Specialist Subjects: Human Geography - Urban Studies - Social Theory - Networks: Critical Urbanism; World Cities; Global Cities; Urban Dominance; Urban Theory; Poststructuralism; Jean Baudrillard; Continental Philosophy; Social Network Analysis; The 'New' Science of Networks
Department of Geography, College of Science, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP.
Campus location: Room 215 of the Wallace building
Search for a potential PhD supervisor using our Research Directory
Associate Professor of Human Geography, and Co-Director of Swansea University's Centre for Urban Theory
2007–pres. Associate Professor (Human Geography), College of Science, Swansea University
2006–2007 Lecturer (Human Geography), SOTEAS, Swansea University
1998–2006 Lecturer (Human Geography), Department of Geography, University of Leicester
1997–1998 Research Associate (Urban Geography), Loughborough University
1992–1995 PhD Human Geography, University of Bristol
1989–1992 BA (Hons) Geography, first class, University of Hull
Richard G. Smith is the editor of The Baudrillard Dictionary (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), and co-editor of Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories (Routledge, 2009), and ‘Baudrillard Redux’ (Special Issue of Cultural Politics, 2011). His writings on globalization and cities, published in books and such journals as Cities, Urban Geography, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Environment and Planning A, and Progress in Human Geography, have pioneered new network and assemblage approaches in urban studies.
Working in our Social Theory and Urban Space research group, his current research interests include:
Poststructualist geography, post-Marxist geography and actor-network geography
Urban geography, world cities, global cities, urban networks, business services, quantitative methods in urban studies
Urban assemblages, cities as globalisation, actor-network theory, qualitative methods in urban studies
The spatial thought of Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze and J-F Lyotard
The urban theory of Manuel DeLanda and Paul Virilio
Richard is currently completing several books, including a Reader that explains and contextualises Jean Baudrillard's contemporary writings (to be published by Sage) and, a single-authored research monograph book on Poststructuralist Cities which outlines a new immanent theoretical approach for urban studies.
Recent discussions of my research are:
Jacobs JM (2012) 'Urban geographies I: Still thinking cities relationally', Progress in Human Geography 36 (3), 412–422
Karaman O (2012) 'An Immanentist Approach to the Urban', Antipode 44 (4), 1287–1306
Impact / Consultancy
Richard is rekindling his interest in quantitative methods and network data analysis with regard to the emerging 'new' science of networks in order to further explore one of globalization's key issues: Urban Dominance. He is a co-applicant on an awarded EPSRC grant to establish a new multidisciplinary research centre on networks at Swansea University.
Richard is currently developing a new statistical approach – through UCINET analysis and modelling – to produce the evidential basis for a new global city index and model. The purpose of the index and model is to assist city and business leaders with the task of building cities that are more connected to the global economy, and to found the development of new structuralist approaches to urban studies that are centred on the mathematics of cities.
Funded Research Presentations (2013)
Smith RG ‘The Becoming Metropolis: Undoing Centrality through Assemblage Theory’, to be presented at IV EUGEO Congress (Rome, September 5-7)
Abstract: The ‘post-topographical turn’ in urban studies/human geography was initiated by Amin & Thrift (2002) and Smith (2003a, 2003b). Drawing on the work of writers such as Deleuze, DeLanda, Latour and Serres – poststructuralism, assemblage theory, actor-network theory, and topology – an intransitive approach was advanced to recast the conceptual apparatus of urban studies/human geography. This paper continues my recasting of urban studies’ key concepts – scale, space, boundaries, place, network, territory (e.g. see Smith, 2003a, 2003b, 2006, 2007, 2010; 2013; Smith and Doel, 2011) – by undoing the founding concept of urban studies: centrality. This ‘undoing’ is achieved through: first, a critique of Saey (2007) and recent debates over assemblage theory in urban studies (in City (2011), Area (2011), Dialogues in Human Geography (2012)) which – marked by errors and confusions on all sides – are most notable for their collective failure to articulate the poststructuralist background – i.e. Deleuze and Baudrillard – to conceptualizing cities as assemblages rather than centralities; and second, an assemblage critique of the ontological and epistemological assumptions regarding centrality in both structuralist and neo-Marxist (e.g. Neal, 2012; Taylor, 2004; Sassen, 1991) approaches to understanding the role of major cities in globalization.
