CRESIDA doctoral dissertation on the convergence between geology and society

Jonathan Karkut, a CRESIDA student, has successfully completed his PhD Viva based on his work on the anthropology of public policy within the context of the UNESCO global geoparks network.

Having qualified first as a geologist (including experience in the fields of exploration, mining and in the British Geological Survey), then gaining post-graduate and professional training in anthropology and tourism, Jonathan brings a unique knowledge of both the earth and social sciences, particularly as connected to the realm of sustainable development.

His thesis, titled: ‘Policy tectonics: Theory and enactment around the model for UNESCO global geoparks’ presents an ethnographic examination of a discrete convergence between geology and society. The research follows the flow of geoparks policy as guided and shaped by a defining charter and statutes, which, after nearly two decades of lobbying and promotion, have now become an official programme within the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO). By utilising an anthropological examination of geoparks policy, rather than blandly accepting an essentialised view that aspires to be passed from site to site around the globe as the programme expands, his research provides a critical assessment of previously taken-for-granted terms and mobilizing metaphors.

Through fieldwork at three case study sites (see above): English Riviera Geopark (UK), Katla Geopark (Iceland), and Marble Arch Caves Geopark (UK and Ireland), and at geopark conferences and amongst the geographically dispersed online community of ‘geoparkians’, Jonathan explores the underpinning philosophy of geology that has impacted upon the forms and direction in which the geoparks are being developed. He also evaluates the function and application of a form of audit culture that seeks to ensure accountability and progression as the model is expanded into new territories, and considers how a more singular pure vision of geoparks is being balanced with multiple and often complex enactments. Ultimately, his research opens a window looking out on one perspective of anthropology in the Anthropocene.

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