A common denominator of my research has been the question of how people create and maintain a ‘liveable life’ under conditions of precarity. Precarity refers to a generalised state of insecurity and is a key concern in the social sciences. This research interest has expressed itself in two interrelated research tracks, one focusing on the ways in which people develop alternatives for market induced insecurities, the other how people develop alternatives for state induced insecurities. I refer to these alternatives as ‘self-organized practices’ or Do-It-Yourself-Development'.
In my research I look at the interlinkage between these self-organized practices and the (re)organization of space. Simply said: what networks of connections and relations do people produce when they create their alternatives? This makes my research narrow in terms of focus - self-organized practices and its expression in spatial (re)organization– but wide in terms of topics.
Currently I am working on two main issues:
The first issue is what I refer to as ‘multi-place living structures’. Here I look at the ways in which people and households create extended networks to deal with insecurity and generate income. This covers forced migrants, who return to the villages they have been evacuated from, while maintaining a presence in the city, to members of peasant households who work in the city, but maintain their ties to the village. I am interested in mapping these networks and understand the what, how and the why of maintaining these multi-place living structures.
The second issue is creative ways in which people collectively try to address injustices and inequalities by developing alternatives to state–market arrangements of social life. These alternatives are referred to with different names such as ‘commons’, ‘autonomy’, ‘confederalism’, ‘rebel governance’. The objective is to understand these alternatives ‘from within’, with an emphasis on the type of ‘geographies’ these alternatives bring into being.
My main area focus is Turkey and Kurdistan, but I have been involved in research in Ecuador, Ghana, India, Japan and the Netherlands too.
A list of my publications is available at https://joostjongerden.academia.edu/