John Pickles is an economic geographer trained in political economy and development studies, cultural and social theory, and continental philosophy. His research currently focuses on global production networks, European economic and social spaces particularly post-socialist transformations in Central Europe and Euro-Med Neighborhood Policies in Southern Europe. He also works on the cultural economies of maps and mapping, counter-mapping, and the use of maps in social movements. He has recently completed books on globalization and regionalization, state and society in post-socialist Europe, and a history of spaces. He is currently completing work on an edited collection with the ILO Better Work Programme on Towards Decent Work and on an edited collection on European and Latin American autonomous political thought -- The Anomie of the Earth -- with Federico Luisetti and Wil KaiSer for Duke University Press.
He holds BA and MA degrees from Oxford University and Ph.D. degrees form the University of Natal and the Pennsylvania State University. He joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 as the Earl N Phillips Distinguished Professor of International Studies and served as the Chair of the Department of Geography between 2007-2013 . He is a Fellow of the Institute for Arts and Humanities and of the Center for Urban and Regions Studies. He serves on the Advisory Boards for the Center for European Studies, the Carolina Asia Center, the Center for Muslim and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Office of Study Abroad, and the University Program in Cultural Studies. He directs the University Supply Chain Program and is an appointed member of the Chancellor's Labor and Licensing Advisory Committee.
His research and teaching focus primarily on issues of geographical and social change, particularly in regions that are undergoing major ruptures in socio-economic life and under conditions of economic -- and often physical -- violence. These concerns have their roots in questions of geographical uneven development, whether in post-war Britain, colonial and post-colonial Africa, the unraveling of state socialism in Central Europe, the building of the new Europe, or the operation and effects of global apparel production networks. Each is heavily inflected through his reading of critical theory, hermeneutic phenomenology, cultural studies, and post-structural social theory. [See Encyclopedia of Geography entry]
Globalization and development studies
My research focuses on geographies of globalization, political economy, development, justice, and social action. From the 1970s to the 1990s this research focused on the political economy and economic geographies of apartheid and anti-apartheid South Africa. Since the 1980s, my focus has shifted to Europe and the study of post-socialist regional economic change. I am currently working on projects dealing with the geographies of post-MFA apparel trade; trans-national production networks, and the industrial geographies of post-socialism in Eastern Europe, China, and Vietnam; European Neighborhood Policy and geographies of migration and economic integration in the Euro-med region; and social movements and the practices and politics of diverse economies and autonomous development.
My work on post-socialist economic transformations in Central and Eastern Europe began with an National Science Foundation exchange of scholars from Hungary, Bulgaria, and Russia and deepened when I experienced at first hand the expulsion of ethnic Turks from Bulgaria in 1989. The led to research on violence and ethnic minority populations and regions, regional economic change, and -- most recently -- with the integration of East European apparel producers into global and regional circuits of trade and investment. I have recently published two edited volumes on post-socialist transformations: Globalization and Regionalization in Post-socialist Economies: the Common Economic Spaces of Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and State and Society in Post-Socialist and Post-Soviet Economies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). These build on earlier work I published in Environmental Transitions: Transformation and Ecological Defense in Central and Eastern Europe, with Petr Pavlinek (Routledge, 2000), Theorizing Transition: The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transformations edited with Adrian Smith (Routledge, 1998), and Bulgaria in Transition: The Environmental Consequences of Political and Economic Transformation edited with Krassimira Paskaleva, Boian Koulov, and Phil Shapira (Ashgate, 1998).
Social Histories of Space, Mapping, and the Technics of Everyday Life
I am also interested in science and technology studies and the ways in which mapping practices shape socio-spatial life. This was the focus of my book on the social history and geography of mapping: A History of Spaces: Cartographic Reason, Mapping, and the Geo-Coded World (Routledge 2004) and continues in the work of the counter-cartographies collective. Earlier work in this vein can be found in my Ground Truth: The Social Implications of Geographical Information Systems (Guilford, 1995); Commonplaces, Humanism, and Geography edited with David Black and Don Kunze (University Press of America, 1989); Geography and Humanism (CATMOG, 1987); and Phenomenology, Science, and Geography: Space and the Human Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 1985).
