References of "Taylor Aiken, Gerald 50003182"
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See detailPutting community to use in environmental policymaking: Emerging trends in Scotland and the UK
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Geography Compass (2018), e12381

Community is frequently called upon in policy to meet environmental challenges. It is increasingly recognized that the success of these environmental interventions relies on community awareness and action ... [more ▼]

Community is frequently called upon in policy to meet environmental challenges. It is increasingly recognized that the success of these environmental interventions relies on community awareness and action. But what this emphasis on community does, and what the impacts are, are often neglected, or left uncritiqued. To explore this issue, we surveyed literature from the UK across four distinct environmental domains—energy, urban greenspace, water, and land—to chart what characterizes the use of community in pursuit of environmental goals. We highlight the main conceptual commonalities across the domains by focusing on research that gives insight into the increased interest in communities in environmental policy. In summary, we posit that where community is used environmentally, it brings with it (a) a reframing of justice, (b) processes of “public making,” and (c) a rescaling of governance. [less ▲]

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See detailOne-way street? Spatiality of communities in low carbon transitions, in Scotland
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Energy Research & Social Science (2018), 36

Community low carbon transitions – studies of the ways in which community is used to pursue environmental aims and objectives – are closely linked to arrangements of energy production and use. Community ... [more ▼]

Community low carbon transitions – studies of the ways in which community is used to pursue environmental aims and objectives – are closely linked to arrangements of energy production and use. Community is used as a way to pursue particular energy agendas. Yet, as is often pointed out, the trajectory of transitions imagined, the ambitiousness of the envisioned transformation, and especially the implied community invoked within this, all remain gloriously inconsistent. Within community transitions attention increasingly focuses on the tensions emerging or smoothed over as competing agendas are brought together through capacious words and concepts: for example between so-called top-down government deployed community, and so-called bottom-up emergent community action. This paper offers one way to explain and explore these tensions, where they come from and, thus, help in understanding ways in which they may be overcome. Using the case study of an attempt to target one ‘street community’s’ environmental footprint in Scotland, the paper argues for taking an explicitly geographical and spatial lens to analyse these processes. The paper uses three forms of space—perceived space, conceived space, and lived space—to outline how three distinct but overlapping communities were spatialised. The contention of the paper is that tensions in community transitions often result from different spatial imaginaries, informing one’s approach to, and ‘common sense’ understanding of, community. In reflecting on the spatial implications different forms of community produce (and are in turn produced by), the article argues for greater appreciation of the imbrication of space, community, and energy as mutually co-constitutive. [less ▲]

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See detailCommunity as tool for Low Carbon Transitions: involvement and containment, policy and action
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space (2018)

This paper introduces the Heideggerian terms Zuhanden and Vorhanden to studies of community low carbon transitions. It sets apart Zuhandenheit community as involvement: the doing, enacting, and belonging ... [more ▼]

This paper introduces the Heideggerian terms Zuhanden and Vorhanden to studies of community low carbon transitions. It sets apart Zuhandenheit community as involvement: the doing, enacting, and belonging aspects of community movements and activism. Vorhandenheit community contrastingly is observed: community as an object at arm’s length, to be studied, tasked, or used. The article builds on authors, particularly Malpas, who have utilised these concepts in spatial theory by adopting their associated spatialisation of involvement and containment. After introducing this theoretical understanding, the article addresses the case of a Transition initiative in receipt of government funding, where both Vorhanden and Zuhanden subjectivities can be found. Through focusing on this specific Transition project, we can more clearly grasp both the tensions emerging from state-funded community and the limits to, and possibilities for, appreciating community action phenomenologically. [less ▲]

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See detailResearching climate change and community in neoliberal contexts: an emerging critical approach
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL; Middlemiss, Lucie; Sallu, Susie et al

in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (2017)

In a 2011 contribution to this journal, Walker examined the ways that community is routinely employed in carbon governance, suggesting the need for more critical approaches. Here, we characterize an ... [more ▼]

