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Terry Cannon - Research Fellow

Rural Futures; Cities; Power and Popular Politics
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Terry Cannon has been teaching and researching in development studies for many years, and was Reader in Development Studies at the University of Greenwich until 2009. While there, he also worked for the Natural Resources Institute (NRI). Before that, he taught rural development at the Institute for Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague. His background discipline is geography, with additional qualifications in economics and politics.

At IDS he is teaching in the MSc Climate Change, Development and Policy. He also teaches at King's College London (on both development studies and on climate change and disaster vulnerability) and in the MSc Disaster Management at University of Copenhagen. He is part time Director of Studies at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, which is hosted at Independent University, Bangladesh.

His main research focus is on rural livelihoods, disaster vulnerability and climate change adaptation, especially at community level. He is one of the co-authors of "At Risk: natural hazards, people's vulnerability and disasters", (the first 3 chapters are downloadable free in pdf format), which has become one of the most widely cited and used books in the field, and translated into Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. He is also engaged in capacity building on these issues for NGOs and UNDP in several countries, most recently in Vietnam.

Until the late 1990s Terry was also involved in research on regional development, spatial inequality and poverty in China, especially in relation to the impacts of the economic reforms.

This project examines the role of peri-urban spaces in urban expansion and how resilience can be fostered in these contexts.

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Courting Catastrophe is looking at how the humanitarian sector needs to change to meet this challenge, with research in countries in Asia and Africa to develop new ways of acting.

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Tomorrow Today is a horizon scanning programme designed to support the preliminary but systematic exploration of new and emergent policy issues.

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Uncovering 'Community': Challenging an Elusive Concept in Development and Disaster Related Work

Societies 8 (2018)

In all areas of academic or practical work related to disaster risk, climate change and development more generally, community and its adjunct community-based have become the default terminology when referring to the local level or working ‘with the people’. The terms are applied extensively to highlight what is believed to be a people-centred, participatory, or grassroot-level approach. Today, despite, or because of, its inherent ambiguity, ‘community’ tends to be used almost inflationarily. This paper aims to analyse the way the concept of ‘community’ has come into fashion, and to critically reflect on the problems that come with it. More details

Resilience as a Policy Narrative: Potentials and Limits in the Context of Urban Planning

Climate and Development 10.2 (2017)

The aim of this paper is to analyse the emergence of the concept of 'urban resilience' in the literature and to assess its potentials and limitations as an element of policy planning. More details

This is the cover to the book, 'Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction'.

Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction

Book (2015)

Why did the people of the Zambesi Delta affected by severe flooding return early to their homes or even choose to not evacuate? How is the forced resettlement of small-scale farmers living along the foothills of an active volcano on the Philippines impacting on their day-to-day livelihood routines? More details

Teaser image for the World Disaster Report 2014

World Disasters Report 2014 – Focus on Culture and Risk

This year, the World Disasters Report takes on a challenging theme that looks at different aspects of how culture affects disaster risk reduction (DRR) and how disasters and risk influence culture. More details

This is the cover for IDS Working Paper 446, 'Political Economy of Climate Compatible Development: Artisanal Fisheries and Climate Change in Ghana'.

Political Economy of Climate Compatible Development: Artisanal Fisheries and Climate Change in Ghana

IDS Working Paper 346 (2014)

Interest in prospects for policy processes that contribute to development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, known as ‘climate compatible development’, has been growing in response to increasing awareness of the impacts of climate change. More details

How do we decide what we research?

17 Oct 2017
By Terry Cannon

Why do we pretend there is 'community'?

13 May 2014
By Terry Cannon

Why do we pretend there is “community”?

23 Apr 2014
By Terry Cannon