Warren, Andrew T. Dr

Lecturer in Human Geography

  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • School of Geography and Sustainable Communities
  • Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Research interests and expertise
    • Labour: geographies, markets, impacts of industrial and technological change
    • Industrial cities and geographies of manufacturing
    • Cultural and political economy
    • Regional development
    • Emotional labour and gender
    • Young people and social class
    • Ethnography

    I am a human geographer with primary research interests in the sub-discipline of economic geography. In capitalist economies one important way people are empowered is through waged employment. My research is informed by the understanding that 1) resources and opportunities for meaningful work are not evenly distributed, and 2) many current economic practices are not sustainable. Combining cultural political economic theory with ethnography I am interested in examining how people can shape more fulfilling livelihoods in vibrant places.

    I have pursued a range of empirical case studies – from surfboard manufacturing and Indigenous music to custom car design scenes – tied together by a desire to understand the changing experiences and aspirations of paid work, and the agency of working people. Geographically, fieldwork has taken me from remote communities in rural Australia to bustling streets of Los Angeles. I am passionate about human geography because it is a diverse, integrative discipline capable of bridging social and physical sciences. This makes human geographers well equipped to tackle big picture social, environmental and economic problems.

    Current Research Projects

    Cultures of work
    A premise of my research is that culture shapes economic activities, just as economic imperatives shape cultural life. Focusing on the arena of paid work my research aims to understand the way culture (as a discursive category encompassing values, beliefs, logics and ethics) shapes working lives: practices, relations, decision making, meanings of work and worker’s agency. Rather than simply lumping on a separate realm of ‘culture’ to existing political economic concerns my work attempts to underline how political and economic spheres are already cultural. A culturally engaged perspective can help to improve the explanatory power of conventional political economy without losing sight of ongoing inequalities and asymmetrical power relations.

    Labour geographies
    Related to the above, my labour geography research takes workers – their interests, families and well-being – as theoretical and empirical starting point. I use cultural political economy informed by in-depth ethnographic research. My primary research goal in this area is to contribute knowledge on how individual workers perform agency; how cultural values and logics are written into workplace relations and shape worker strategies in efforts to improve their job conditions.

    Australian manufacturing and industrial cities
    I have an ongoing research project with Prof. Chris Gibson (UOW) exploring the fluctuating fortunes of Australia’s manufacturing industries, firms and workforces, including impacts of restructuring on industrial cities such as Wollongong. My research on manufacturing is also exploring the potential for small and medium sized firms and their skilled workforces to maintain commercial viability by focusing on non-cost-based factors (customisation, place association, heritage, product quality and longevity). For example many of Australia’s custom surfboard workshops have been able to maintain commercial viability by enmeshing with local surfing cultures. Surfing consumers are able to order well-made, customised boards from people they come to know and trust. I am also involved in research attempting to better understand how retrenched manufacturing workers negotiate unemployment and find alternative paid work. The aim here is to show how workers are not mere victims of ‘restructuring’ but key parts of the solution to alternative economic futures.

    Emotional, gendered and embodied labour
    I also research the emotional and embodied dimensions of paid work, including how particular jobs become gendered. Inspired by feminist geography I explore how people’s emotions matter for understanding the changing experiences of work, particularly in an era where employment is increasingly insecure and precarious.

    Cultures of ocean-use
    This area of research has emerged collaboratively with colleague Dr. Leah Gibbs (UOW). Human geography has largely neglected conceptual and empirical engagement with ocean spaces; their dynamism, transformative power and environmental qualities. One area where we have been working includes examining the politics and environmental policy making surrounding sharks. Following human fatalities from shark bite government policy has typically reacted with the roll out of lethal management programs: baited drum lines, meshing, private contracted fishers. Marine and social science is disregarded. Leah and I have been researching how humans use the ocean; how people react to the presence of sharks; what strategies can be used to minimise risk and how humans might change their ocean use practices and behaviours in relation to sharks. Our goal is to achieve a non-lethal, ethical and effective policy towards human-shark encounters.

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Impact Story


Available as Research Supervisor

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Australian agricultural restructuring and formers responses: a case study of the Illawarra region, New South Wales Hu, Ren

Education And Training


  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Soulful work or selling the soul? Cultural production and the custom surfboard industry 2008 - 2012

Teaching Overview


  • Teaching
    • GEOG121: Life in a globalising world (Autumn session)
    • GEOG122: Living in a material world (Subject co-ordinator, Spring session)

    My approach to teaching involves presenting students with real-world problems, case studies or scenarios that form the centrepiece of class discussion, practical/tutorial tasks and assessments.

    The overall objectives of my teaching are to develop students’ knowledge of geographical theories, arguments, debates and research findings; to improve student’s communication skills and ability to work in teams; to improve the capacity of students to work independently and think critically; to develop holistic thinking about economic, social and environmental issues, and to encourage tolerance and understanding of social justice and cultural diversity.

    A key argument informing my teaching practice is that solutions to big picture problems require holistic thinking and policy interventions that are socially just and sustainable.

