Mr Ed Atkins

Mr Ed Atkins

Mr Ed Atkins
Senior Teaching Associate

University Road, Clifton, Bristol
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Telephone Number (0117) 9245973

School of Geographical Sciences

Personal profile

I am currently a Senior Teaching Associate at the School of Geographical Sciences, both leading and supporting on a number of units offered at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


I first arrived at the University of Bristol in Autumn 2013, to complete an ESRC-funded PhD in Environment, Energy & Resilience. In addition, I hold a BA (Hons) in History and an MA in International Relations and International Law from the University of Kent. As part of an ESRC 1+3 scholarship, I have also completed a supplementary MRes at the University of Bristol - allowing me to start my PhD studies in September 2014.


My research is based on the contested character of environmental policy, politics and governance. This currently moves across three interrelated themes: the contentious politics of hydropower, the role of these hydroelectric projects in contemporary sustainable development agendas, and the potential role of alternatives to development in environmental policy.

This research draws from the field of political ecology and work on the post-political to explore how current notions of sustainability and the paradigm of sustainable development can be re-politicised - and filled with a more inclusive meaning.

In exploring this topic, I have grown particularly interested into the concept of 'contested sustainabilities', in which the ambiguity of contemporary notions of sustainability have given rise to divergent - and, at times, conflicting pathways to sustainability.

Having conducted an interdisciplinary PhD, I am particularly interested in engaging in work that sits across traditional academic disciplines - drawing on my educational background in History, International Relations and International Law, and now Human and Political Geography.


Based at the School of Geographical Sciences, I currently teach the following units:

Environmental Policy and Politics (GEOGM1409)

World in Crisis? (GEOG16001)

Sustainable Development (UNIV10001)

I have previously taught on the following undergraduate units:

School of Geographical Sciences

2017/18 - State, Economy and Society in Geographical Perspective: Part 2 - Development, Democracy and (In)Equality (GEOG20005)

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

2016/17 -  Comparative Government and Politics (POLI11103)
2015/16 - International Political Economy (SPAI10005)


Fields of interest

Hydropolitics, Environmental Politics, Environmental Conflict, Water Scarcity, International Development

Latest publications

  1. Atkins, E, 2018, ‘Dams, political framing and sustainability as an empty signifier: the case of Belo Monte’. Area, vol 50., pp. 232-239
  2. Atkins, E, 2018, ‘Building a dam, constructing a nation: The 'drowning' of Capel Celyn’. Journal of Historical Sociology.
  3. Atkins, E, 2017, ‘Dammed and Diversionary: The multi-dimensional framing of Brazil’s Belo Monte dam’. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, vol 38., pp. 276-292
  4. Atkins, E, 2017, ‘Saltwater Geopolitics in North America’. in: Gustavo Sosa-Nunez (eds) Widening the Scope of Environmental Policies in North America: Towards Blue Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke
  5. Sosa-Nunez, G & Atkins, E, 2016, ‘Environment, Climate Change & International Relations’. E-International Relations
  6. Atkins, E, 2016, ‘Environmental Conflict: A Misnomer?’. in: G Sosa-Nunez, E Atkins (eds) Environment, Climate Change & International Relations. E-International Relations
  7. Atkins, EK, 2014, ‘Beyond State-Fetishism: the Case for Neoliberalism as a Hydro-Hegemon’. School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies; University of Bristol

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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