1. Global Apparel Project
The Global Apparel Project comprises four specific research efforts. Two have been supported by the National Science Foundation. One recently completed project, focused on the resurgence of apparel production and the development of new geographies of out-sourcing, subcontracting, and trade throughout Central and Eastern Europe [Global Apparel/Clothing Europe]. This was a collaborative project with Robert Begg (Indiana University of PA), Adrian Smith (University of Southampton), Milan Bucek (Bratislava University), and Poli Roukova (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). The second is currently funded by NSF and deals with the changing geographies of post-MFA apparel trade and production. It is a collaborative project with Meenu Tewari (UNC), Gary Gereffi (Duke University), and Adrian Smith (Queen Mary College, University of London). [http://www.unc.edu/depts/geog/garp/]. A third project is studying the changing geographies, production networks, and supply chains of major global retailers. A fourth project --'Capturing the Gains' focuses on economic and industrial governance and their effects on economic and social upgrading. It is a collaborative project with colleagues from the Brooks Poverty Center at the University ot Manchester, the Center for Globalization, Governance, and Competitiveness at Duke University, the New School, the ILO, the Indian Institute for Human Development, and a network of researchers in Europe, China, South America, South Africa, and India.
2. Europe, European Neighbourhood Policy, and trans-border geographies
Beginning with Derrida’s claim for a ‘democracy-to-come' and Balibar’s call for ‘open citizenship' this project studies the changing borders of Europe and struggles over boundaries and their associated rights and freedoms within Schengen and other Euro-spaces. The main foci of this research are variously East European post-accession economies, the spatial ethics of post-colonial responsibility, and Euro-Med and European Neighborhood Programs. In conjunction with Sebastian Cobarrubias and Maribel Casas Cortes, I am engaged in a three-year National Science Foundation funded project on non-accession integration processes and the changing exercise of sovereignty in the Euro-Med region.
3. Alternative economies and autonomous development
This project focuses on the study of diverse economic practices, trans-nationality, and local development. It is part of the Cultures-of Economies Research Group in the University Program in Cultural Studies and collaborative teaching with Larry Grossberg and Arturo Escobar. Initially focused on the work of post-autistic economics and the diverse economies research of Julie Graham, Kathy Gibson, Roger Lee, and others, this project has increasingly shifted focus, first to projects of autonomous politics and economics and, more recently, to relational ontologies and issues of sustainability.
One current form of our work is taking place in collaboration with Federico Luisetti (UNC Romance Languages) and colleagues at the University of Amsterdam. The first conference Post/autonomia was held in Amsterdam May 19-21, 2011. The second, The Anomie of the Earth was held on the campus of UNC, May 4-6, 2012. An edited volume from the second conference will be published by Duke University Press in 2014.
4. New cartographies in art and social movements
In referring to the work of Foucault as the 'new cartographer', Gilles Deleuze pointed to a mode of investigation and writing that sought, not to trace out representations of the real, but to construct mappings that re-figure relations in ways that render alternative worlds. In this project, we begin with this understanding of new cartographies/new mappings, and then turn to the ways in which these new mappings are emerging within social movement, activist, and artist projects to rethink economic practices and institutions. In forging this research group, we are interested in understanding how this particular genealogy of a new cartography is being and can be mobilized to render new images (and practices) of economies, how it is being deployed in community and alternative economic projects, and how it is being used to understand the institutions and networks of economic organizations such as corporations and the university.
In the early 2000s, working with the University Program in Cultural Studies and the Cultures of Economies Research Program several graduate students and I created the counter-cartographies-collective to develop critical interventions in mapping theory and practice, work with community groups on mapping projects, and to experiment with the possibilities of mapping as a social practice.
Arianna Rossi, Amy Luinstra and John Pickles (eds.) 2013. Towards Better Work: Understanding Labour in Apparel Global Value Chains. Advances in Labour Studies Series. ILO and Palgrave Macmillan: Geneva and Basingstoke.