In a 2011 contribution to this journal, Walker examined the ways that community is routinely employed in carbon governance, suggesting the need for more critical approaches. Here, we characterize an emerging, critical approach to researching climate change and community in neoliberal contexts, focusing attention principally on the global north, where this body of research has emerged. This work recognizes communities as sites of contestation, difference, tension, and distinction, in which action on climate change can be designed to meet a range of political and public ends. It aims to uncover the political and social context for community action on climate change, to be alert to the power relations inside and outside of communities, and to the context of neoliberalism, including individualism, the will to quantify, and competition. Furthermore, research in this space is committed to understanding both the lived experience of the messy empirical worlds we encounter, and the potential agency coalescing in community responses to climate change. Much of the work to date, discussed here, has focused on communities working on climate change mitigation in the global north, in which the idea of community as a space for governance is gaining traction. We also comment on the positioning of these arguments in the context of long-standing debates in the fields of ‘community-based’ development, natural resource management, and adaptation in the global South. This discussion establishes a foundation from which to progress learning across fields and geopolitical boundaries, furthering critical thinking on ‘community.’ [less ▲]

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See detailThe politics of community: togetherness, Transition and post-politics
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Environment and Planning A (2017)

This article excavates the role, function and practices of community within Transition, a grassroots environmentalist movement. It does so to pursue a quest for understanding if, how, and in what ways ... [more ▼]

This article excavates the role, function and practices of community within Transition, a grassroots environmentalist movement. It does so to pursue a quest for understanding if, how, and in what ways, community-based environmental movements are ‘political’. When community-based low carbon initiatives are discussed academically, they can be critiqued; this critique is in turn often based on the perception that the crucial community aspect tends to be a settled, static and reified condition of (human) togetherness. However community—both in theory and practice—is not destined to be so. This article collects and evaluates data from two large research projects on the Transition movement. It takes this ethnographic evidence together with lessons from post-political theory, to outline the capacious, diverse and progressive forms of community that exists within the movement. Doing so, it argues against a blanket post-political diagnosis of community transitions, and opens up, yet again, the consequences of the perceptions and prejudices one has about community are more than mere theoretical posturing. [less ▲]

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See detailSocial Innovation and Participatory Action Research: A way to research community?
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in European Public & Social Innovation Review (2017), 2(1),

Civil society actors gathered in so-called ‘community’ initiatives generate a particular impetus for low carbon transitions. This paper seeks to outline a methodological approach that can be used in order ... [more ▼]

Civil society actors gathered in so-called ‘community’ initiatives generate a particular impetus for low carbon transitions. This paper seeks to outline a methodological approach that can be used in order to help understand such movements, and more fundamentally, the role of community in Social Innovation (SI). The article offers an overview of Participative Action Research (PAR), and outlines its strengths and weaknesses in studying community-based social innovation, in this case the Transition movement. PAR is not an ‘off the shelf’ kit, or a ‘conforming of methodological standards’, but rather a series of approaches that ought to inform research. The paper argues that these approaches, rather than techniques, are essential to get right if the intangible, granular, and incidental-but-fundamental aspects of community are to be grasped by researchers. Given the small-scale nature of community low carbon transitions a granular analysis is preferred to a more surface, superficial overview of such processes. Qualitative research is preferred to quantitative aggregation of initiatives, due to the need to understand the everyday, more phenomenological aspects of community, and the specific tacit relations and subjectivities enacted through their capacity to cut carbon. Despite challenges with using PAR for SI, the Transition Research Network offers an active guide to achieving this. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat I love about Permaculture
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

Article for general public (2017)

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See detailReview of 'Environmental Publics' by Sally Eden
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Local Environment (2017)

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See detailEditorial: the 2 + n ecosophies
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL; Shaw, Robert

in Geografiska Annaler Series B : Human Geography (2017), (2),

Contemporary ecological crises fundamentally threaten our ability to continue inhabiting earth, yet geographical research has only tentatively engaged with perspectives that seek to rethink the human– ... [more ▼]

