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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Paul Harrison

Lecturer in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41893
Fax: +44 (0)191 33 41801
Room number: 324

Contact Dr Paul Harrison (email at


Paul’s broad research interests lie at the intersection of geography, philosophy and social and cultural theory. His work focuses on the development of specifically geographic engagements with phenomenology, post-structuralism and deconstruction, and, in particular, with the writings of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. His recent research has been concerned with the incommunicable and the ‘non-relational’; with aspects of existence which exceed stable knowledge and representation and with understanding the implications of such 'aspects' for the constitution of knowledge, the nature of sociality and subjectivity and the performance of politics. In the context of contemporary geographic work his work has been associated with the development of 'non-representational theories' and has engaged with issues around performative, affectual and, most recently, relational geographies.

Paul’s current research has three main themes. Firstly, an on-going series of papers which explore the ‘radically passive’ or non-intentional nature of corporeal existence, (for example, vulnerability, susceptibility, suffering, lassitude and sleep), and which consider the existential, ethical and political significance of these aspects of being a body. Secondly, an examination of the act of bearing witness or giving testimony to traumatic or so-called ‘unspeakable’ events and, in particular, the singular nature of such acts, (in terms of, for example, structure, grammar, rhythm, timbre), and the problems which they consequently pose to the development of social scientific knowledge. Thirdly, and most recently, the beginnings of a project on thanato-geographies, or, the geographies of death and the dead, particularly with regard to memory, fidelity and sociality.

Paul joined the Geography Department in 2000. He completed his BA (hons) in Geography (1994) at the Department of Geography, University of Liverpool, and an MSc in Society and Space (1996) and PhD (2000) at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol.

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Affect and emotion
  • Deconstruction
  • Dwelling
  • Embodiment
  • Ethics
  • Phenomenology
  • Post-structuralism
  • Subjectivity
  • Testimony

Selected Publications

Journal papers: academic

Books: edited

  • Anderson, B. & Harrison, P. Taking-Place. Non Representational Theories and Geography. London: Ashgate; 2010.

Books: sections

  • Harrison, P. Testimony and the truth of the other. In: Anderson, B. & Harrison, P. Taking-Place. Non Representational Theories and Geography. London: Ashgate; 2010:161-179.
  • Harrison, P. The broken thread: on being still. In: Bissell, D. & Fuller, G. Stillness in a Mobile World. London: Routledge; 2010.
  • Anderson, B. & Harrison, P. The Promise of Non-Representational Theories. In: Anderson, B. & Harrison, P. Taking-Place. Non Representationl Theories and Geography. London: Ashgate; 2010:1-34.
  • Harrison, P. Poststructuralist Theories. In: Aitken, S. & Valentine, G. Approaches to Human Geography. London: Sage; 2006:122-133.

Journal papers: online

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