John Pickles (ed). 2009. Globalization and Regionalization in Post-socialist Economies: the Common Economic Spaces of Europe. Palgrave Macmillan.
John Pickles (ed). 2009. State and Society in Post-Socialist and Post-Soviet Economies. Palgrave Macmillan.
John Pickles. 2004. A History of Spaces: Cartographic Reason, Mapping and the Geo-Coded World. Routledge.
Petr Pavlinek and John Pickles (ed). 2000. Environmental Transitions: Transformation and Ecological Defense in Central and Eastern Europe. Routledge.
John Pickles and Adrian Smith (eds.) 1998. Theorizing Transition: The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transformations. Routledge.
Krassimira Paskaleva, John Pickles, Boian Koulov, and Phil Shapira (eds.) 1998. Bulgaria in Transition: The Environmental Consequences of Political and Economic Transformation. Ashgate.
John Pickles (ed) 1995. Ground Truth: The Social Implications of Geographical Information Systems. Guilford.
David Black, Don Kunze and John Pickles (eds) 1989. Commonplaces, Humanism, and Geography. University Press of America.
John Pickles. 1987. Geography and Humanism. CATMOG.
John Pickles. 1985. Phenomenology, Science, and Geography: Space and the Human Sciences. Cambridge University Press.
Most Recent Peer Review Articles, Chapters, and Working Papers
Frederick W. Mayer and John Pickles. 2014. ‘Re-embedding the Market: Global Apparel Value Chains, Governance and Decent Work’, in Rossi, A., Luinstra, A., and Pickles, J. (editors), Toward Better Work – Understanding Labour in Apparel Global Value Chains. (Basingstoke and Geneva: Palgrave Macmillan and International Labour Organization/Capturing the Gains), pp. 17-39.
John Pickles, Maribel Casas Cortes, and Sebastian Cobarrubias. 2014. Commons. In D. Nonini (editor). A Companion to Urban Anthropology. New York: Wiley. Forthcoming.
John Pickles and Timothy Stallmann. 2014. 'Mapping and Social Theory' in M. Monmonier (ed). The History of Cartography: Twentieth Century. Chicago: Chicago University Press. In press.
John Pickles, Sebastian Cobarrubias, and Maribel Casas-Cortes. 2014. ‘The cartographic gaze, new cartographies of the border, and the responsibility of mapping’. In Géoesthétique (edited by Aliocha Imhoff and Kantuta Quiros). Co-produced by the Parc Saint Leger (art center), High School of Fine Arts of Clermont-Ferrand, and also certainly by the CNL (National Center of Books), the CNAP (National Center of Contemporary Art). Paris: B42 Publishers, forthcoming.
John Pickles. 2014. 'Place, Autonomy, and the Politics of Hope.' In Place Matters (edited by Dwight Billings and Amy Kingsolver). Lexington, University of Kentucky Press.
Lan Tu and John Pickles. 2014. 'State regulation, economic reform and worker rights: the contingent effects of China’s Labour Contract Law.' Journal of Contemporary Asia. Forthcoming.
Thomas C. Wolfe and John Pickles. 2014. ‘Social justice, social science, and the complexities of post-socialism’, in Jan Kubik and Amy T. Linch (editors) Justice, Hegemony and Mobilization: Views from East/Central Europe and Eurasia. New York: The NYU Press. Click for details.
Shengjun Zhu and John Pickles. 2014. From ‘Bring-In’ to ‘Go-Up’, ‘Go-West’, and ‘Go-Out’: Upgrading, Regionalisation, and Delocalisation in China’s Apparel Production Networks. Journal of Contemporary Asia. First published 9 June 2013: DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2013.801166. .pdf
John Pickles. 2013. Economic and social upgrading in apparel global value chains: public governance and trade policy. Capturing the Gains Working Paper 2012/13. .pdf
John Pickles and Shengjun Zhu. 2013. The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act. Capturing the Gains Working Paper 2013/15. .pdf
John Pickles and Shane Godfrey. Economic and social upgrading in global apparel production networks. Capturing the Gains Cape Town Summit Briefing No 06.2. .pdf
Maribel Casas Cortes, Sebastian Cobarrubias, and John Pickles. 2013. Re-Bordering the Neighbourhood: Europe’s Emerging Geographies of Non-Accession Integration. Journal of European Urban and Regional Studies. First published May 30, 2012, doi: 10.1177/0969776411434848 http://eur.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/04/20/0969776411434848.abstract
John Pickles. 2012. 'The Cultural Turn and the Conjunctural Economy: Economic Geography, Anthropology, and Cultural Studies,' Chapter 2 in The Wiley-Blackwell New Companion to Economic Geography, Edited by Barnes, Peck, and Sheppard. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 537-551.
