Browse/search for people

Dr James Palmer

My research investigates how environmental knowledges are produced, circulated and interpreted, particularly in emerging controversies situated at the interface between energy infrastructures and atmospheres. My most recent projects have examined the epistemic politics of the so-called ‘dieselgate’ scandal in Europe, and public perceptions of scientific experiments with climate geoengineering technologies.

Current Project – The Political Ecology of Advanced Bioenergy: Knowledges, Economies, Materialities

I will be using my Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship to explore the implications – both political-economic and ontological – of the ongoing development of new forms of so-called ‘advanced’ bioenergy, particularly those based upon synthetic biology. This project will deploy critical discourse analysis, interviews and public workshops to interrogate the techno-scientific and political-economic processes through which advanced bioenergy is being imagined and constructed, especially in the UK and the US, particularly in the context of wider enthusiasm for a transition to a bio-based economy. At a more conceptual level, the research will also explore how such developments, in reconfiguring the materiality of plants themselves, are also serving to complicate the roles played by non-human, vegetal life-forms within pre-existing capitalist processes of value generation and wealth accumulation. As such, the project aims to advance a critical framework both for deliberating the terms under which advanced bioenergy should be developed and governed, and for rethinking the categories of labour, growth, ‘nature’, and indeed life itself within contemporary theories of capitalism.