Robin Biddulph


Avdelningen för kulturgeografi
Viktoriagatan 13
41125 Göteborg
Box 625
40530 Göteborg

Om Robin Biddulph

Most of my research has been in Cambodia, but more recent projects have involved work on tenure rights in both Tanzania and Sweden.

In January 2019 I began a new Project looking at the effects of tenure form on resident activism in Tynnered, Gothenburg. This is a Three-year 3.46 million kronor project financed by FORMAS which I shall implement in collaboration with my colleage Mattias Sandberg. Updates and liaison will be via a Facebook group entitled "Bostadsforskning i Tynnered"

My other major current project is entitled (2) Social Enterprise in Scandinavia and Southeast Asia. Here I am collaborating with colleagues at the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, GU who are conducting research in Gothenburg, whilst I am focusing on social enterprise in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This builds on my previous project (2012-2015) on tourism and poverty and examined the links between the tourism boom at Angkor Wat and the livelihoods of people in surrounding countryside in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

My other recent project (2016-2018) research project was led by my colleague at the Human Geography Unit, GU, Margareta Espling and involved me studying the effects of community-oriented land reforms in rural Tanzania as part of a collaboration that compared Tanzania and Mozambique.

Previous research interests have revolved around individual and communal property rights and the attempts of the development industry to intervene and influence poor people's rights. These constitued my PhD research which looked at land titling and community forestry in rural Cambodia. That led to what I term the 'evasion hypothesis' which argues that unwelcome development interventions tend not to be rejected but get diverted to places where the problem they claim to address does not exist. This diversion is then concealed by reporting which stresses quantitative progress (number of land-titles, number of community forests etc) and omits geographical aspects (such that there had been no tenure insecurity where the titles were issued, or that the forest in the community forest had already been cut down).

A related interest which developed from the community forestry is in avoided deforestation and climate change. This has brought me into the Focali (www.focali.se) research network. I have found that REDD (Reduced Emissions from avoided Deforestation and Degradation) also tends to be evasive. More significantly, I find that the resources devoted to REDD are trivial in comparison to the problem it claims to address. There is as yet insufficient political will for REDD and therefore it seems unjustified for research into its feasibility to continue.

Previous research interests have included decentralisation, local governance and rural livelihoods.

My teaching includes coordinating a 3rd year course on Global Development & Human Rights for aspiring secondary school teachers as well as individual lectures courses at the Human Geography unit at GU.

I also coordinate the faculty's Visiting Professor Programme. This has mobilised funding from local industry to bring 34 visiting professors tothe School. They usually work on 3-year contracts for 10% to 20% of their time and have contributed hugely to the internationalisation of the School's teaching and research.

Before coming to Sweden in 2001 I lived in Cambodia from 1991 to 2001 and in UK from 1965 to 1991. I have also spent time in Southern Sudan (doing relief work for Irish NGO Concern Worldwide) and in Australia (for my Masters degree in 1996).

On other web sites

Research areas

  • Development; Livelihoods; Property rights; Tourism, Cambodia; Social Enterprise

Teaching areas

  • Concepts in human geography; population geography; urban geography; development geography; land reform; rural livelihoods; tourism; project management; social enterprise; independent research; academic writing and publishing