culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Steve Hinchliffe

Centre Co-Director: Platform Development


I studied Geography at Durham and undertook an MPhil and PhD at the University of Bristol. The PhD was concerned with public engagement in environmental issues and involved work in the UK and Denmark with a stint at the European Parliament.

After this I lectured at Cambridge, Keele and then the Open Universities. At Keele I was involved with the path-breaking Centre for Social Theory and Technology (CSTT) with John Law and many others. At the OU I worked within a vibrant Geography department and contributing to and chairing interdisciplinary teams on social science, urban and environmental courses.

I arrived at Exeter in 2009, having just published the monograph “Geographies of Nature” which drew on a number of research projects including making “Habitable Cities”. At Exeter I have run and participated numerous projects including the EU funded CREPE (Cooperative Research on Environmental Problems in Europe), ESRC funded projects on biosecurity followed by the transforming social science project contagion. The monograph “Pathological Lives” has recently been published.

I have been funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on antimicrobial resistance, and currently hold two MRC/ ESRC Tackling AMR projects. One of these is investigating ‘production without medicalisation’ within Bangladesh aquaculture (with colleagues at Worldfish and CEFAS), and the other concerned with the role of diagnostics in livestock health and medicinal efficiency (with Bristol University Veterinary School and Edinburgh University Innogen Centre). I was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2014.

Research Interests

I am a geographer and social scientist, working at the interface of science, technology and society (STS) and environmental geography. My expertise spans social theory and risk, food politics, actor network theory and social ecologies of emerging disease. I use ethnography along with other social science methods (survey, Q method) to investigate the social and economic practices associated with human and animal health.

Recent books include the co-authored monograph Pathological Lives (Wiley Blackwell) and the edited volume Humans, Animals and Biopolitics (Routledge, with Kristin Asdal and Tone Druglitro).


I currently sit on on the following government committees:

  • UK Government’s DEFRA Science Advisory Committee’s Social Science Expert Group
  • DEFRA’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Exotic Diseases
  • Social Science Research Committee of the UK Food Standards Agency