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Mr Richard Bater

Research interests

Richard holds an ESRC Studentship for a doctoral research project provisionally entitled 'Hydropolitik, or the love of abstraction'.  The project draws on ethnographic approaches to explore the practices in/through which modern water (see: Linton, 2010) is abstracted, naturalised, rendered governable, circulates as a political devise, and both constitutes and is constituted by a multiplicity of agencies that problematise the boundedness of the territorial, institutional, and embodied state normatively defined.  The historical-geographical context Central Asia represents the focus of the project, as much as takes-up the question of precisely what it is to speak of Central Asia water (geo-)politics, and to what extent Soviet socio-technical regimes of water management continue to inflect upon present day water government, governance, and politics.  Water is understood as an archetypical onto-political matter (Mol, 1999), in as much as it, in its modern singular rendering, represents a particular contested matter and set of discourses both at the basis of political contestation and shaped by it; and as matter in/through which (geo-)politics itself has been and continues to be at stake in extremely consequential ways.

The project draws on rich empiricism in the empirical-conceptual space of Central Asia water (geo-)politics to extend engagements with scholars commonly (Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour), and less commonly (Antonio Gramsci, Hannah Arendt) brought to bare, by geographers, on questions of the spaces of politics and the political.   In particular (following Ekers and Loftus (2009), the research seeks to contribute to recent efforts by geographers to place Gramsci and Foucault into conversation with each other, and to ameliorate understandings of the ways in which their various theoretical insights may productively be used in parallel to enable richer understandings of government, the political, and space.

Biographical details

Richard completed his undergraduate studies at Oxford, where he graduated with a first in Geography.  He continued his studies through Masters level at Royal Holloway, where his thesis Manufacturing Transparency: composing law in an Island laboratory' followed post-crash civil society media law reform efforts.  Richard commenced his doctoral research at Royal Holloway under the supervision of Alex Loftus (advised by Klaus Dodds), before moving to King's.

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