Smith RG and Bramati MC ‘Global Corporate Service Firm Urban Networks: A SNA approach’, to be presented at ARS’13 International Workshop on 'Networks in space and time: Models, Data collection and Applications' (Rome, June 20-22)
Smith RG and Bramati MC 'World City Network: A Social Network Analysis', EPSRC funded networks seminar series (Swansea University)
Smith RG 'Beyond the global city concept and the myth of "command and control"', open public lecture to Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá Campus)
Smith RG 'World Cities Now: World Cities, Global Cities, Urban Networks', Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá Campus)
Smith RG 'Critical Urbanism Now: World Cities, Global Cities, Ordinary Cities?, Urban Assemblages', Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Medellín Campus)
Christopher Harding 'Swansea City FC in the Premier League: A Social Network Analysis', MRes in Urban Studies (Mini-KESS studentship)
Dr Oliver Mould, ESRC 1+3 funded (Lead PhD supervisor) "Sydney: brought to you by world city cultural industry actor-networks". Now FT Lecturer in Human Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Simon Parris, AHRB funded (MSc supervisor) "London's cultural industries" (Awarded: Distinction). Now Research Associate, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), University of Sheffield
2009 “Global Cities Now? Current Perspectives in ‘Global Urban Studies’”, 5th–6th November, UGRG Annual Conference (Royal Geographical Society). A two-day conference and Open Forum Discussion, c. 50 delegates and four keynote addresses, held at Swansea University.
2008 “Urban MultipliCITIES”, 6th–7th November, UGRG Annual Conference (Royal Geographical Society). A two-day conference and Open Forum Discussion, c. 50 delegates and four keynote addresses, held at Queen Mary, University of London.
2007 “Approaching Urban Geographies”, 1st–2nd November, UGRG Annual Conference (Royal Geographical Society). A two-day conference and Open Forum Discussion, c. 50 delegates and four keynote addresses, held in Sheffield.
2006 “Engaging Baudrillard: An International Multi-Disciplinary Conference”, 4th to 6th September at Swansea University (UK) [The conference attracted 110 delegates covering 20 academic disciplines, 50% of delegates were from overseas. Turnover of conference = >£20,000].
Richard G. Smith's research is ISI highly cited, often reprinted, often discussed in print, and has significantly impacted urban research and policy communities. He has been invited to present his research to a number of national and international events (including those sponsored by the ESF and the ESRC). He has travelled to more than 60 countries, and has been invited to present his research to numerous overseas university departments, centres and institutes. His urban research has been reported on extensively in the world's popular and business press, including: Wallpaper, The Dallas Morning News, The Sydney Morning Herald, Johannesburg News Agency, Frankfurter Rundschau, The Bulletin, Edge Singapore, Philadelphia Daily News, Houston Chronicle, Metromode, Svenska Dagbladet, Journal of Risk Finance, Manila Bulletin, National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Business Times Singapore, The Bulletin (Australia), Business Traveller, San Antonio Express-News, and the Chicago Sun-Times. He has been awarded a number of research grants in urban studies, and was a visiting scholar at the National University of Singapore in 2000 (funded by the British Academy Committee for South-East Asian Studies).
