The geographies of the political right urgently require more understanding. In many contexts around the world, the right-wing has moved to the political and cultural mainstream; far-right and extremist movements have likewise become destabilising forces.
Examples include Trumpism (or what will replace it) in the U.S., ‘Brexit’ and anti-lockdown protests in the U.K., and various nationalist and anti-migration movements across the European Continent from France to Hungary and beyond. These insurgencies are distinct, but also networked and linked. Nor are right-wing movements limited to the Global North or West, as demonstrated by Modi’s Hindu nationalism in India, Bolsonaro’s regime in Brazil, Erdogan’s rule in Turkey, or Duterte’s authoritarian grip on the Philippines.
Two things remain under-explored in the research on these contemporary movements. The first is how they relate to urban geographies. Right-wing geographies are often portrayed as anti-urban, relegated to the rural, small town or exurban fringe; framed as angry reactions against the city. But the boundary of ‘urban’ and ‘anti-urban’ is blurred and dynamic, and changes across spatial contexts. Right-wing processes, networks, identities, financial flows, technologies and infrastructures are reliant on, and mediated by, urban sites.
Thus, more research is needed on the lived, daily experience of right-wing urban geographies through questions such as: what is the role of urban public space in right-wing emergence and formation? What are the key urban sites of right-wing encounter, socialization, and politics, and how does the right-wing produce these sites? Can patterns be seen in terms of architecture, building type, inner versus outer-city, suburb or exurb? In what ways do urban geographies appear in right-wing spaces online?
The second gap in the research is a lack of comparative approaches, which are needed to better-understand both the site-specific distinctions of right-wing urban geographies, but also, how they relate and are informed by each other. Across these movements, in Global South and North, there are different types of built environments; conceptions of race, ethnicity, and identity; and different laws and state-society relations attached to territory, politics and governance.
For example: what are the links, networks, and convergences between Hindu nationalist urban geographies in India and the ‘Brexit Heartlands’ of the UK? How might Trump’s ‘Red suburbs’ be seen, comparatively, with Bolsonaro’s cities in Brazil, or Hungary’s urban hubs of support for the Jobbik Party? How do conceptions of Whiteness and gender (especially masculinity) change across different right-wing urban settings? How do digital platforms like social media help to produce hybrids, networks, and links across different right-wing urban geographies?
Methodological approaches may include both quantitative and qualitative dimensions. Quantitative aspects such a socio-economic data and political/electoral patterns would supplement qualitative research such as (but not limited to) social media analysis and digital ethnography; discourse analysis; site-based observation; interviews, and participant / participatory observation. We would welcome applications from candidates across Human Geography and its sub-disciplines, but also cognate fields such as (but not limited to) Urban Planning, Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, Political Science, or International Relations. In addition, language skills other than English are welcomed.
The principal supervisor for this project is Dr. Jason Luger.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (RDF21/EE/GES/LUGERJason) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 29 January 2021
Start Date: 1 October 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.
Luger, J. (2020) Questioning planetary illiberalism: Territory, space and power. Territory, Politics, Governance, 8(1), pp. 1-6.
Luger, J. (2020) Planetary illiberalism and the cybercity-state: in and beyond territory. Territory, Politics, Governance, 8(1), pp. 77-94.
Cassidy, K., Innocenti, P. and Bürkner, H.J. (2018) Brexit and new autochthonic politics of belonging. Space and Polity, 22(2), pp. 188-204.