Personal profile

Research interests

Katharina’s research is concerned with the political and cultural construction of socially equitable and ecologically sustainable futures. To this end, she examines degrowth and wider sustainability debates from a critical, decolonial social science perspective.

Currently, Katharina is interested in exploring the environmental justice aspects of the Global North’s decarbonisation strategies and climate mitigation and adaptation projects, which are often offered as development projects to the Global South. These raise important questions of land use, indigenous rights, knowledge production, sovereignty, resource access, and benefit capture, amongst others.

Her doctoral thesis presented an inter-epistemic dialogue between degrowth and Buen Vivir, exploring how to live well within social and environmental boundaries. The research was supported by funding from the Royal Economic Society, the British Federation of Women Graduates and the Society for Latin American Studies, amongst others. Her research gives analytical weight to struggles for political and socio-economic organisation that centre socio-ecological wellbeing, but which have been marginalised from (academic) knowledge production.

Her empirical study of “The good life in the Andes: a critical case study of Buen Vivir” offers novel insights into the gender politics, political ontology, political economy and discourse of Buen Vivir/sumak kawsay in Ecuador, an Andean-Amazonian conceptualisation of Good Living. By bringing Buen Vivir into conversation with degrowth, her work aims to democratise inter-epistemic dialogues in order to strengthen alternatives to productivism and harmful growth from the Global North and South, while overcoming their respective weak points. Her research thereby contributes to nascent, yet rapidly growing debates around decolonising degrowth. The PhD’s qualitative study of Buen Vivir in Ecuador furthermore addresses a lack of available empirical data in the literature on alternatives to development in Latin America. Her doctoral research intervenes in limits to growth debates and the cultural politics of degrowth, and has been presented at three international conferences and published in academic and accessible formats. She has also contributed to the organisation of Degrowth Talks, a free webinar series on YouTube which makes degrowth accessible to the general public.

From 2022 to 2023, Katharina was Project Co-Lead for the Fight Against Institutional Racism Network (FAIR) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She co-led a qualitative piece of research that formed the basis for a public charter and internal accountability mechanism for members and partners of the LSHTM Health in Humanitarian Crisis Centre. The Charter and Implementation Guidance set out a set of best practices for decolonising humanitarian research, teaching and other practices at the Centre.

Katharina chairs the Development Geographies Research Group in the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers).

She also co-leads the ALSS Faculty Research Group 'Environment and Society' together with Dr Dietzel.

External positions

Project Co-Lead, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

22 Jul 202231 Mar 2023

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cabot Institute Environmental Change Research
  • Environment and Society
  • Climate Crisis
  • Decoloniality and Race

Keywords

  • degrowth
  • Buen Vivir
  • sustainable development
  • alternatives to development
  • indigenous people and knowledges
  • Latin America
  • Climate change
  • cultural politics
  • energy transition
  • socio-ecological transformation
  • limits to growth

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