Beaverstock JV, Smith RG & Taylor PJ (1999) "A roster of world cities", Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, 16 (6), 445–458. doi:10.1016/s0264-2751(99)00042-6 [Designated as one of the “Top 25 Hottest Articles” published in Cities] [ISI Web of Science Highly Cited >233 citations] [PDF]
Beaverstock JV, Smith RG & Taylor PJ (2000) "World city network: a new metageography?", millennial issue of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 90, March, 123–134. doi: 10.1111/0004-5608.00188 [ISI Web of Science Highly Cited >140 citations] [PDF]
Smith RG (2003) “World city actor-networks”, Progress in Human Geography, 27 (1), 25–44. doi: 10.1191/0309132503ph411oa [No.1 ranked Geography Journal in 2003, IF = 3.653] [Designated as one of the “The 50 Most Frequently-Cited Articles” published in PIHG] [ISI Web of Science Highly Cited >55 citations] [PDF]
Smith RG (2003) “World city topologies”, Progress in Human Geography, 27 (5), 561–582. doi: 10.1191/0309132503ph447oa [No.1 ranked Geography Journal in 2003, IF = 3.653] [ISI Web of Science Highly Cited >35 citations] [PDF]
Smith RG (2013) "The ordinary city trap", Environment and Planning A, in press. [Presented at RGS-IBG Annual Conference (Edinburgh, 2012)]
Smith RG (2013) "Beyond the global-city concept and the myth of 'command and control'", International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, in press. DOI:10.1111/1468-2427.12024
[Invited keynote address to the City of Kazan (Russia), September, 2011. Made in Kazan website. Also presented at RGS-IBG Annual Conference (Edinburgh, 2012) and International Geographical Congress (Cologne, 2012). Invited open public lecture to Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá Campus) in May 2013]
Smith RG & Doel MA (2011) "Questioning the Theoretical Basis of Current Global-City Research: Structures, Networks and Actor-Networks", International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35 (1), 24-39. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2427.2010.00940.x [PDF] [Keynote address to Technical University of Berlin]
Smith RG (2010) "Urban studies without ‘scale’: localizing the global through Singapore", in Urban Assemblages: How Actor-Network Theory Changes Urban Studies edited by Ignacio Farias and Thomas Bender (Routledge), pp. 73–90
Smith RG (2013) "Baudrillard, Jean", in McGee RJ & Warms RL eds. Encyclopedia of Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Sage, London), in press.
Smith RG (2013) "Dubai in extremis", Theory, Culture & Society (Special on-line issue on Mega-cities), in press.
Smith RG (2013) "Satellites: cities from space", Theory, Culture & Society (Special on-line issue on Mega-cities), in press.
Smith RG (2013) "City", in Armitage J ed. The Virilio Dictionary, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, in press.
Smith RG (2013) "City of Panic", in Armitage J ed. The Virilio Dictionary, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, in press.
Smith RG (2013) "Escape Velocity", in Armitage J ed. The Virilio Dictionary, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, in press.
Smith RG (2013) "Third Interval", in Armitage J ed. The Virilio Dictionary, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, in press.
BA (Hons), PhD (Bristol), FRGS.
College of Science (Geography).
TEL: +44 (0) 1792 602558 (Direct)
FAX: +44 (0) 1792 295955
GEG104 People, Place & Nation (Urban Social & Cultural Geographies)
GEG108H Geographical Methods 2: Human Geography Field Project (Qualitative & Quantitative Methods)
GEG252N New York Fieldweek (Global city; Gentrification; Sexuality; Cultural clusters)
GEG332 Dissertation Support: Geography
GEG352 Global Cities (inc. Quantitative Network Analysis)
GEGM15 Qualitative Methods (Elite Interviewing)
GEGM13 Urban Networks and the Knowledge Economy
Administrative duties within the College: (1) Course Director for MRes in Urban Studies, MSc by Research in Urban Studies, and MPhil in Urban Studies; (2) Examinations Officer (Geography); (3) REF Impact Co-ordinator Lead (Geography); (4) Co-Director of Centre for Urban Theory; and (5) Chair, Human Geography Strategy Meetings.
Interested in doing an MRes, MA, MSc, MPhil, or PhD? Interest is welcome from students in any of his research areas, and particularly those with strong interests in urban studies and/or social theory.
Two self-funded PhD Projects currently available under Dr Smith's supervision are (further details are available on FindAPhD.com):
MSc by Research (normally 1 year full time) [MSc by Research in Urban Studies]
MPhil (normally 2 years full time)
PhD (normally 3 years full time)