Contemporary ecological crises fundamentally threaten our ability to continue inhabiting earth, yet geographical research has only tentatively engaged with perspectives that seek to rethink the human– earth relationship. ‘Ecosophical’ theories, practices and politics recognize that ‘a global culture of a primarily techno-industrial nature is now encroaching upon all the world’s milieu, desecrating living conditions’ (Næss and Rothenberg 1989, 23) and that those who subscribe to its arguments ‘have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes’ (29). This collection of papers seeks to explore ecosophical theories and practices, analysing the relationship between techno-industrial global culture and the world. It offers understandings of attempts to change this relation. Although multiple geographical and social science theories – includ- ing feminist perspectives (Gibson-Graham 2006a, 2006b; Haraway 1991), post-human and actor- network theory research (Latour 1993; Law 1994; Whatmore 2002), studies of the Anthropocene (Castree 2014; Clark 2013), and deconstructionist/phenomenological traditions (Morton 2007) – have worked hard to rethink the category of ‘human’ or ‘subject’, in their focus on forms of living, being and becoming with the world, environment and non-human, they have done less to rethink the ‘world’ part of that relationship. Ecosophy offers geography an approach to these questions which starts with how humans relate to nature and non-human at its core, alongside a strong ethical foun- dation for action. Specifically, it is the position of ecosophical theories that nature and the non- human are valuable independent of their human interaction, and that geography must contribute to ways of rethinking and practicing subjectivity that recognize this. [less ▲]

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See detailPermaculture and the social design of nature
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Geografiska Annaler Series B : Human Geography (2017)

Permaculture-based social movements proliferate as a response to environmental challenges, a way to pursue the ‘good life’, and a vision of a more harmonious way to be in and belong to the world ... [more ▼]

Permaculture-based social movements proliferate as a response to environmental challenges, a way to pursue the ‘good life’, and a vision of a more harmonious way to be in and belong to the world. Ecovillages, bioregionalisation, and the Transition (Town) movement all apply permaculture principles in designing social systems. Core to permaculture is designing based on, and in harmony with, patterns identified in nature. Yet, as is often highlighted, identifying, using, and thinking through ‘natural’ patterns are problematic. This article takes canonical geographical work on the social reception and (re)production of nature as its starting point. It then outlines permaculture, and particularly their most prominent expression, the Transition (Town) movement, as an ecosophical movement–an attempt to reorientate collective subjectivities as ecological entities. While discussion of Transition (with or without their permaculture heritage) abounds in Geography, paying attention to the ecosophical, and ethical, character of such movements is crucial to grasp their full significance. [less ▲]

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See detailPolysemic, Polyvalent and Phatic: A Rough Evolution of Community With Reference to Low Carbon Transitions
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in People, Place and Policy (2016), 10(2), 126-145

This article addresses the varying interpretations, idealising and use of community, with specific reference to the way community is mobilised, deployed and put to work within the transition to low carbon ... [more ▼]

This article addresses the varying interpretations, idealising and use of community, with specific reference to the way community is mobilised, deployed and put to work within the transition to low carbon futures. It surveys the broad heritage of community from nineteenth century sociology to more recent post-structural interpretations, including community as a governmental technique. This backdrop of wider understandings of community is now reflected in the emerging field of community low carbon transitions. The paper looks to the multiple, overlapping yet categorically different communities implied in this theoretically and empirically burgeoning field. First, and in common with community’s social science heritage, this article argues that community is polysemic. That is, it carries within it wide and varied semantic associations; importantly — amongst small-scale, place or rurality — requiring commonality and a border. Digging deeper, community also has a concurrent social theory legacy beyond referred semantic association. Here community is polyvalent, capaciously involving many different and overlapping values: from exclusive belonging, exclusion of others and difference, a more governmental fostering of correct conduct and good behaviour, to a feeling of belonging or acceptance that goes beyond semantics. Lastly, and innovatively for this area of study, the paper addresses community as phatic communication. Here, community has no meaning, nor does it imply shared or encouraged values. Rather community is reduced to gesture, which transforms understanding the way community is used in meeting low carbon challenges. [less ▲]

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See detailProsaic state governance of community low carbon transitions
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Political Geography (2016), 55(November), 20-29

This paper unpacks the complex relations between community low carbon transitions, the prosaic state, neoliberal modes of governing, and the role of numbers therein. It aims to outline the ways in which ... [more ▼]