Stephanie Barrientos, Frederick Mayer, John Pickles, and Anne Posthuma. 2011. Labour standards in global production networks: Framing the policy Debate. International Labour Review, Vol. 150, December, No. 3–4, pp. 299-318.
---in the French edition: Stephanie Barrientos, Frederick Mayer, John Pickles, and Anne Posthuma. 2011. Travail décent et réseaux de production mondiaux: construire le débat politique. Revue internationale du Travail, Vol. 130 décembre, no. 3-4, pp. 325-346.
---in the Spanish edition: Stephanie Barrientos, Frederick Mayer, John Pickles, and Anne Posthuma. 2011. Trabajo decente en las redes productivas mundiales. Marco del debate programático. Revista Internacional del Trabajo. Vol. 130, Diciembre, num 3-4, pp. 325-346.
Maribel Casas Cortes, Sebastian Cobarrubias, and John Pickles. Stretching Borders Beyond Sovereign Territories? Mapping EU and Spain’s Border Externalization Policies. Geopolitica(s). Revista de estudios sobre espacio y poder. 2(1), pp. 71-90.
Sebastian Cobbarrubias, Maribel Casas Cortes, and John Pickles. ‘An interview with Sandro Mezzadra,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29(4) August 2011, pp.584-598. .pdf
Dennis Arnold and John Pickles. 2011. ‘Global work, surplus labor, and the precarious economies of the border’ Antipode. 43(5), pp. 1598–1624 .pdf
John Pickles & Adrian Smith (2011): Delocalization and Persistence in the European Clothing Industry:
The Reconfiguration of Trade and Production Networks, Regional Studies, 45:2, 167-185. .pdf
John Pickles and Adrian Smith. 2010. ‘Clothing Workers after the Worker States: The Consequences for Work and Labour of Outsourcing, Nearshoring and Delocalization in Postsocialist Europe’. Handbook of Employment and Society. Editors: Susan McGrath-Champ, Andrew Herod, Al Rainnie. Edward Elgar Publishers: Cheltenham, pp. 106-123.
John Pickles. 2010. ‘The spirit of post-socialism: common spaces and the production of diversity.’ European Urban and Regional Studies, 17(2), pp. 127-140.
John Pickles. 2009. The Dictionary of Human Geography (edited by Derek Gregory, Ron Johnson, Geraldine Pratt, Michael Watts, and Sarah Whatmore). Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell: Cartesianism (65-6); Cartographic Reason 66; Euclidean space (220); Existentialism (228-9); Objectivity (507); Phenomenology (528-9); Post-socialism (571); Second World (670); Socialism (700-1).
John Pickles (editor). 2009. ‘Globalization and Regionalization in Post-Socialist Economies: Common Economic Spaces of Europe’. In John Pickles (editor). Globalization and Regionalization in Post-socialist Economies: the Common Economic Spaces of Europe. Palgrave Macmillan.
Frederick W. Mayer and John Pickles. 2009. ‘Governance and Implications for Decent Work in Apparel Global Value Chains’. A Working Paper Commissioned for the ‘Capturing the Gains’ Program. Institute for International Labour Studies: ILO.
Sebastian Cobarrubias and John Pickles. 2009. ‘Spacing Movements: mapping practice, global justice and social activism’. In The Spatial Turn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge: London and New York: 36-58.
John Pickles. 2008. ‘Derek Gregory 'Geographical Imaginations' (1995)’, in Phil Hubbard, Rob Kitchin and Gill Valentine (eds). Key Texts in Human Geography, SAGE publications. Chapter 20.
