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Sustaining Economic Geography? Business and Management Schools and the UK’s Great Economic Geography Diaspora

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Al JamesORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This Exchanges commentary is concerned with the health of Economic Geography (EG) as a sub-discipline, and economic geography (as a wider community of practice) in one of its historical heartlands, the UK. Against a backdrop of prior achievement, recent years have witnessed a noticeable migration of economic geographers in the UK from Departments of Geography to academic positions in Business and Management Schools and related research centres. For the first time, a new research report by the Economic Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG – We’re In Business! Sustaining Economic Geography? – has empirically evidenced this trend since 2000 (see James et al. 2018 for the full report). In this parallel commentary, we summarise the major findings of that project in order to identify: the scale of this cross-disciplinary labour mobility; its operation at different levels of the academic career hierarchy; and the underlying motivations and variegated outcomes experienced by those making the transition. We then move to consider the wider implications of this ‘EG diaspora’ for sustaining EG teaching, research and knowledge production. While economic geography clearly has a healthy appeal to Business and Management as an interdisciplinary community of practice, we raise multiple concerns around the largely uni-directional nature of this ‘movers’ phenomenon in UK universities. We make a number of suggestions for possible interventions to effect positive change and to prompt a larger conversation that benchmarks this UK experience against other national contexts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): James A, Bradshaw MJ, Coe NM, Faulconbridge J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space

Year: 2018

Volume: 50

Issue: 6

Pages: 1355-1366

Online publication date: 11/04/2018

Acceptance date: 14/02/2018

Date deposited: 15/02/2018

ISSN (print): 0308-518X

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3409

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0308518X18764120


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