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GEOG276 Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change

Geographies of contestation and action and how groups from the local to global scales have initiated processes and practices to create alternative, more sustainable and equitable futures.

Contestation and social and environmental action are fundamental parts of a democratic society. Democratic ideals that power is not abused, that equality, freedom and justice are core tenents of everyday life; and that basic needs are met. In this sense, democracy is understood in its traditional sense of 'power to the people'. Yet somehow, in contemporary society that seems idealistic. This paper will provide students with a critical understanding of the nature of contestation and action across scales and the opportunities and constraints that groups face in seeking a more equal and sustainable world in real political terms.

Paper title Geographies of Contestation, Action and Change
Paper code GEOG276
Subject Geography
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2019, expected to be offered in 2021
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,059.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,627.65

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GEOG 102 or 108 points
GEOG 376
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
May not be credited together with GEOG 379 passed in 2014.

Teaching staff

Course coordinator: Dr Sophie Bond

Teaching Staff: Dr Doug Hill


Text books are not required for this paper.

Readings are selected from a range of sources, including journals, books and edited collections. A reading list will be provided at the beginning of term, with most readings available through eReserve via Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

This paper is organised to achieve four objectives - namely, to enable you to:

  1. Understand the history and place of critical though in human geography.
  2. Demonstrate the relevance of critical geographies in contemporary examples of contestation, action and change (with a particular focus on neoliberalisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand).
  3. Understand and apply key concepts in geographies of contestation, action, social movements and indigeneity to real-world examples from the local to the global scales.
  4. Engage with and apply these concepts to the activities and struggles of local community groups.
Paper Structure

The paper is organised into four parts:

Part I: The foundations of critical geography.

Part II: The neoliberal present.

Part III: Spaces of contestation, action and change.

Part IV: Conclusion: Geographies of action and change.

Assessment is 60% internal (on-going during the semester) and 40% external (final examination)

Teaching Arrangements

Two 50-minute lectures per week

Seven 50-minute tutorials in scheduled weeks run over the 13 weeks of semester

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Not offered in 2019, expected to be offered in 2021

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system