Dr. Luke Whaley


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Luke is a development scholar with a primary focus on environmental and natural resource governance. His research is inherently interdisciplinary, combining a diverse background in international development, the social sciences, biology, and philosophy. Luke focuses on ways of enhancing social justice in the face of inequality and adaptive capacity in the face of social-ecological change and uncertainty. His primary regional expertise lies in Sub-Saharan Africa (including Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe). He has also carried out research in Europe (the UK and Italy) and India.

Luke works as a post-doctoral researcher on an ESRC/DFID/NERC funded consortium project entitled Hidden Crisis: Unravelling Current Failure for Future Success. He is part of an international, interdisciplinary team investigating the sustainability challenges to rural groundwater supply in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Uganda.

At present Luke is developing a research agenda that combines the arts and sciences to explore the role of people’s worldviews and different knowledge systems in shaping access to land and water in rural Africa (Uganda, Ghana, Namibia). The research has important implications for the lives and livelihoods of women and other vulnerable groups. It will, 1) generate novel insights about rural governance and livelihoods dynamics concerning land and water, and 2) develop collaborative processes and tools that facilitate practical action toward more socially just and sustainable rural economies and societies.