Announcement of the Summer Institute in Economic Geography 2016

As a former participant in the Summer Institute in Economic Geography, I cannot recommend this highly enough, especially for postdoctoral researchers and early-career geographers. — Karen

Please circulate widely:

The next meeting of the Summer Institute in Economic Geography will be hosted by the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky, July 10-15, 2016. The meeting will be organized by Susan Roberts, Michael Samers, Andrew Wood, Matthew Zook, and Jamie Peck.

Featured speakers at the Kentucky meeting will be:  Gavin Bridge (Durham), Susan Christopherson (Cornell), Neil Coe (NUS), Beverley Mullings (Queen’s), and Jane Pollard (Newcastle).

Doctoral students (usually post-fieldwork), postdoctoral researchers, and recently appointed faculty/lecturers (normally within 3 years of first appointment) are encouraged to apply.

As with previous meetings, it is expected that the costs of accommodation and other local expenses will be covered for all participants, though it is possible that a modest registration fee will be charged. 

Stipends will be available to cover the costs of travel to the meeting for those participants without other sources of funding.

Further details, including testimonials, are on the summer institute web site: 

Application forms will be posted on the web site in October 2015. The deadline for applications is January 8, 2016.

Paper in Geography Compass free virtual issue

One of my earlier papers in Geography Compass (Economic section)—”New Spatial Logics in Global Cities Research: Networks, Flows and New Political Spaces“— has been selected as one of five most downloaded papers in the journal and relaunched in a new virtual issue. In conjunction with the upcoming Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography, the virtual issue is available for free download until 31 August 2015 so please check them out!


The editors of the Economic section of Geography Compass are pleased to present a new Virtual Issue to coincide with the Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography in Oxford, August 19-23, 2015.
The selected articles, which represent five of the most downloaded EG Compass papers, serve as examples of the original, peer-reviewed surveys of current economic geography research published in Geography Compass by leading scholars from universities worldwide and will be freely available until the end of August, 2015.

The selected articles are:

Places of Work, Scales of Organising: A Review of Labour Geography
David Christoffer Lier
See Also: Teaching and Learning Guide

Brand and Branding Geographies
Andy Pike

Coerced, Forced and Unfree Labour: Geographies of Exploitation in Contemporary Labour Markets
Kendra Strauss

Economic Geographies of the Global South: Missed Opportunities and Promising Intersections with Development Studies
James T. Murphy
See Also: Practice and Economic Geography

New Spatial Logics in Global Cities Research: Networks, Flows and New Political Spaces
Karen P. Y. Lai

Jennifer Clark and Al James
Economic Section, Geography Compass

Talk for Dunman High School’s Distinguished Speakers Series, 15 July 2015

It was my pleasure to meet senior high humanities students of Dunman High School and those from other junior colleges who attended the Distinguished Speakers Series event held on 15th July 2015 (Performing Arts Centre, Dunman High School). My thanks to Mrs Grace Bok who invited me to speak on the topic of “Singapore as International Financial Centre: Economic, Urban and Social Dimensions”.

And it was great to see some of my former students there as teachers bringing THEIR students along!

Getting students to think differently about finance and economic geography

Getting students to think differently about finance and economic geography

With Dunman High School geography teachers and students

With Dunman High School geography teachers and students

Research project: Tracking the movement of economic geographers into business and management

This is a call for support with a project on the movement of economic geographers into business and management.


Project website:

Recent years have witnessed a noticeable migration of economic geographers from Departments of Geography (or Geography programmes more broadly defined) to Business and Management and related research centres.  The aim of this research project is to assess the scale of this trend (since 2000) and its broader implications for teaching, research and capacity building in Economic Geography, and its consequences for Human Geography in the UK.

Phase 1 of the project seeks to compile a UK database of former Economic Geography PhD students and/or Economic Geography Staff who subsequently moved into Business and Management from 2000 onwards. As a useful first step, we would like to invite colleagues to email us at: with any relevant destination data, based on their own networks and departments.  These data will be used to help target an online survey of movers (phase 2), and a series of in-depth interviews (phase 3).  All data will be treated confidentially, and all participants anonymised in all project outputs.

This project is financially supported by the EGRG and RGS-IBG and focuses specifically on UK Economic Geography in the first instance.

Project Contacts: Mike Bradshaw (Warwick), Al James (QMUL), Neil Coe (NUS), James Faulconbridge (Lancaster), Catherine Souch (RGS-IBG)

New publications on offshore finance and financial citizenship

I have a new paper on financial citizenship (co-authored with my former student TAN Choon Hang) that is now in press with Geoforum. The final corrected proof version of the paper is available for free download until 4 August 2015, no subscription or registration required. Please use this link. (The link below brings you to the regular journal page.)

Lai, Karen P.Y. and Tan, Choon Hang (2015) ‘ “Neighbours First, Bankers Second”: Mobilising financial citizenship in Singapore‘, Geoforum, Vol. 64, pp. 65-77.

I am also very pleased that a special issue on offshore finance that I have been working on with Dariusz Wojcik and Gordon Clark is now published in Economic Geography (2015, Vol. 91, Issue 3). This special issue emerged from an interdisciplinary seminar at St. Peter’s College Oxford, September 2–3, 2013, entitled “Deconstructing Offshore Finance: From State of the Art Towards a Research Agenda”. The seminar gathered participants from a variety of disciplines, including geography, business studies, economics, and law, as well as policy makers and activists.