Adrian Smith, John Pickles, Milan Bucek, Robert Begg, and Poli Roukova. 2008. Reconfiguring ‘post-socialist’ regions: cross-border networks and regional competition in the Slovak and Ukrainian clothing industry. Global Networks 8(3): 281-301.
John Pickles. 2008. ‘The spirit of post-socialism: what do we understand by it?’ in J. Pickles (ed.) State and Society in Post-Socialist and Post-Soviet Economies. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-19.
John Pickles. 2008. ‘State, Society, and Hybrid Post-Socialist Economies’ in J. Pickles (ed.) State and Society in Post-Socialist and Post-Soviet Economies. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 253-62.
John Pickles. 2008. ‘Preface’ to Industrial and Firm Upgrading in the European Periphery: The Textile and Clothing Industry in Turkey and Bulgaria by Evgeni Evgeniev.
John Pickles. 2007. Deconstructing Hegemonies and the Ethics and Politics of Theory. Discussion forum on Matthew Sparke’s In the Space of Theory. Edited by Jo Sharp. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.
John Pickles. 2007. ‘Geographical Imaginations’, in Phil Hubbard, Rob Kitchin and Gill Valentine (eds). Key Texts in Human Geography, SAGE publications.
John Pickles. 2007. Radical Thought-In-Action: Gunnar Olsson’s Critique of Cartographic Reason. Geografiska Annaler 89 B (4): 394-7.
John Pickles and Adrian Smith. 2007. 'Post-socialist economic geographies and the politics of knowledge production'. In Politics and Practices of Economic Geography. Edited by Eric Sheppard, Trevor Barnes, Jamie Peck, and Adam Tickell. SAGE.
John Pickles. 2007. Collectivism, Universalism, and Struggles Over Common Property Resources in the ‘New’ Europe. In The Global Idea of the Commons. Edited by Don Nonini. Critical Intervention Series, Berghahn Press. Forthcoming.
John Pickles. 2006. Collectivism, Universalism, and Struggles Over Common Property Resources in the ‘New’ Europe. Social Analysis. 50(3), Winter, 178-186.
John Pickles. 2006. Trade Liberalization, Upgrading. and Regionalization in the Global Apparel Industry. Environment and Planning A. December. 38(12): 2201-2206.
John Pickles, Adrian Smith, Poli Roukova, Robert Begg, and Milan Bucek. 2006. Upgrading and diversification in the East European industry: Competitive pressure and production networks in the clothing industry. Environment and Planning A. 38(12): 2305-2324
John Pickles. 2006. On the Social Lives of Maps and the Politics of Diagrams: A story of power, alchemy, seduction, and disappearance. Area 37 (4): 355-364.
John Pickles. 2006. Ground Truth 1995-2005. Transactions in GIS 10(5): 763-772.
GEOG77/International Studies 77: Global Issues in a Changing World
INTS90: Honors Research and Writing (Fall)
INTS91: Honors Research and Writing (Spring)
GEOG160: 'Geographies of Economic Change'
GEOG164/INTS126: 'Europe Today: Transnationalism, Globalisms, and Geographies of Pan-Europe'
'Theories/Practices/Spatialities: Global Justice Movements and Geographies of the New International?'
‘Research Seminar in Social Geography'.
'Rethinking the Economy' (with Larry Grossberg and Arturo Escobar)
’Shifting Values and Other Futures: Neoliberalism, Development and the Defense of Society?'
'Modernities in Struggle: Economies, Polities, Cultures' (with Larry Grossberg and Arturo Escobar)
'Spatial Practices - Thinking and Acting Geographically'
'Figures of Power' (with Larry Grossberg and Arturo Escobar)
'Contemporary Concepts in Geography'
Graduate School Scholars for Tomorrow Seminars
Global Scholars for Tomorrow Seminar: 'Internationalizing the University'
Global Scholars for Tomorrow Seminar: ‘Worlds of Work?'
