Mette Fog Olwig

PhD

  • Universitetsvej 1, 14.2

    DK-4000 Roskilde

    Denmark

20052021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research

I have an international and interdisciplinary academic background. My research combines theoretical approaches that draw from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences including discourse analysis, actor-oriented analysis, political ecology and critical development theories. I do primarily qualitative research using fieldwork, in-depth interviews, participant observation, event ethnography, and multi-sited ethnography, but my research also entails other types of methods and tools such as surveys and GIS. I have been part of several large projects involving partners from all over the world, including Tanzania, Ghana, Vietnam, Italy, the US and the UK. My research topics generally fall within three interlinked areas:

1. Social and political dimensions of climate change and natural disasters: What are the challenges, barriers, possibilities and aspirations of populations that face not only new weather and climate change related phenomena, but also new external adaptation policies and programs. Examples include technology and climate governance in Vietnam, forest management and partnerships in Tanzania, and cocoa farming and agroforestry in Ghana.

2. Following actors and ideas: How do narratives and discourse on sustainability, development, climate change, the environment and humanitarianism emerge and evolve through time, and how are disparate actors and organizations at different levels – local, regional and global – and multiple sites shaped by and shaping, adopting and adapting these narratives? E.g. how is climate change resilience defined and practiced amongst donors, practitioners and recipients in relation to for example northern Ghana? And how do for-profit narratives of doing good differ from non-profit narratives of doing good in the era of the SDGs?

3. Celebritized and celebratory commodification and consumption: Sustainability, development, environmentalism and humanitarianism are increasingly celebritized, celebrated, branded and commodified through the involvement of new actors, new social media technologies and new partnership constellations. What does this mean for representation, dissemination, compassion and accountability in relation to development, environmental and humanitarian challenges? What are the implications of combining entertainment, consumption and doing good? And how do businesses rationalize and balance ethical, branding and marketing components when engaging in humanitarianism and development?

Keywords

  • Industrial development, Development economics and planning, Developing countries
  • fair trade
  • ethical consumption
  • celebrity and north-south relations
  • ethnography of the development sector (including a focus on donors, developers, recipients, discourse and narratives)
  • Environment, Energy, Nature, Resources
  • social dimensions of climate change and natural catastrophes
  • sustainable development
  • Geography, Geology, Topography
  • cultural geography
  • GIS
  • remote sensing

Publication network

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