Julien-François Gerber is Assistant Professor of Environment and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague.
My disciplinary area of work is in political ecology, economic anthropology, and socio-ecological economics. In broad terms, I am interested in the relationships between socioeconomic modes of (re)production, ecological (un)sustainability, and the (non-)satisfaction of human needs – including inner needs.
I tackle this questioning through the exploration of (i) the fundamental politico-economic institutions of ownership and credit/debt, (ii) the social metabolism, and (iii) the conditions for 'wellbeing', alienation or resistance.
So far my empirical focus has been on the expansion of capitalism in the rural sphere, particularly through the lenses of the property-credit nexus, plantation studies, and environmental justice movements. My geographic areas of research include India, Bhutan, the Himalayan region, but also Indonesia, Cameroon, Ecuador.
From a normative perspective, I am interested in bridging science and activism for building more viable systems. Here, my focus has been on popular environmentalism, post-growth theory and practice, and eco-socialism.
I am also interested in the application of psychoanalysis to the social sciences, and especially to the understanding of capitalist modernity. My long-standing theoretical research is on the integration of knowledge in economic anthropology and I am currently working on a book on this topic.
Prior to joining the ISS, I was at the Royal University of Bhutan in Kanglung (2015-16), at TERI University and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi (2012-14), and at Harvard University's Department of Economics (2010-12). I have a MSc in ecology from ETH Zurich, a M.A.S. in development studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a PhD in ecological economics and political ecology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
I was recently awarded the ISRF Early Career Fellowship for the project titled "When economic expansion transgresses all limits: Indebtedness and extractivism as two major causes of social unrest in the coming decade" (January–September 2018).
I am currently co-supervising three PhD students: Arpita Bisht, Amod Shah and Mohsen Yazdanpanah. I am keen to hear from potential research students interested in working in these areas, especially on ethnographies of credit and indebtedness, environmental movements, theories of needs and wellbeing, and degrowth/post-growth.