Redclift, Michael R.
REDCLIFT, Michael R.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of Geography, King's College London, Stand, London WC2R 2LS, England.
CAREER: Wye College, London, London, England, member of staff, 1973–97, professor of environmental sociology, 1987–97, director of ESRC Global Environmental Change Program, 1990–95; King's College London, professor of international environmental policy, 1999–.
(As M.R. Redclift) Agrarian Reform and Peasant Organization on the Ecuadorian Coast, Athlone Press (London, England), 1978.
(With David Goodman) From Peasant to Proletarian: Capitalist Development and Agrarian Transitions, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.
Development and the Environmental Crisis: Red or Green Alternatives?, Methuen (New York, NY), 1984.
Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions, Routledge (New York, NY), 1987.
(With David Goodman) The International Farm Crisis, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.
(Editor, with David Goodman) Environment and Development in Latin America: The Politics of Sustainability, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(With David Goodman) Refashioning Nature: Food, Ecology, and Culture, Routledge (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor, with Ted Benton) Social Theory and the Global Environment, Routledge (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor, with Colin Sage) Strategies for Sustainable Development: Local Agendas for the Southern Hemisphere, J. Wiley & Sons (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor, with Graham Woodgate) The Sociology of the Environment, E. Elgar Publishers (Brookfield, VT), 1995.
(Editor, with Graham Woodgate) The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, E. Elgar Publishers (Northampton, MA), 1997.
(Editor, with Henk De Haan and Babis Kasimis) Sustainable Rural Development, Ashgate (Brookfield, VT), 1997.
(Editor, with Joseph N. Lekakis and George P. Zanias) Agriculture and World Trade Liberalisation: Socio-Environmental Perspectives on the Common Agricultural Policy, CABI Publishers (New York, NY), 1999.
(Editor) Sustainability: Life Chances and Livelihoods, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.
(With others) Social Environmental Research in the European Union: Research Networks and New Agendas, E. Elgar Publishers (Northampton, MA), 2000.
The Frontier Environment and Social Order: The Letters of Francis Codd from Upper Canada, E. Elgar Publishers (Northampton, MA), 2000.
(Editor, with Edward A. Page) Human Security and the Environment: International Comparisons, E. Elgar Publishers (Northampton, MA), 2002.
Chewing Gum: The Fortunes of Taste, Routledge (New York, NY), 2004.
Sustainability: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.
Also contributor of articles to anthologies and journals, including the Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics and Geography.
SIDELIGHTS: Michael R. Redclift is a professor of international environmental policy at King's College London and the author or editor of several books dealing with the political economy of the environment. Major areas of Redclift's research include globalization and the frontier, sustainable development, global environmental change and human security, and the international food system. He has published both book-length works and articles in all these specialties.
Working with David Goodman, Redclift edited the 1991 volume, Environment and Development in Latin America: The Politics of Sustainability. The book's nine chapters take a look at Latin-American policy issues. Reviewing the book in the Journal of Development Studies, Anthony J. Bebbington noted that it "attempts a socio-political casting of Latin America's environmental problems." For Bebbington, however, the major "shortcoming" of the study is "coherence"; the critic went on to note that "one would have liked to see a more tightly knit pattern to this nine-piece suit."
Redclift teamed up with Ted Benton to edit 1994's Social Theory and the Global Environment, "an attempt," as Daniel Weiner noted in Growth and Change, "to situate social theory at the center of emerging debates about the global environment." Weiner called the book "an extremely useful and timely project," but also commented that, "unfortunately, the book is very disappointing and rather frustrating to read." One strength of the book, according to Weiner, is that "global environmental issues are conceptualized as social while 'natural science' is contextualized politically."
Redclift served as solo editor of Sustainability: Life Chances and Livelihoods, a "most useful contribution to debates about sustainable development," according to N. Smith, writing in the Geographical Journal. For Smith, Redclift's book "is so poignant and free of tiresome jargon and ideological clutter, that it is a delightful and refreshing read." Smith went on to note the major strength of the work—"analytical rigor"—and praised the fact that the text "underscores the historical dimensions to sustainability issues."
Working in tandem with other authors, Redclift helped produce the 2000 work Social Environmental Research in the European Union: Research Networks and New Agendas. According to A.J. Carlson, reviewing the work in International Social Science Review, "The slender volume is a useful handbook written by professors for other professors and researchers doing work in the emerging field of social environmental research within the European Union." Much of the work serves as an attempt to "link the social sciences with natural scientists and industrialists intent on creating a 'cleaner' versus a 'clean' environment," as Carlson further noted.
Benefitting from his research into globalization and the frontier is Redclift's 2004 title, Chewing Gum: The Fortunes of Taste. Here the author details the cultural history of chewing gum and its virtual invention by William Wrigley, from the days when it was a natural product, chicle, harvested by Mayans, through the post-War world when synthetic gum largely replaced chicle and put the Mayan harvester out of work, to the modern day when the craze for more-natural products has promoted chicle's return. Chewing Gum is thus both a history of gum and of the Indians of southern Mexico who harvest chicle; a look at gum as both a "political force" and a "cultural force," as Booklist reviewer Gilbert Taylor noted. A reviewer for Bookwatch felt that the book had "plenty of insights into advertising and marketing," while Bellinda Wise, writing in Library Journal, called Chewing Gum an "in-depth look at a complex commodity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of Chewing Gum: The Fortunes of Taste, p. 1683.
Bookwatch, October, 2004, review of Chewing Gum.
Geographical Journey, September, 2000, N. Smith, review of Sustainability: Life Chances and Livelihoods, p. 271.
Growth and Change, summer, 1995, Daniel Weiner, review of Social Theory and the Global Environment, p. 473.
International Social Science Review, summer-spring, 2003, A. J. Carlson, review of Social Environmental Research in the European Union: Research Networks and New Agendas, p. 62.
Journal of Development Studies, January, 1992, Anthony J. Bebbington, review of Environment and Development in Latin America: The Politics of Sustainability, p. 349.
Library Journal, June 15, 2004, Bellinda Wise, review of Chewing Gum, p. 79.
King's College London Department of Geography Web site, http://www.kcl.ac.uk/geography/ (February 2, 2005), "Michael Redclift."
Routledge Web site, http://www.routledge.com/ (February 26, 2005), "Michael Redclift."