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Staff Profile

Professor Jonathan Rigg

Professor in the Department of Geography
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My research interests encompass, in broad terms, the problems, tensions and potentialities of development in the Southeast Asian region. This is based on a long-term commitment to the region dating back to 1980.

Initially my work had an agricultural focus. My PhD research, which included an extended period in Thailand based in the poor Northeastern region, examined the constraints that the environment placed on farmers as they attempted to increase production in this marginal area. The research resulted in a series of publications that sought to reappraise the role of the environment as a determining factor at a time when such views were out of vogue.

The work also, however, highlighted the declining role of agriculture in people’s lives and this led to two follow-up pieces of fieldwork. First, an examination of the role of migration and remittances in rural people’s livelihood strategies; and second, a return visit to the original research site where I tracked down the subjects of the initial PhD fieldwork to appraise trajectories of change over the intervening years. A series of articles examining the deep-seated transformations that are occurring in rural areas of Southeast Asia resulted and an integrating book is due to be published at the end of 2000.

Another thread to my research has been a continuing interest in the environment and, more particularly, in political ecology. This is reflected in an edited book and papers on such topics as dam construction, forest management, and the non-timber forest products. Rather more widely, my work on rural areas of Southeast Asia has also spawned a number of subsidiary interests, all with an emphasis on contemporary development issues: on the role of NGOs in development; on languages of modernisation; and on exclusion, ethnicity, citizenship and nation building.

Research Groups

Department of Geography

Research Projects

Department of Geography

  • Challenges of the agrarian transition in Southeast Asia, The
  • Production in aquatic peri-urban systems in South East Asian
  • Rural-urban dynamics in a globalising world: Changing livelihoods and settlement patterns in frontier regions of Africa and Asia

School of Applied Social Sciences

  • Earthquakes without frontiers: a partnership for increasing resilience to seismic hazard in the continents

Research Interests

  • Agricultural development and rural change with particular reference to South East Asia
  • Alternative and indigenous development
  • Migration and the village economy

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Articles: magazine

  • Rigg, J. & Salamanca, A. (2005). The future of periurban aquatic food production systems in Southeast Asia. Urban Agriculture Magazine 14: 20-23.
  • Rigg, J. (2001). AIDS in Thailand: the development challenge. Geography Review 14(3): 39-41.
  • Rigg, J. (2001). Globalisation: threat or opportunity. Geography Review 14(4): 36-37.

Journal papers: academic

Reports: official

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • International: Business, economy & development: Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma) & Philippines)
  • International: Business, economy & development: Development issues in the Third World