Landscapes of governance and control

Power and politics are omnipresent forces, permeating every facet of human existence. And these forces always act somewhere: from the bustling streets to the vast expanse of the ocean, from the intimate dynamics of households to the rigid boundaries of nation-states. In exploring the spatial configurations of power and politics, we also interrogate the processes of making decisions about who controls or 'governs' our world; how those decisions are made; and what impacts they have upon our lives. Under this theme, colleagues unravel the intricate interplay of power dynamics and political mechanisms across diverse landscapes, such as urban waterways, marine protected areas and prisons. Our work transcends conventional disciplinary boundaries, delving into realms as varied as legal and social structures, environmental governance, economic systems, and beyond. In all, we strive to illuminate the complexities of governance and control, shedding light on the forces that shape our world and influence our lives.

Research topics

  • Architectures and experiences of imprisonment
  • Conceptualising the border in our contemporary society
  • Global (in)justices in human-nature relations
  • Governance of crime and the criminal identity
  • Mobilities and migration
  • Ocean governance and policy
  • Resource and infrastructure governance
  • Spatial planning in Germany
  • The prison-military complex


CCWORK: A Longitudinal Study of Canadian Correctional Workers’ Well-being, Organizations, Roles and Knowledge. This project explores how working in the prison environment impacts the well-being of correctional officers in Canadian federal prisons. Using both qualitative and quantitative data collection strategies (e.g., surveys, interviews, and clinical assessments), CCWORK follows newly recruited officers for up to 10 years to identify and understand the consequences of the stressors that can compromise health and well-being in the prison workplace. Click here for more information about the project.

Centre for Border Studies - Université de la Grande Région: This project is part of the Interreg project "Center for Border Studies" which is a transnational and multidisciplinary network of researchers from the Greater Region who study borders and bordering phenomena and processes from various angles. Within the Interreg project it investigates questions of human-environment interaction and more-than-human connections. Therefore, it will combine border studies with nature-culture relations while using an anthropological lens and theoretical inspiration from assemblage theory as well as sustainability science. Click here for more information

Correctional Staff in Canada: Understanding the Armed Forces to Civilian Transition: Prisons often recruit staff with a background in the armed forces. Following a successful UK study, this project extends the enquiry to understand the role of the prison as a site of armed forces­civilian transition for ex­Service personnel in the Canadian context. Deploying an extensive survey, the project interrogates how ex­armed forces personnel adapt to prison work; the ways they feel managers, colleagues, and prisoners perceive their military background; their potential to ‘model’ preferred behaviours; the career paths they take, and the nature of their leadership within the prison setting.

The Persistence of the Victorian Prison: Alteration, Inhabitation, Obsolescence and Affirmative Design: In England and Wales today, more than a quarter of prisoners live in Victorian-era prison accommodation. The continued operation of these historic prisons has been the subject of intense criticism, with such buildings frequently described as obsolete and unfit for purpose. This research project uses analysis of archival material, interviews with current and former staff and prisons as well as creative work from currently incarcerated men in two prisons in England and Wales to understand the implications of the longevity and persistence of the Victorian prison. Click here for more information about this project.

Women's Imprisonment, Social Control and the Carceral State (WISCA): Women have remained largely absent from studies into key issues such as control, exclusion and experiences of confinement. Yet female prisoners are particularly important because many reform agendas are trialled on this relatively small and seemingly more manageable group. WISCA employs a survey and interviews with incarcerated persons and staff in (or recently released from) women’s prisons in North-Rhine-Westphalia to understand the lived experiences of the prison system in Germany. Click here for more information about this project.


  • Correctional Services of Canada
  • Fisheries and Marine Institute at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
  • Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity and Alfred Wegener Institute
  • Howard League for Penal Reform, UK
  • Kriminologischer Dienst des Landes NRW (KrimD NRW)
  • Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, Canada