Professor Neil Wrigley
Professor of Human Geography
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Professor Neil Wrigley is Professor of Human Geography within Geography and Environment at the University of Southampton.
Neil Wrigley has been Professor of Geography at the University of Southampton since 1991, serving as Head of Department 1992-95 and 1999-2001. He is the first Geographer in the history of the University of Southampton to have been elected to the prestigious Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA). He has been Editor of the Journal of Economic Geography (Oxford University Press) since its launch in 2001, steering that journal into its current world top three ranked position. Previously (1988-93) he was Editor of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.
Prior to his appointment at Southampton he was Professor and Head of the Department of City & Regional Planning, University of Wales, Cardiff (1986-91), Reader in Geography at the University of Bristol, and a member of the Research Resources & Methods Committee of the UK Economic & Social Research Council (1984-91). He was elected Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (2003) and, amongst several prizes he has received, was most recently awarded the Ashby Prize 2004 by the leading international urban and regional research journal Environment & Planning A, and the Murchison Award 2008 by the Royal Geographical Society. In 2012 was elected to the distinguished Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA).
He is a member of the Editorial Board of many journals across the wider social sciences including Environment and Planning A, Regional Studies, 21st Century Society:Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, and a number of business studies/management journals.
Author of 140 academic journal papers and several well-known books (including Reading Retail: A Geographical Perspective on Retailing and Consumption Spaces, 2002, Arnold: London; Oxford Univ. Press, New York, with Michelle Lowe), his research focuses on economic geography – with a distinctive focus on retail and consumption. He has written many widely cited papers on the restructuring, regulation and globalization of the retail industry, including issues of retail development and finance, e-commerce, the rise of transnational retail corporations, and retailer-driven global supply chains.
Since 2000 his research on the geography of retail and consumption has focused on three themes.
- Pioneering work on issues of food poverty, diet-related inequalities and food retail access in underserved low-income neighbourhoods in British cities. That research on so-called ‘food deserts’ (more precisely unsupportive local food environments), and the potential of retail-led urban regeneration in underserved markets is internationally acknowledged as having established an agenda for related research in many countries and has resulted in invited presentations on the public policy implications of the work to the Parliamentary Food & Health Forum at the House of Commons, the British Retail Consortium, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Cambridge-MIT Institute, and the World Economic Forum.
- Internationally recognized research on transnational retail and the global economy which has explored the rapid globalization of retail capital since the mid 1990s, the management of international investment by retail transnational corporations, the organization of those firms across institutional and national divides, the impacts of transnational retail on host economies in East Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, ethical trading initiatives, and the private-interest regulation of global supply chains by UK and US retailers. The host economy and trade policy impacts of transnational retail have become increasingly important issues to the governments of many developing countries and this has resulted in many invitations to give keynote presentations to national and international policy bodies – e.g. recently to the Agricultural Trade Research Consortium in China, to the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa, and to the Ethical Trading Initiative and Institute of Development Studies in the UK.
- Public policy oriented contributions to debates surrounding the Competition Commission’s Inquiry (2006-08) into competitive conditions in the UK groceries market – in particular a parallel investigation to that conducted by the Commission of retail change in over 1,000 UK town centres and high streets focused on market entry and exit conditions in the small store sector.
- Subsequent to this, his work became much more focused on his ESRC research project 'The Future of the UK high streets'
Earlier in his career – not least via his role on ESRC’s Research & Methods Committee and as Chair of ESRC’s 1991 Census Committee - Professor Wrigley made significant contributions to quantitative social science. In particular has contributions on categorical data analysis, discrete choice modelling, longitudinal/panel data analysis, modifiable areal unit and census data analysis are well-known – with his classic book Categorical Data Analysis (Longman, 1985) from that period being republished (2002) in the USA as a landmark text in quantitative social science.
Professor Wrigley has held ESRC and Leverhulme Research Fellowships, an Erskine Fellowship (New Zealand), and was Senior Research Fellow, St Peter's College, Oxford (1996-97). He has held visiting positions at many overseas universities including: University of Boston, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Toronto, George Mason University, Karlsruhe University (Germany), Macquarie University (Australia), University of Canterbury (New Zealand), and has presented distinguished/keynote lectures in more than 40 universities in North America, East Asia, Australia and continental Europe. In 2007 he was invited by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa to give one of its Distinguished Scholar Lectures. He was also invited in 2010 and 2014 to present for the OECD in Paris after being commissioned to write their report on the Globalisation of Retail Services.
B.A. (Geography) Wales
Ph.D. (Geography) Cambridge
D.Sc. (Geography) Bristol
FBA Fellow of the British Academy
AcSS Academician, Academy of Social Sciences
FRGS Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
MCIT Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport
1991 - present University of Southampton, Professor of Geography (Head of Dept 1992-95, Head of Dept 1999-2001)
1986 - 1991 University of Wales, Cardiff, Professor of City and Regional Planning (Head of Dept 1989-91)
1976 - 1986 University of Bristol, Lecturer then Reader in Geography
Key Positions within discipline
1973 - 1976 University of Southampton, Lecturer in Geography
Editor, Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford Univ Press (2000-present)
Editor, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (1988-93)
Senior Research Fellow, St Peter's College, University of Oxford (1996-97)
Committee member UK Economic and Social Research Council 1984-91
Member Editorial Boards of 5 other leading journals (including Environment and Planning A; Society: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences; International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management