Dr Lydia Medland

Personal profile

I am a multidisciplinary researcher with a PhD in Global Political Economy.

My research focuses on the global political economy of food and work. In the research that I carried out for my PhD, I focused on the precarious work of tomato-pickers in the context of a hub (or enclave) of global food production in the south of Morocco. This work emerged from previous study into the experiences of migrant workers within organic horticultural production in Southern Spain. My recent research in Morocco involved in-depth ethnographic methods, interviews and a participatory action inspired workshop with trade unionists. Primary and secondary research for this case raised complex issues of mobility, gender, stigma, and direct temporal relations with global actors (the ‘demands’ of retailers impacting on daily time schedules). These analytical questions have all contributed to the development of my conceptual work on global food enclaves.

My passion is to research the way in which humans create connections within the ecosystem, producing food systems, and ultimately, what we often casually refer to as the global food system. My research vision is to investigate, illustrate and articulate what is meant and what is occurring in name of this global food system. My aim is to deeply problematise how there has been a normalisation of low-status attributed to agri-food workers, globally. Waged agricultural workers make up 300-500 million people world-wide and yet many face food poverty themselves. Many are internal and international migrant workers. In my work to date I have been exploring the social narratives of gender, race, ethnicity and time (seasonality, temporality and mobility) that are used to produce and reproduce the socio-economic position of agricultural waged-workers.

I enjoy teaching and welcome projects in which I work collaboratively with students. I find working on student-led projects either as a supervisor or in a pastoral capacity is extremely rewarding. My approach to teaching is deliberative and participatory. I am interested in students’ perspectives and encourage them to bring their knowledge into discussions and activities.

Prior to re-entering into academia six years ago I worked in an international NGO, Access Info Europe, focusing on transparency and access to information across Europe and globally. For five years I coordinated the Freedom of Information Advocates Network, a network of experts on the issue of Freedom of Information. In this role I produced many policy-orientated publications such as the Global Right to Information Update which charted the development of this right across the globe. It was co-written by authors from each continent and I coordinated this process with the support of visual designers, photographers and a steering group.

I am interested in hearing from those with potentially compatible research interests or project ideas.


For the academic year:

2018/2019 Sociology in a Global Context SOCI10008

2017/2018 The Politics of the Global South POLI0004

2016/2017 The Politics of the Global South POLI0004

2015/2016 Issues in World Politics SPAI10004

Twitter: @Lydyact

Blog: www.eatingresearch.net

Latest publications

  1. Medland, L, Anderson, B, Bales, K, Bogg, A, Novitz, T, Davidson, JO, Pitts, FH & Turnbull, P, 2018, ‘The 'future' of work? A call for the recognition of continuities in challenges for conceptualising work and its regulation’. School of Law, University of Bristol
  2. Medland, L, 2017, ‘Language learning as research rehearsal: Preparation for multi-linguistic field research in Morocco’. in: Robert Gibb, Annabel Tremlett, Julien Danero Iglesias (eds) Learning and Using Languages in Ethnographic Research.
  3. Medland, L, 2017, ‘Misconceiving ‘seasons’ in global food systems: the case of the EU Seasonal Workers Directive’. European Law Journal, vol 23., pp. 157?171
  4. Jiménez-Aceituno, A, Medland, L, Delgado, A, Carballés-Bretón, A, Maiques-Diaz, A, Muñoz, LD, Marín-Rodríguez, M, Chamorro-Ortiz, P & Casado-Cid, B, 2016, ‘Social Theatre as a Tool for Environmental Learning Processes: A Case Study from Madrid, Spain’. in: Martha Monroe, Marianne Krasny (eds) Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators. North American Association for Environmental Education, pp. 281-296
  5. Medland, L, 2016, ‘Working for Social Sustainability: Insights from a Spanish Organic Production Enclave’. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, vol 40., pp. 1133-1156

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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