Warren, Andrew T. Dr

Senior 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

    - Economic geography

    - Experiences of work and employment

    - Industrial cities and workplaces

    - Geographical political economy      

    - Ethnography

    I’m an economic geographer interested in the lived experiences of work and employment within industries, and communities, undergoing technological, structural and spatial transformations. My research is empirically grounded and informed by a geographical political economy (GPE) approach, which provides a theoretical framework to interpret local experiences of economic transition as outcomes of wider forces of capital mobility, state intervention, and structural change. My published work draws from in-depth case studies to understand wider issues, processes, and developments. Empirical research often involves longitudinal ethnographic methods deployed within workplaces (broadly defined).

     

    Current Research Projects

    Economic Geographies of Transition in Australia’s Auto Repair and Maintenance industry’ (ARC DECRA project, 2018-2020)

    In 2017 the last new passenger vehicle rolled-off a production line at GM-Holden’s Elizabeth plant symbolising the end of Australia’s auto manufacturing industry. Joining the geographical re-organisation of upstream vehicle production has been the downstream transformation of auto repair and maintenance services. Combining a comprehensive survey and ethnographic methods this project is tracing the structural changes in Australia’s downstream auto industry and documenting experiences of transition in affected local workshops. A GPE framework is being used to interpret new technical and competitive dynamics among local auto repair and maintenance firms, and examine changing knowledge and skill requirements among a diverse workforce. It is hoped that results from the project will provide a robust evidence-base to support policy and worker training aimed at securing Australia's industrial future.

     

    Labour geographies and experiences of workplace restructuring

    I have an ongoing research interest in people’s lived experiences of contemporary workplace restructuring. Informed by debates in labour geographies, and labour studies more broadly, around the political potential of working people my research explores how major restructuring episodes impact workplaces and labour processes (the social and technical relations of production). Among other things, results of my research emphasise the political salience of intra-worker relationships, which play a powerful role shaping day-to-day experiences of work including opportunities, actions, and outcomes of turbulent events such as workplace restructuring.  

     

    Commodity production and material resources

    In collaboration with Prof Chris Gibson (UOW), I am also involved in a project seeking to better understand the changing socio-spatial relationships between manufacturing industries and the material resources final commodities are made from. One of our case studies is the acoustic guitar industry. Traditionally guitar production has depended on the supply of timber from a select range of trees e.g. spruce, rosewood, ebony, and mahogany. But as these ‘staple’ timbers have become increasingly scarce and their trade more regulated, guitar manufacturers have been compelled to incorporate alternative timbers and materials. Through our research, we have documented how manufacturers transition to more sustainable use of material resources; a process stretching from trees to final consumers (musicians). The research has also demonstrated the commercial importance of 'material knowledge' developed around timbers by workers in the guitar industry who ensure valuable resources are utilised productively. Such embodied skills and practices, we argue, are crucial for a future where society must learn to do more with less.

Available as Research Supervisor

Selected Publications


Impact Story


Available as Research Supervisor

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Making Things, Producing Culture, Housing People? Competing Visions of Industrial Land Use in the Contemporary City Lyons, Craig
    Doctor of Philosophy 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

    - Economic geography

    - Experiences of work and employment

    - Industrial cities and workplaces

    - Geographical political economy      

    - Ethnography

    I’m an economic geographer interested in the lived experiences of work and employment within industries, and communities, undergoing technological, structural and spatial transformations. My research is empirically grounded and informed by a geographical political economy (GPE) approach, which provides a theoretical framework to interpret local experiences of economic transition as outcomes of wider forces of capital mobility, state intervention, and structural change. My published work draws from in-depth case studies to understand wider issues, processes, and developments. Empirical research often involves longitudinal ethnographic methods deployed within workplaces (broadly defined).

     

    Current Research Projects

    Economic Geographies of Transition in Australia’s Auto Repair and Maintenance industry’ (ARC DECRA project, 2018-2020)

    In 2017 the last new passenger vehicle rolled-off a production line at GM-Holden’s Elizabeth plant symbolising the end of Australia’s auto manufacturing industry. Joining the geographical re-organisation of upstream vehicle production has been the downstream transformation of auto repair and maintenance services. Combining a comprehensive survey and ethnographic methods this project is tracing the structural changes in Australia’s downstream auto industry and documenting experiences of transition in affected local workshops. A GPE framework is being used to interpret new technical and competitive dynamics among local auto repair and maintenance firms, and examine changing knowledge and skill requirements among a diverse workforce. It is hoped that results from the project will provide a robust evidence-base to support policy and worker training aimed at securing Australia's industrial future.

     

    Labour geographies and experiences of workplace restructuring

    I have an ongoing research interest in people’s lived experiences of contemporary workplace restructuring. Informed by debates in labour geographies, and labour studies more broadly, around the political potential of working people my research explores how major restructuring episodes impact workplaces and labour processes (the social and technical relations of production). Among other things, results of my research emphasise the political salience of intra-worker relationships, which play a powerful role shaping day-to-day experiences of work including opportunities, actions, and outcomes of turbulent events such as workplace restructuring.  

     

    Commodity production and material resources

    In collaboration with Prof Chris Gibson (UOW), I am also involved in a project seeking to better understand the changing socio-spatial relationships between manufacturing industries and the material resources final commodities are made from. One of our case studies is the acoustic guitar industry. Traditionally guitar production has depended on the supply of timber from a select range of trees e.g. spruce, rosewood, ebony, and mahogany. But as these ‘staple’ timbers have become increasingly scarce and their trade more regulated, guitar manufacturers have been compelled to incorporate alternative timbers and materials. Through our research, we have documented how manufacturers transition to more sustainable use of material resources; a process stretching from trees to final consumers (musicians). The research has also demonstrated the commercial importance of 'material knowledge' developed around timbers by workers in the guitar industry who ensure valuable resources are utilised productively. Such embodied skills and practices, we argue, are crucial for a future where society must learn to do more with less.

Selected Publications


Impact Story


Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Making Things, Producing Culture, Housing People? Competing Visions of Industrial Land Use in the Contemporary City Lyons, Craig
    Doctor of Philosophy 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


uri icon

Research Areas

Geographic Focus