Craig Martin has completed his PhD thesis at Royal Holloway last year. His research focuses on a spatial parameter — “distributive space” — which he identifies as being central “for understanding the formations of late capitalist modernity”.
“Containing (Dis)order: A Cultural Geography of Distributive Space“ is a fascinating work on the logistical spaces, practices and rationales the world economy is built on and a significant, timely contribution to growing scholarship on the spatialities of logistics and capitalist commodity mobilities.
Full abstract of his thesis:
“This thesis focuses on the significance of distributive space for understanding capitalist forms of spatio-temporality. It argues that the distributive phase of commodity mobilities has remained a relatively under-represented aspect of social theory, especially in the context of cultural and social geography. The extant work that has focused on distribution tends to be confined to the areas of economic and transport geography. The thesis aims to address the importance of this space for understanding the formations of late capitalist modernity, particularly its role as a specific, but networked space between production and consumption.
Significantly the work addresses the ‘construction’ of this space by focussing on the substantive case study of containerisation. In doing so it engages with global commodity mobilities in the form of intermodal shipping containers, and their attendant logistical infrastructure. The research critically considers the spatial and temporal apparatuses that have been developed to organise and order the mobilities of the containers; including the design and development of the object itself, alongside a range of logistics and supply chain management strategies.
In theoretical terms an important influence on the research has been Michel Serres’ work on the interlacing of order and disorder. Given this, a simultaneous focus of the research deals with the immanent presence of disorder in these systemic environments; thus reflecting an intellectual engagement with theoretical work in the areas of turbulence, complexity theory, assemblage theory and Serres’ work on the parasite. Substantively this aspect of the research has been determined by considering the place of the accident within networks and systems, alongside the ‘tactical-logistics’ of smuggling practices.”
You can download his thesis here.
See also his new blog: designgeographies.wordpress.com/