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School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Phone number: +44 (0)1865 483758
Chris Hesketh is a Reader in International Political Economy. He received his BA, MA and PhD all from the University of Nottingham. Before joining Oxford Brookes in 2012 he taught at the University of Nottingham and at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has an inter-disciplinary research agenda that combines international political economy, the historical sociology of international relations, political geography, political theory and Latin American studies. In 2019 he was awarded an ISRF fellowship in Political Economy to further his research on Indigenous movements in Latin America.
His current research interests are in the following areas:
ISRF Political Economy Fellowship 2019-2020
Through an investigation of the political economy of wind park development in Oaxaca, southern Mexico, I explore the contested meaning of environmental justice. I contend that, despite their seemingly benign image, wind parks in Oaxaca operate within a spatially-abstracted, colonial epistemology of capital-centred development. This involves a remaking of space and an appropriation of nature on behalf of capital. Concomitantly, it also involves a process of dispossession for Indigenous communities, foreclosing alternative pathways of development. I contrast this project of place-making with a subaltern-centred conception of environmental justice informed by Indigenous resistance.
From the period 2000-2005, Bolivia experienced a profound political convulsion as social movements rose-up to contest the neoliberal model of development. This was most markedly inspired by contestation over the control of natural resources, namely water and gas. The period of mobilisation brought down two successive governments and propelled the MAS, led by Evo Morales, to power in 2006. This period also helped to revalorise indigenous culture and held out hope for a reimagining of power, politics and political economy. The transformation that would result from this uprising, effectively re-founded Bolivia as a ‘pluri-national state’, recognising 36 separate national groups with their own languages and cultures. This was, furthermore, a process based on the convergence of national-popular and indigenous struggles. However, following his disputed election for a fourth successive term in office, Evo Morales and other key leaders of the MAS have gone into exile, while right-wing, revanchist social forces are seemingly in the ascendency. How do we begin to make sense of this turn of events, which include the swirling combinations of reactionary capitalist interests but also left-indigenous critiques of development from marginalised sectors? In this article, I argue that we need to situate indigenous social movements in the struggle between Pachakuti (an Andean term referring to the desire to turn the world upside down and forge a new time and space) and passive revolution (a state-led process of modernisation that seeks to expand capitalist social relations whilst incorporating limited demands from below, ultimately diffusing their radical potential).
In this article, we utilise the social theories of Antonio Gramsci and Henri Lefebvre to explore the role that leisure activities such as football play within contemporary China in relation to issues of class. We argue that the recent promotion of football in China can be viewed as a continuation of broader top-down processes of ‘modernization from above’ that serves as a microcosm of the wider class contradictions inherent in Chinese approaches to development since the 1980s. The issue of class has been strangely absent from the literature dealing with the development of football in China. However, given the importance of class in 20th Century Chinese society, the re-emergence of inequality and stratification in the reform era and the implicit connections between class and state discourses around the “rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation,” it is clear that class is closely implicated in Xi’s vision for football. We explore the major role of the middle classes as the target for the promotion of leisure activities and consumerist lifestyles patterns as part of the Party-State’s effort to integrate them into a transformed historical bloc.
This article addresses whether the concepts of Antonio Gramsci still “travel” to Latin America. During the 20th century, Gramsci was one of the most important social theorists invoked to understand forms of social order in Latin America, as well as providing resources to reflect upon subaltern culture, resistance and the construction of alternatives. However, over the past two decades there have been several theoretical and practical challenges to the hegemony of Gramsci. These challenges are multifarious, but can be reduced to several important contentions that are explored in this article. These include the enduring role of violence, the alleged decline of ideology and finally the challenge of state‐centrism in the face of geographical difference. In the current regional conjuncture, marked by the return to power of right‐wing social forces, I therefore examine whether Gramscian concepts are still apposite for understanding the political economy of Latin America in the 21st century.
This chapter explores Lefebvre’s key ideas about class struggle taking place through the production of space. It does so by examining the transition from import-substitution industrialisation (ISI) to neoliberalism in Latin America using his spatial triad as a key tool of research. Moreover, it subsequently explores the contestation of neoliberalism in the region by subaltern classes, examining how this can be linked to Lefebvre’s broader notions of differential space, urban revolt and autogestion.