“Seen Through a Spatial Lens … ”: Interview with Jonathan Everts
This interview is part of the series “Seen Through a Spatial Lens … – Spatializations in Global Times”. The series presents the guests invited by the Collaborative Research Centre 1199 “Processes of Globalization Under the Global Condition” at the University of Leipzig. The short interviews combine a peek at the scholars’ research with an invitation to creatively reflect upon the centre’s focus on spatializations. Enjoy reading!
Jonathan Everts is a professor of human geography at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. His research addresses a broad array of topics, ranging from migration to consumption to the construction and handling of risks in society. He is also involved in an international research project investigating convenience food.
In three sentences, what do you research and which questions guide your research?
Most of my research embraces a practice theory perspective. I am interested in the ways in which societies organize themselves spatially on the basis of social practices. I have concluded research on the practices of shopping for food and running small migrant businesses, and on the ways organizations and societies encounter and frame infectious diseases and invasive species. Most recently, I am involved in a book project on the practices of convenience food consumption (Reframing Convenience Food – to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018, Link).
What motivates you in your research? Which personal experiences encourage you to continue your research?
Curiosity, Wissensdurst, and the many challenges and crises we face today.
Which key insights from your research do you consider to be the most surprising for general audiences? Why do you believe this to be the case?
Perhaps that global events and dynamics are locally produced. It challenges our received wisdom of distinguishing between the local (here) and the global (out there).
Seen through a spatial lens, which processes of spatialization – understood as a central dimension and result of social actions – are particularly relevant in your research? Why?
From a practice theory point of view, spatialization is threefold. Space is first a resource for practices, in turn, second, practices demand space, and, third, the spatialities of everyday life enable or hinder the pursuit of certain practices. The processes that I am interested in are those of spatial relations (connecting sites), place formation, and spatial change.
Let’s take a look from the future! Which processes of spatialization in the early twenty-first century were crucial for society in 2050?
I don’t believe in science fiction. However, the recent return of nationalism may (or may not) in hindsight be judged as a crucial turning point; possibly the advent of post-global politics which contests the idea that globalization is an unstoppable force of nature.
What role could science – and your research – have played in this development and how do you think this could have happened?
I am neither an advocate of globalization as we know it nor nationalism (or any other particularism). In 2050, I fear, social scientists will have once again failed to effectively deliver ideas for a sustainable, fair, and just world society.
Citation: “Seen Through a Spatial Lens … ”: Interview with Jonathan Everts, in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, 11.07.2018, https://trafo.hypotheses.org/9764.