Located In Facility


Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Research interests and expertise
    • Labour: geographies, markets, impacts of industrial and technological change
    • Industrial cities and geographies of manufacturing
    • Cultural and political economy
    • Regional development
    • Emotional labour and gender
    • Young people and social class
    • Ethnography

    I am a human geographer with primary research interests in the sub-discipline of economic geography. In capitalist economies one important way people are empowered is through waged employment. My research is informed by the understanding that 1) resources and opportunities for meaningful work are not evenly distributed, and 2) many current economic practices are not sustainable. Combining cultural political economic theory with ethnography I am interested in examining how people can shape more fulfilling livelihoods in vibrant places.

    I have pursued a range of empirical case studies – from surfboard manufacturing and Indigenous music to custom car design scenes – tied together by a desire to understand the changing experiences and aspirations of paid work, and the agency of working people. Geographically, fieldwork has taken me from remote communities in rural Australia to bustling streets of Los Angeles. I am passionate about human geography because it is a diverse, integrative discipline capable of bridging social and physical sciences. This makes human geographers well equipped to tackle big picture social, environmental and economic problems.

    Current Research Projects

    Cultures of work
    A premise of my research is that culture shapes economic activities, just as economic imperatives shape cultural life. Focusing on the arena of paid work my research aims to understand the way culture (as a discursive category encompassing values, beliefs, logics and ethics) shapes working lives: practices, relations, decision making, meanings of work and worker’s agency. Rather than simply lumping on a separate realm of ‘culture’ to existing political economic concerns my work attempts to underline how political and economic spheres are already cultural. A culturally engaged perspective can help to improve the explanatory power of conventional political economy without losing sight of ongoing inequalities and asymmetrical power relations.

    Labour geographies
    Related to the above, my labour geography research takes workers – their interests, families and well-being – as theoretical and empirical starting point. I use cultural political economy informed by in-depth ethnographic research. My primary research goal in this area is to contribute knowledge on how individual workers perform agency; how cultural values and logics are written into workplace relations and shape worker strategies in efforts to improve their job conditions.

    Australian manufacturing and industrial cities
    I have an ongoing research project with Prof. Chris Gibson (UOW) exploring the fluctuating fortunes of Australia’s manufacturing industries, firms and workforces, including impacts of restructuring on industrial cities such as Wollongong. My research on manufacturing is also exploring the potential for small and medium sized firms and their skilled workforces to maintain commercial viability by focusing on non-cost-based factors (customisation, place association, heritage, product quality and longevity). For example many of Australia’s custom surfboard workshops have been able to maintain commercial viability by enmeshing with local surfing cultures. Surfing consumers are able to order well-made, customised boards from people they come to know and trust. I am also involved in research attempting to better understand how retrenched manufacturing workers negotiate unemployment and find alternative paid work. The aim here is to show how workers are not mere victims of ‘restructuring’ but key parts of the solution to alternative economic futures.

    Emotional, gendered and embodied labour
    I also research the emotional and embodied dimensions of paid work, including how particular jobs become gendered. Inspired by feminist geography I explore how people’s emotions matter for understanding the changing experiences of work, particularly in an era where employment is increasingly insecure and precarious.

    Cultures of ocean-use
    This area of research has emerged collaboratively with colleague Dr. Leah Gibbs (UOW). Human geography has largely neglected conceptual and empirical engagement with ocean spaces; their dynamism, transformative power and environmental qualities. One area where we have been working includes examining the politics and environmental policy making surrounding sharks. Following human fatalities from shark bite government policy has typically reacted with the roll out of lethal management programs: baited drum lines, meshing, private contracted fishers. Marine and social science is disregarded. Leah and I have been researching how humans use the ocean; how people react to the presence of sharks; what strategies can be used to minimise risk and how humans might change their ocean use practices and behaviours in relation to sharks. Our goal is to achieve a non-lethal, ethical and effective policy towards human-shark encounters.

Selected Publications


Impact Story


Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Australian agricultural restructuring and formers responses: a case study of the Illawarra region, New South Wales Hu, Ren

Education And Training


  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Soulful work or selling the soul? Cultural production and the custom surfboard industry 2008 - 2012

Teaching Overview


  • Teaching
    • GEOG121: Life in a globalising world (Autumn session)
    • GEOG122: Living in a material world (Subject co-ordinator, Spring session)

    My approach to teaching involves presenting students with real-world problems, case studies or scenarios that form the centrepiece of class discussion, practical/tutorial tasks and assessments.

    The overall objectives of my teaching are to develop students’ knowledge of geographical theories, arguments, debates and research findings; to improve student’s communication skills and ability to work in teams; to improve the capacity of students to work independently and think critically; to develop holistic thinking about economic, social and environmental issues, and to encourage tolerance and understanding of social justice and cultural diversity.

    A key argument informing my teaching practice is that solutions to big picture problems require holistic thinking and policy interventions that are socially just and sustainable.

Located In Facility


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Research Areas

Geographic Focus