state power. The tropes of temporality and community are central to this work.
I am a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at Durham University. My PhD thesis is entitled as “Cultural Perceptions of Time and Space: On Negotiating Social Change in Rural Pakistan”. This research aims to investigate culturally perceived notions of time and space in a Pakistani village and to ascertain the extent to which these may have undergone changes in recent decades. The study will examine how the community has adapted to new temporal and spatial models, and determine the extent of such adaptations due to social change. I am particularly interested in the workshop’s themes related to community participation, self-reliance and resilience and sustainable community environments, places, spaces and institutions. Time is an important aspect of human experience which appears to be a universal phenomenon. In order to understand any cultural characteristics, it will be imperative to recognize the temporal organization of the community, essentially with reference to spatial models. Since culture is a process and change is inevitable so the changing models of time provide an insight into the mechanism of any socioeconomic change taken place in the community. Taking into account the community’s sensitivities to its culturally perceived models of time and space will help increasing the willingness of the community to actively participate in development programs to achieve sustainability.