The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Jonathan Pugh

Senior Academic Fellow


Research Interests

- Small Islands and Archipelagos 

- Contemporary Caribbean Development

- Participatory development

- Changing nature of radical politics today  .... for complete download of publications.


Jonathan’s main area of research is islands and archipelagos. He is particularly associated with what has come to be known as the 'relational turn' in island studies, exploring the relational characteristics that disrupt insular island geographies. To this end, Jonathan has recently started work on a monograph that both explores the characteristics of the relational turn and how archipelagic thinking can now be extended further into new directions.

Jonathan has given a range of keynote addresses at international conferences on this theme, published three other books and more than forty media commentaries, interviews and academic articles. Work has been reviewed in a range of outlets, including New Statesman, Red Pepper, Soundings, the Big Issue, Compass, the British Council, Catholic Herald, Left Foot Forward, Fabian Review, Total Politics, Town and Country Planning and the Times Higher Educational Supplement.

He has undertaken international guest lectures at the Universities of Taipei, West Indies, Rutgers, Zurich, Westminster, Aberdeen, London, California, Virginia Tech, Cornell, Harvard, and Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton. Jonathan is on the Executive Board of the International Small Island Studies Association (ISISA) and the Steering Committee of the International Geographical Union on Islands.

In addition to this interest in islands and archipelagos, Jonathan has also been involved in a range of practical and transformative participatory programmes in the Caribbean. For example, co-initiating a seven-country programme employing 128 Caribbean fisherpeople funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to stimulate the development of fishing community networks across the eastern Caribbean archipelago. Drawing upon such practical programmes, Jonathan has published a number of theoretical critiques of participatory development (Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers/Royal Geographical Society; Annals of the Association of American Geographers; Environment and Planning D: society and space; Progress in Human Geography; Antipode; Geoforum; Geography Compass, for examples).

Such concerns often intersect with Jonathan's final interest: the changing nature of radical politics today. In 2004 Jonathan launched the 'Spaces of Democracy' network with Chantal Mouffe and Doreen Massey. Illustrative of strong impact and engagement, the network ran until 2014 and involved 17 institutions worldwide and examined the changing  character of radical politics today. In 2009 Jonathan edited the book ‘What is Radical Politics Today?’, of which reviewers have said:

"Jonathan Pugh gathers some of the most innovative and insightful voices from Britain and beyond to stage a series of debates on the central issues facing radical politics today. This collection is a model for the kinds of discussion we need to move forward." (Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire).

"Radical politics is about rethinking the common sense, the taken for granted assumptions, of the age. This timely and well-planned collection of essays by distinguished and concerned scholars throws much new light on where we should be looking for new ideas. It represents a major contribution to the ongoing debate on the problems of our times." (Lord Bhikhu Parekh)

For potential PhD students

Jonathan is interested in supervising PhD's on the following topics:-

- Small islands and archipelagos

- Contemporary Caribbean development

- Participatory Development

- Changing nature of radical politics today

Present Supervision

Karllen Lawrence (2017-)

Beth Robertson (2018-)

Roles and Responsibilities

 - Newcastle University Public Lectures Committee.


PhD (Geography, London).

Honours and Awards

- ESRC PhD studentship (1998-2001)
- Three year ESRC Fellowship (2002-2005) (graded 'Outstanding').
- RCUK Fellow in Territorial Governance (2005-2010).
- Member of Newcastle University 'Faculty Futures' programme.
-  Honorary Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster.

Peer Review

ESRC, Leverhulme, European Union, British Academy, Australian Research Council.

Editorial Boards

- Island Studies Journal

- Urban Island Studies

- Shima: the international journal of research into island cultures

- International Intervention and Statebuilding

- Journal of Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses

Previous PhD student Completions

Dana James (Fulbright Scholar)

Carolyn Fahey (full scholarship funded by Jonathan Pugh, through the Spaces of Democracy network).

Amanda Machin, Centre for the Study of Democracy (co-supervised with Chantal Mouffe). Amanda was funded through the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, PhD scholarship, established by Jonathan Pugh.



Santander Mobility Fund Mapping urban degradation in Barrancabermeja: the effect of intense energy production in urban areas (with Fátima Elena and Gareth Powells (£1391)

Caribbean Planning:-

Santander Mobility Fund plus Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Newcastle University: Participatory mapping for disaster management in the Caribbean (£3000)

Santander Mobility Fund 'What do government workers in the Caribbean think of ‘resilience’?: a pilot study' £1475.75 (2014).

Newcastle University, HASS Faculty Research Fund (2011, £4,000).

Newcastle University, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology Smalls Bids Fund (2011, £1000).

Newcastle University, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology Travel Top-up Fund (2011, £500).

United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office regional programme “Developing Institutional Capital in the Fisherfolk Communities of the Caribbean” (2003, DfID, approximately £60K including funding from Caribbean businesses, charities, consultancies and academics).

Research Council United Kingdom Fellowship 2005–2010 (EP/C509005/1; £125,000).

Three year Economic and Social Research Council Research Fellow. “Developing Institutional Capital in the Neo-Liberal Era: Caribbean Environmental Planning”. (2002-2004, ESRC: R00271204, total £100,121).

“Deconstructing Participatory Environmental Planning: Dispositions of Power in Barbados and St Lucia.” Royal Holloway, University of London PhD (1998-2001, ESRC studentship: R00429834850).


Spaces of Democracy network:-

SARCHA (School of Architecture for All), Athens (Euros 80,000).

Pugh, J. Mouffe, C, Thein, D. Marres, N. Howarth, D. and Griffin, L. The Spatial Turn and Political Subjectivity in the Social Sciences and Humanities, Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series, May 2009 – December 2011, RES-451-26-0566 (£9213.20).

Pugh, J. Massey, D. Mouffe, C. and Verges, F. The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space, Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series, 01/01/2007-31/12/2009,RES-451-25-4226 (£20511.68).

Newcastle University Public Lecture Series (£1000).

British Academy Small Research Grant (£3564.30).

California State University (£3000).

Essex University, Department of Government (£2000).

Goldsmiths College, University of London (£3000).

The Global Urban Research Unit and the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University (£600).

University of Newcastle Faculty Futures programme (£1000).

The Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust (£600).

One North East, Newcastle University Faculty Futures Programme and Newcastle City Council (£200).

Harvard and Cornell University (£2000).

Personal Assistant for Jonathan Pugh, funded through University of Newcastle Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (£15,000).

Spaces of Democracy PhD studentship. The Institute of Research on Environment and Sustainability, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Newcastle University (£48,000).


The Great Debate:-

Big Lottery and The Dulverton Trust funded 'great northern youth voices' / [2012-14], £35K - documentary-making training for young people Not in Employment, Education or Training.


Royal Academy of Engineering funded 'ETUDE: Engineering Transmission Using Deliverative Events' [2013]; and 'Sustained Engagement' [2011-12], each for £30K


Pugh, J. Hewett, C. Williams, A. Tate S. and Large, A. Developing Discursive Skills for the workplace: piloting an interactive seminar series. Innovation Fund, Newcastle University, Quality in Learning and Teaching (QuILT) (£4995) [2012].


Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science (£2K per year for 7 years) funded: Decline and Fool: Changing Ideas in the Twenty Teens [2013]; Whatever Happened to Equality? [2012]; The Great Debate: Facing the Future [2011]; Getting Real About Climate Change [2010]; Don’t Shout at the Telly, Change What's on it! [2009]; Developing World Challenges [2008]; and DSE3: Film Training with a Global Edge [2007]


Other sponsors and funding include: The Policy Press sponsored the filming of Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? [2010] and Limits to Growth in the 21st Century [2010]. RCE North East sponsored Living in a Changing World [2010] and The Great Debate Green Phoenix Festival programme [2010].  Northumbria University sponsored Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? [2010], The Great Sustainable Energy Debate 2008 and The Great Debate Human Nature Series 2008 (consisting of Progress of the Human Mind, Selfish Genes, Sex, and Sanity, Unnoticed Connections and Agents of Change? Darwinian Thought and Theories of Human Nature). Newcastle Science Festival sponsored: Getting Real About Climate Change [2010], Development, Sustainability and Environment 3 [2007], Science and the Human Potential [2006], The Great Energy Debate [2006], The Nature of Being Human [2005], The Great Debate: Being Human [2005], Whatever Happened to the Subject? [2004], Playing it Safe: Science and the Risk Society [2004], and Of Blank Slates and Zombies [2004]. Edinburgh University Press sponsored Agents of Change? Darwinian Thought and Theories of Human Nature [2008]. Atlantic Books sponsored: The Great Debate: Reprogramming Life [2006].  Dewjoc Architects sponsored: The Great Housing Debate [2006]. NESTA sponsored a 'Development and Environment', three day conference [2006].  





Undergraduate Teaching

Globalisations, Culture and Development (GEO2103)

Module leader: Caribbean Societies: development, voice and the everyday (GEO3125).

Dissertations (GEO3099).


Postgraduate Teaching

Nature of Explanation and Enquiry (HSS8007)

Masters in Human Geography: Concepts in Action (GEO 8017).