Critical Global Poverty Studies
Lawson co-founded a network of scholars (with Asun St. Clair) to think critically about global poverty through a relational framework. Our point of departure is one of intellectual dissatisfaction with current poverty knowledge. Our work focuses on unsettling dominant discourses of poverty and the poor, and practices that result, across the globe. We critique the disassociation of poverty analyses and policies in the Global North and South from each other, and instead argue for more effective alternatives which begin from understanding the interconnected processes that produce and name the poor across the globe. Our empirical work focuses on middle class poverty politics, through comparative investigation of the effects of current global economic turmoil on the shifting social relationships between middle classes and the poor. The network involves scholars from across the social sciences and in North America, the United Kingdom, India, Norway, Europe, South Africa and Argentina. Please follow the link for more information about our activities.
Geographies of Race and Poverty in the American Northwest
This project, funded by the National Science Foundation and collaborative with Lucy Jarosz and Anne Bonds, analyzes the geography of White and Latino rural poverty in the American Northwest. We examine how patterns of poverty vary in accordance with rural restructuring. We also investigate the cultural processes through which the poor and rural poverty are identified and understood. The 1990's have been a decade of dramatic population growth and restructuring of employment opportunities in rural counties of the American West. We investigate a series of questions dealing with how cultural and economic processes are mutually intertwined and embedded in places to produce both certain cultural understandings of White and Latino poverty and certain kinds of outcomes in terms of perpetuating or transforming rural poverty and identities. First we analyze the political economy of rural restructuring in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington over the past twenty-five years through bibliographic, archival and statistical research. Second, we conduct in-depth research in eight communities in the American Northwest to understand how social and cultural tensions over rural restructuring and poverty are being worked out. Publications to date include:
2010. Victoria Lawson, Lucy Jarosz and Anne Bonds. ‘Dumping grounds and unseen grounds: placing race, ethnicity and poverty in the American Northwest’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 100(3) 655-677.
2008. Victoria Lawson, Lucy Jarosz and Anne Bonds. ‘Building economies from the bottom-up: (mis)representations of poverty in the American Northwest’ Social and Cultural Geography.
2009. Victoria Lawson, Lucy Jarosz, Meredith Reitman and Anne Bonds. 'Rural Gentrification and Economic Restructuring in the Changing American Northwest'. Forthcoming in M. Phillips, ed. Gentrification of the Countryside.
2002. Lucy Jarosz and Victoria A. Lawson. 'Sophisticated People Versus Rednecks: economic restructuring and class difference in America's West.' Antipode 34 (1): 8-27.
Critical Development Geographies
This book titled 'Critical Development Geographies' (2007) is part of the Edward Arnold Series, Human Geography in the Making, series editor, Alexander Murphy. This book provides an intellectual history of development geography and assesses recent trends within development geography/studies. I argue that a poststructural feminist political-economy approach constitutes an exciting future for development geography. I introduce readers to Critical Development Geography (CDG) which analyzes development as polyvalent and contextual in terms of its intellectual and material foundations. CDG also attends to the formation and experiences of diverse subjects of development, analyzing the ways in which particular intellectual streams privilege or erase different subjects and actors. Finally, and central to CDG, I argue that attending to the spatiality of development -- the ways in which discourses and practices of development link places, move through scales and operate in relation to boundaries -- can reveal and help explain the paradoxes and also work to democratize development.
2007. Victoria Lawson. Making Development Geography. Invited book for the Arnold Series, Human Geography in the Making, series editor, Alexander Murphy.