Doctoral Dissertations supervised
Mohameden Ould-Mey, Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Geography, Geology and Anthropology, Indiana State University.
Dissertation: Global Restructuring and Peripheral States: The Stick and the Carrot in Mauritania, University of Kentucky 1995
Petr Pavlinek, Professor of Geography, Charles University, Prague and University of Nebraska at Omaha..
Dissertation: Transition and the Environment in the Czech Republic: Democratization, Economic Restructuring and the Environmental Management in the Most District After the Collapse of State Socialism, University of Kentucky 1995
Caedmon Staddon, Associate Professor in Human Geography, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of the West of England.
Dissertation: Democratisation, Environmental Management and the Production of New Political Geographies in Bulgaria: A Case Study of the 1994-1995 Sofia Water Crisis, University of Kentucky 1996
Eugene McCann, Associate Professor of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.
Dissertation: Planning Futures: The Restructuring of Space, Economy, and Institutions in Lexington, Kentucky, University of Kentucky 1998
Martin Bosman, Associate Professor of Geography, University of South Florida.
Dissertation: Space, Power and the Politics of Representation: The Case of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Inc and the State of Kentucky, University of Kentucky 1999
Emil J. Popke, Associate Professor of Geography, East Carolina University.
Dissertation: Deconstructing Apartheid Space: Negotiating Alterity and History in Durban’s Cato Manor, University of Kentucky 1999
Keiron Bailey, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Arizona.
Dissertation: Living in the Eikaiwa Wonderland: English Language Learning, Socioeconomic Transformation, and Gender Alterities in Modern Japan, University of Kentucky 2002
Michael Dorn, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Disability Studies, Institute on Disabilities, Temple University.
Dissertation: Climate, alcohol and the American body politic: The medical and moral geographies of Daniel Drake (1785-1852), University of Kentucky 2002
Gary O’Dell, Associate Professor of Geography, Government, and History, Morehead State University.
Dissertation: Eco-efficiency and Lean Production: Environmental Performance of Japanese Transplants in the United States, University of Kentucky 2003
Jennifer Kopf, University of Jena.
Dissertation: Spatial Strategies of Resistance to Anti-Islamic Animus in German East African Transportation, Labor, Education, and Social Policies. University of Kentucky 2004.
Jon Lepofsky, Friends School, NC.
Dissertation: 'In Each Other we Trust': Reimagining Community, Economy, and the Region in Central North Carolina's PLENTY Complementary Currency. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2007.
Christian Sellar. Assistant Professor of Public Policy Leadership, University of Mississippi.
Dissertation: The Relationship between the Processes of Outsourcing of Italian Textile and Clothing Firms and the Emergence of Industrial Districts in Eastern Europe. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2007.
Tina Mangieri.Dean for Africa, South of the Sahara, SIT Study Abroad, a program of World Learning.
Dissertation: Refashioning Transnational Spaces: Cloth, Clothing and Kenyan Cultural-Economies. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2007.
Sebastian Cobarrubias. Post-doctoral research fellow in Geography, UNC-CH.
Dissertation: Navigating a Changing Europe from Below Activist Cartographies by Social Movements in France and Spain. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill May 2009.
Dennis Arnold. Assistant Professor, Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development, University of Amsterdam.
Dissertation: Administration, Border Zones and Spatial Practices in the Mekong Subregion, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill December 2010.
Dissertation: Managing Global Guilt and Local Norms: Governance in the Sri Lankan Clothing Industry. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill May 2013.
LAN, Tu (ABD) 'Migration and the Institutional Contexts: the Chinese Apparel Industry in Prato, Tuscany'. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ZHU, Shengjun (ABD) ''Go Up’, ‘Go West’, and ‘Go Out’: Changing Industrial Policy and Firm Strategies in China’s Apparel Industry'. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Steven Larson (ABD) 'The Fractured Values of “Best Interests”: Korean Adoptees, Minnesotans, and the Strategies, Struggles, and Spaces of Transnational Adoption'. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Amy Braun, Ph.D. student. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Aron Sandell, Ph.D. student. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Priscilla Vaz, Ph.D. student. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill