Checks on global inequity

August 25, 2006

Next week's conference, Global Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability , will be the biggest in the history of the Royal Geographical Society, with more than 1,000 papers.

Anybody in London visiting the Science Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum will see 1,300 geographers from around the world heading for the society's HQ in Exhibition Road. The conference is so large that part of next-door Imperial College London has been hired.

Linda McDowell, the conference chair, says it will provide a forum "to think across the human-physical sciences divide and to develop insights into some of the most pressing issues of the millennium". McDowell, professor of human geography at Oxford University, says this year's theme could not be more relevant. "It's about how to reduce the glaring global inequalities in income, living conditions, security, safety and wellbeing.

It's also about recognising that the implications of environmental degradation, careless and excessive use of resources and evidence of climate change must be taken into account for the sake of future generations."

The conference will be opened by Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, who has predicted "fully fledged ghettos" in Britain similar to those exposed in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. His plenary address will be a critical assessment of Britain's policy of multiculturalism. It will be followed by two papers based on detailed statistical analysis of the connections between poverty, class, race and geographical segregation - in the US, by Amy Glasmeier of Pennsylvania State University, and in the UK,by Danny Dorling of Sheffield University.

The theme of racial integration in the UK will be further developed by Haleh Afshar, professor of women's studies at York University, who will give a plenary address on the implications for women of covering their hair.

In her opening remarks, McDowell, whose research interests are economic change, gender divisions of labour, migration and feminist theory, will say that it is becoming clear that the world we live in is being torn apart by "poverty, war, disputes over the right to own, control and use resources, as well as by religious, ethnic and racialised conflicts".

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Woman tearing up I can't sign

Schools and universities are increasingly looking at how improving personalities can boost social mobility. But in doing so, they may be forced to choose between teaching what is helpful, and what is true, says David Matthews

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

Door peephole painted as bomb ready to explode

It’s time to use technology to detect potential threats and worry less about outdated ideas of privacy, says Ron Iphofen