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Queen's University

Marcus Taylor


Associate Professor and Graduate Chair 
PhD (Sociology) Warwick, UK

Curriculum Vitae

phone: 613-533-6000, ext 77655 
fax: 613-533-2986

Global Development Studies
Mac-Corry Hall A404
Winter 2014 Office Hours:             Tuesdays:  10:00 AM until 11:30 AM.  Wednesdays:  12:00 PM until 1:00 PM or by appointment

Research Interests:

Political Economy : Political Ecology : Labour and Livelihoods : Climate Change Adaptation

My research and teaching are focused on the political economy and political ecology of development, with an emphasis on labour and livelihoods in agrarian contexts ranging from Latin America to South Asia. In my published work I have explored questions of climate change adaptation; labour and global commodity chains; labour markets, social policy and anti-poverty policies such as microfinance.

At present my work critically assesses the idea of climate change adaptation viewed through the lens of political ecology. My forthcoming book The Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation will be published by Routledge in Fall 2014. It provides the first systematic critique of the concept of climate change adaptation that is now deeply embedded in the field of international development. Drawing on a closely reworked political ecology framework, the book argues that climatic change is not something ‘out there’ that we adapt to, but is an internal yet strikingly uneven part of the way in which lived environments are actively produced through tethered social and biophysical forces. These arguments are explored through three case studies in agrarian Asia that demonstrate how climatic change emerges as a core element in the ongoing transformation of contested rural landscapes. In so doing, the book recalibrates the very frameworks through which we envisage climatic change in the context of contemporary debates over development, livelihoods and poverty.

Advance praise for The Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation :

"For those suspicious of global calls for "adapting " to climate change, Marcus Taylor provides ammunition and logic: an avalanche of detailed, intuitive, radical and compelling arguments and cases from around the world. For advocates of adaptation, he offers a grim and sobering reminder of the politically-loaded and careless violence of the international development machine."
- Paul Robbins, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Taylor’s brilliant and pathbreaking new book explores the genealogy and construction of adaptation as a complex new field of knowledge and practice. He powerfully demonstrates how power, political economy and the production of vulnerability must be the foundations upon which new and radically transformative ideas and policies to combat climate change are constructed. A brave and important book."
- Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley.

"Embedding his narrative in powerful empirical studies of extreme-weather events in India, Pakistan, and the Mongolian steppes, Taylor produces the most incisive and sustained interrogation to date of the society/climate binary inherent in much that is written on climate-change adaptation."
- Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago.


I strongly encourage graduate study applications focused on climate change impacts and adaptation policies, particularly from those with an interest in conducting fieldwork as part of their studies. I also welcome those working on the political economy/ecology of contemporary agrarian transformations more generally including food sovereignty; agrarian class relations; agroecology; rural livelihoods.

Additionally, I continue to supervise in the areas of the political economy of development; labour in the global economy; Marxism and Subaltern Studies; livelihoods and anti-poverty poverty policies.

Other Appointments:

Cross Appointed to the Department of Sociology and the School of Environmental Studies

Courses Taught 2013-14: 

DEVS 340: Theories of Development

DEVS 311: Labour and Global Development

DEVS 496: Climate Change and Development


Single-Authored Books

Taylor, Marcus. The Political Ecology of Climate Change Adaptation: Livelihoods, Agrarian Change and the Conflicts of Development. London: Routledge Press, 2014.

Taylor, Marcus. From Pinochet to the ‘Third Way’: Neoliberalism and Social Transformation in Chile.  London: Pluto Press, 2006.

Edited Books

Taylor, Marcus (ed). Renewing International Labour Studies. London: Routledge Press, 2010.

Taylor, Marcus (ed). Global Economy Contested: Power and Conflict Across the International Division of Labour. London: Routledge Press, 2008.

Selected Articles (see CV for full list)

Taylor, Marcus. “Climate Change, Relational Vulnerability and Human Security: Rethinking Sustainable Adaptation in Agrarian Environments”, Climate and Development, 5(4), 2013.

Taylor, Marcus. “Liquid Debts: Credit, Groundwater and the Social Ecology of Agrarian Distress in Andhra Pradesh, India”, Third World Quarterly, 34:4, 2013.

    Taylor, Marcus. “The Antinomies of ‘Financial Inclusion’: Debt, Distress and the Workings of Indian Microfinance”, Journal of Agrarian Change 12(4), 2012.

    Taylor, Marcus. “Freedom From Poverty is Not For Free’: Rural Development and the Microfinance Crisis in Andhra Pradesh, India”,Journal of Agrarian Change 11(4), 2011.

    Taylor, Marcus. “Race You to the Bottom … and Back Again? The Uneven Development of Labour Codes of Conduct”, New Political Economy, 16(4), 2011.

    Taylor, Marcus. “Conscripts of Competitiveness: Culture, Capital and Institutions in Contemporary Development”, Third World Quarterly, 31(4), pp. 561-579, 2010.

    Taylor, Marcus. “Who Works for Globalization? The Challenges and Possibilities for International Labour Studies”, Third World Quarterly, 30(3), pp. 435-452, 2009.

    Taylor, Marcus. “Displacing Insecurity Across a Divided World: Global Security, International Development and the Endless Accumulation of Capital”, Third World Quarterly, 30(1), pp. 151-166, 2009.

    Taylor, Marcus. “The Contradictions of Neoliberalism in Latin America: From Structural Adjustment to ‘Empowering the Poor”, pp. 21-36 in Laura MacDonald and Arne Ruckert (eds), Post-Neoliberalism in the Americas: Beyond the Washington Consensus? London: Palgrave, 2009.

    Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000