3 Questions with Researcher-in-Residence Dr. Nick Blomley

July 14, 2020

Meet Dr. Nick Blomley, SFU Professor of Geography and CERi Researcher-in-Residence.

1. What is your area of research?

NB: I have a long standing interest in legal geography, particularly in relation to property. I am interested in the spatiality of legal practices and relationships, and the worldmaking consequences of such legal geographies. Much of my empirical work concerns the often oppressive effects of legal relations on marginalized and oppressed people. Recent and current research projects, often in collaboration with others, include:

a) the analysis of ‘rental precarity’ in Greater Vancouver;

b) the study of court-imposed ‘red zones’ imposed on street-involved people and protestors in Montreal and Vancouver;

c) the dispossession of Japanese-Canadians in the 1940s;

d) a community-based project creating tenant-led research into precarious housing conditions in Vancouver’s most vulnerable population and

e) the governance of poor people’s possessions by private and public regulators in Canadian cities.

I am also trying to unpack the relationship between territory and property, and am interested in the practice of urban commoning. Past research has focused on topics such as gentrification, panhandling, urban gardening, and indigenous-state treaties. Most recently, my research has sought to understand how precariously housed people’s personal possessions are governed by public and private regulators, such as bylaw officers, landlords, storage locker managers, and non-profits managing shelters, and with what effect. This is a topic of profound importance to precariously housed people, but there’s been very little systematic research on the issue.

2. What are the challenges of your research?

NB: Much of my work entails working closely with vulnerable, racialized, and criminalized people. One of the very real challenges I am grappling with now is how to do research that recognizes the very real harms and injustices of legal practices, notably property relations, but does so in a way that does not replicate what Eve Tuck terms ‘damage-centred research’.

3. How does your research impact community?

NB: Hopefully by respecting the community of marginalized people, and honouring their voices and perspectives.

Connect with Nick Blomley: 

Website: https://www.sfu.ca/people/blomley.html
Publications: http://sfu.academia.edu/NickBlomley
Twitter: @NBlomley

Stay Connected with CERi

We'll keep you engaged with our work, programs and events. You can unsubscribe at anytime.