Clark, Gordon L., Lai, Karen P.Y. and Wojcik, Dariusz (2015) ‘Editorial introduction to the special section: Deconstructing offshore finance‘, Economic Geography, Vol. 91, Iss 3, pp. 237-249, DOI: 10.1111/ecge.12098

Haberly, Daniel and Wójcik, Dariusz (2015) ‘Regional Blocks and Imperial Legacies: Mapping the Global Offshore FDI NetworkEconomic Geography, Vol. 91, Iss 3, pp. 251–280, DOI: 10.1111/ecge.12078

Cobham, Alex, Janský, Petr and Meinzer, Markus (2015) ‘The Financial Secrecy Index: Shedding New Light on the Geography of Secrecy‘, Economic Geography, Vol. 91, Iss 3, pp. 281-303, DOI: 10.1111/ecge.12094

Ledyaeva, Svetlana, Karhunen, Päivi, Kosonen, Riitta and Whalley, John (2015) ‘Offshore Foreign Direct Investment, Capital Round-Tripping, and Corruption: Empirical Analysis of Russian Regions’, Economic Geography, Vol. 91, Iss 3, pp. 305–341, DOI: 10.1111/ecge.12093 


Call for papers: Financialisation of everyday life (4th GCEG, Oxford 2015)


Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography (Oxford, 19-22 August 2015)

Session: Financialisation of everyday life

Organisers: Shaun French (University of Nottingham), Karen Lai (National University of Singapore)

Increasing consumption of financial products and the growing acceptance of financial logics (particularly in the context of dwindling state-welfare benefits) are normalising risks and risk-taking behaviour in ever more areas of daily life. Changing practices of borrowing and saving are also seen in the rise of credit card and other debts, and savings being channeled into various forms of insurance and investment products rather than conventional bank deposits. However, increased anxiety and uncertainty over investments and returns may drive individuals to retreat to the safety of savings accounts, or even a rejection of financial market investments in favour of residential property. Changing state policies, new technologies on credit scoring and crowdfunding investment, and the rise of middle class consumers in developing economies are also changing the nature and impacts of financial consumption and financialised behaviour.

Papers that examine the financialisation of everyday life across different dimensions could include (but are not limited to):

  • The formation and evolution of financial subjects
  • Financialisation of the body, of health and of the life cycle
  • Financialisation through property
  • Changing forms of consumer credit and financial consumption
  • Financial ecologies, financial exclusion and variegated financialisation
  • State-subject relations, financial citizenship and securing the national economy
  • The performativity of ‘popular’ finance (e.g. texts, images, financial mangers, investment gurus)

Please send abstracts (of maximum 250 words) or enquiries to Karen Lai ( by 1 April 2015.

For more information about the Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography, please visit:

Call for papers: Global Production Economies (Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography, 2015)


Fourth Global Conference on Economic Geography, Oxford, 19-22 August 2015

Global Production Economies 

Sponsored by the Global Production Networks Research Centre at the National University of Singapore (GPN@NUS

The Global Production Network (GPN) approach is a useful analytical tool for economic geographers seeking to unpack the networked nature of the global economy. The heuristic analytical framework has, however, been criticized by some commentators as ignoring fundamental capitalist imperatives and being too all-encompassing to retain explanatory power. Important dimensions such as finance and environment are also not fully incorporated into the original framework. Methodologically, the emphasis on micro-scale processes and “ties and networks” creates difficulties for validating the GPN framework empirically other than through qualitative case studies. A convergence of quantitative analyses and case study approaches is arguably required to mitigate the potential blind spots of micro-scale analyses and to enhance the GPN framework’s explanatory power.

This theme welcomes submissions on topics including:

– Theoretical foundations of GPN analysis
§  GPNs and financial institutions (including global financial networks)
§  GPNs and environmental economic geographies
§  GPNs, the state, and politics
§  GPNS, labour and the labour process
§  GPNs, consumption, and the market
§  GPNs and uneven development
§  Alternative conceptualizations of GPNs

– Developing GPN methodologies
§  Strengths and weaknesses of case study approaches
§  Methods of mapping and visualizing ties and networks
§  Quantitative analyses: methods, validity and reliability
§  Evolutionary approaches to GPNs

Deadline for abstract submission: 30th April 2015 

Please contact Godfrey Yeung ( for further details and submission of abstract.

GPN Centre website

The Global Production Networks Centre (GPN@NUS) website is now live.

Click on the above link to find out more about our work on global production networks and development in Asia and the research team. We are currently working hard to develop the Centre’s core research programme. There will be a launch event on 26 January 2015 at the University Hall Auditorium, National University of Singapore. This will be followed by a team workshop with our international advisory committee members on 27 January 2015.

GE1101E/GEK1001 updated

The module information (topics, schedule, assignments etc.) for GE1101E/GEK1001 Geographical Journeys: Exploring World Environments, Semester 2, AY2014/2015 has been updated here. As with previous years, the module will be taught by myself and Professor Alan Ziegler. More detailed information and updates will be posted on IVLE. Please check for any changes to class schedule closer to the CORS bidding period. You can also email me or Prof Ziegler for any specific queries about the module.

GE3201 The Service Economy module updated

The module information (topics, schedule, assignments etc.) for GE3201 The Service Economy, Semester 2, AY2014/2015 has been updated here. For next semester, the module will be taught by myself and Professor Neil Coe. More detailed information and updates will be posted on IVLE. Please check for any changes to class schedule closer to the CORS bidding period. You can also email me or Prof Coe for any specific queries about the module.