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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Professor Steven Pinch

Emeritus Professor of Human Geography

Professor Steven Pinch's photo

Professor Steven Pinch is Emeritus Professor of Human Geography within Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

I retired from the University of Southampton in September 2013 after 37 great years in what was initially the Department and then the School of Geography, and more recently the Academic Division of Geography and Environment. Over four decades I have research many topics but I have two main interests: first geographies of welfare (as manifest in my books such as Cities and Services and Worlds of Welfare); and second, geographies of knowledge exchange and innovation (as manifest in my work on the British motor sport industry the UK’s design industry).

In the last few years I have combined these two interests by examining social enterprises – ‘social’ firms that provide innovative ways of meeting social needs on behalf of the community rather than rewarding private shareholders. I have also maintained a continuing interest in the evolution of the local Hampshire economy. I intend to maintain these research interests in my capacity as an emeritus professor, assisting colleagues and undertaking various research and consultancy tasks as appropriate.

Although I no longer have formal responsibilities for alumni relations in Geography and Environment, I am always delighted to hear from past students and former members of staff.

Research interests

In the last five years I have participated in two major ESRC-funded research projects. The first, with Professor Peter Sunley and Dr Suzy Reimer, examined innovation within the UK’s design consultancy industry, sampling firms in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. The research threw up some findings that challenged the conventional wisdom that has been developed elsewhere. We found ‘weak-ties’ between members of the design community to be much less important in maintaining business than maintenance of what we have termed ‘intermediate–ties’ between designers and their clients. We have outlined out explanations for these findings in the publications listing.

The second project, again with Peter Sunley, and funded within the Third Sector Research Centre at Southampton, examined geographies of social enterprise (SE). Again our findings challenged conventional wisdom. Rather than difficulties of accessing finance being the main barrier to the development of SE, as is often claimed, the SE managers we interviewed claimed that it is the precarious and unstable nature of markets and public sector contracts are the major problem they face. The project also attempted to explain the uneven development of markets for SE in differing parts of the country: Newham, Birmingham, Liverpool and Southampton. Building on the work of Jens Beckert, we examined the interrelationships between institutions, networks and consumers of SE good and services in different localities. I am still working on theorizing the development of SEs.

Research group

Economy, Society and Governance

My responsibilities for employability and alumni relations have been taken over by Dr Paul Hughes

Professor Steven Pinch
University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

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