This paper unpacks the complex relations between community low carbon transitions, the prosaic state, neoliberal modes of governing, and the role of numbers therein. It aims to outline the ways in which the prosaic state can, through everyday tasks, decisions, measurements and demonstration requirements, force a calculative logic onto and into community based movements and groups in ways that can be counterproductive. It centrally argues that the will to quantify, in particular the accompanying demonstration requirements (most often a number), enacts three fundamental shifts in the collective subjectivity integral to community groups and movements. First, the preferred form of knowledge becomes abstract, disembodied and fungible (episteme) over and against relational ways to understand and conceive togetherness (me¯tis), including ecological relationships. Second, the vision of community shifts from a search to belong, an intrinsic end in itself, towards an instrumental means to achieve specific targets. Finally, third, the splitting of means from ends. These can all be traced from the demonstration requirements, and numbers, accompanying neoliberal prosaic state engagement with community groups. [less ▲]

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See detailCommunity Number Capture
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Soundings (2015), (58 Winter), 81-90

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See detail(Local-) community for global challenges: carbon conversations, transition towns and governmental elisions
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability (2015), 20(7), 764-781

This article addresses the narrowing interpretation of community when governmentalised: that of community’s elision with local. First it surveys five broad academic and policy interpretations of the ... [more ▼]

This article addresses the narrowing interpretation of community when governmentalised: that of community’s elision with local. First it surveys five broad academic and policy interpretations of the community implied in low carbon transitions. These demonstrate the persistence of community’s broad and open-ended polysemy today. Second it looks more closely at the role community plays in UK environmental governance today, including specific evidence from two such government-funded community initiatives used to meet global environmental challenges: Transition Towns and Carbon Conversations. Third it provides a critique of community governance-beyond-the-state. It argues that community used to “jump scales” in response to global challenges like climate change, is often at its most narrow: local and governmentalised. Doing so helps contextualise the governmentalisation of (local-) community in UK environmental governance. Often it is localised in order to delegate (perceived) agency and responsibility onto individual actors at a local level. [less ▲]

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See detailCommon Sense Community? The Climate Challenge Fund's Official and Tacit Community Construction
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Scottish Geographical Journal (2014), 130(3), 207-221

The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) is the Scottish Government’s flagship initiative addressing the twenty-first century’s core concern: environmental challenges. The CCF seeks to reduce carbon emissions ... [more ▼]

The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) is the Scottish Government’s flagship initiative addressing the twenty-first century’s core concern: environmental challenges. The CCF seeks to reduce carbon emissions explicitly through community. Building on community’s long and strong social science heritage, this paper outlines the CCF’s tacit and unspoken community assumptions. Through these assumptions, this policy (re)produces, prefigures and performs a particular form of community, this being community’s elision with locality, and synonym for place, rurality or neighbourhood. Taking on these tacit assumptions is demonstrative of their belief in the effectiveness of such community. After exploring the CCF, its source and structure, the paper delves into empirical work situated at all levels of the CCF’s funding chain. It then teases out how the assumptions around – and the need to demonstrate – community help determine the projects selected, and subsequently the vision of community chosen, enacted and mobilised. The CCF (re) produces a particular vision of community with implications for who receives funding, how environmental action is framed and also for the future of community in Scotland. [less ▲]

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See detailCommunity Transitions to Low Carbon Futures in the Transition Towns Network (TTN)
Taylor Aiken, Gerald UL

in Geography Compass (2012), 6(2), 89-99

This paper examines the use of ‘community’ rhetoric in the Transition Town Network (TTN). This is seen in both its external and internal context. Externally, TTN has emerged against the backdrop of an ... [more ▼]

This paper examines the use of ‘community’ rhetoric in the Transition Town Network (TTN). This is seen in both its external and internal context. Externally, TTN has emerged against the backdrop of an increasing use of ‘community’ rhetoric in environmental governance, for example, in renewable energy projects. Internally, the use of ‘community’ language and ‘community’ ways of operating are crucial for understanding this movement, in how it sees itself and the lineage it builds upon. Particularly, TTN builds upon the polysemic, subjective nature of the word, fused with their unique permaculture inspired meaning. TTN have emerged as an important response to climate change and peak oil (Bailey et al. 2010; Mason and Whitehead 2011). This paper attempts to address their crucial, if neglected, focus on ‘community’. In the wide sweep of writing on ‘community’, what distinctive, if anything, can TTN add to current understandings and practices of ‘community’? [less ▲]

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