SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

Dr Jon Phillips

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Jon Phillips
Centre of African Studies


Dr Jon Phillips
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Office 476, Main Building


I am a Lecturer in Sustainable Development in the Centre of Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP), Department of Development Studies.

I research relationships between environment and society, analysing how nature matters in the exercise and contestation of social power. I am interested in how inequalities are produced through environmental governance and development, particularly in the social and political organisation of low carbon economies. The empirical focus of my research has been on energy and climate politics in sub-Saharan Africa.

I previously worked as a Lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, a Research Fellow in Geography at the University of Exeter, and a Research Associate in International Development at the University of the East Anglia. My doctoral studies were in Geography at King’s College London.

My published work is listed on Google Scholar and appears in journals such as Global Environmental Change, African Affairs, Geoforum, Review of African Political Economy, and Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space.



I am broadly interested in how nature comes to matter in the exercise and contestation of
social power, including how inequalities are produced through the management of
environmental change and opportunities for alternative social and environmental relations. I
am particularly interested in how and why the inequalities of high carbon economies may be
reproduced or reduced in low carbon economies. My past and current research has
analysed the politics of oil production in Ghana, electricity generation in Kenya, carbon
markets in India, urban infrastructure in South Africa, and charcoal in Uganda. This research
has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), British Academy,
Newton Fund, and Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). For a list of
published work see my Google Scholar page.

I welcome prospective PhD proposals that are conceptually grounded in a broadly defined political ecology or associated field in geography or development studies, and that explore aspects of social and environmental change associated with energy, resource development, infrastructure, conservation or climate change mitigation, again broadly defined.



Branch, Adam and Agyei, Frank Kwaku and Anai, Jok Gai and Apecu, Stella Laloyo and Bartlett, Anne and Brownell, Emily and Caravani, Matteo and Cavanagh, Connor Joseph and Fennell, Shailaja and Langole, Stephen and Mabele, Mathew Bukhi and Mwampamba, Tuyeni Heita and Njenga, Mary and Owor, Arthur and Phillips, Jon and Tiitmamer, Nhial (2022) 'From crisis to context: Reviewing the future of sustainable charcoal in Africa'. Energy Research & Social Science, (87), pp 102457.

Phillips, Jon and Petrova, Saska (2021) 'The materiality of precarity: Gender, race and energy infrastructure in urban South Africa'. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, (53) 5, pp 1031-1050.

Caprotti, F and Essex, S and Phillips, Jon and de Groot, J and Baker, L (2020) 'Scales of governance: Translating multiscalar transitional pathways in South Africa’s energy landscape'. Energy Research & Social Science, (70), pp 101700.

Baker, Lucy and Phillips, Jon (2019) 'Tensions in the transition: The politics of electricity distribution in South Africa'. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, (37) 1, pp 177-196.

Phillips, Jon (2019) 'Who’s in charge of Sino-African resource politics? Situating African state agency in Ghana'. African Affairs, (118) 470, pp 101-124.

Newell, Peter and Phillips, Jon (2016) 'Neoliberal energy transitions in the South: Kenyan experiences'. Geoforum, (74), pp 39-48.

Phillips, Jon and Hailwood, Elena and Brooks, Andrew (2016) 'Sovereignty, the ‘resource curse’ and the limits of good governance: a political economy of oil in Ghana'. Review of African Political Economy, (43) 147, pp 26-42.

Naess, Lars Otto and Newell, Peter and Newsham, Andrew and Phillips, Jon and Quan, Julian and Tanner, Thomas (2015) 'Climate policy meets national development contexts: Insights from Kenya and Mozambique'. Global Environmental Change, (35), pp 534-544.

Baker, Lucy and Newell, Peter and Phillips, Jon (2014) 'The political economy of energy transitions: The case of South Africa'. New Political Economy, (19) 6, pp 791-818.

Phillips, Jon and Newell, Peter (2013) 'The governance of clean energy in India: The clean development mechanism (CDM) and domestic energy politics'. Energy Policy, (59), pp 654-662.

Phillips, Jon and Das, Kasturi and Newell, Peter (2013) 'Governance and technology transfer in the clean development mechanism in India'. Global Environmental Change, (23) 6, pp 1594-1604.

Newell, Peter and Phillips, Jon and Purohit, Pallav (2011) 'The Political Economy of Clean Development in India: CDM and Beyond'. IDS Bulletin, (42) 3, pp 89-96.

Book Chapters

Caprotti, F and Phillips, Jon and Petrova, Saska and Bouzarovski, S and Essex, S and de Groot, J and Baker, L and Reddy, Y and Wolpe, P (2021) ''Candles are not bright enough': Inclusive urban energy transformations in spaces of urban inequality'. In: Keith, M and de Souza Santos, A.A, (eds.), African Cities and Collaborative Futures: Urban Platforms and Metropolitan Logistics. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp 121-142.

Phillips, Jon (2018) 'Order and the offshore: The territories of deep-water oil production'. In: Peter, Kimberley and Steinberg, Philip and Stratford, Elaine, (eds.), Territory Beyond Terra. London: Rowman & Littlefield International, pp 51-67.

Phillips, Jon and Newell, Peter and Pueyo, Ana (2017) 'Triple wins? Prospects for pro-poor, low carbon, climate resilient energy services in Kenya'. In: Nunan, Fiona, (ed.), Making Climate Compatible Development Happen. Abingdon: Routledge, pp 114-129.

Martin, Adrian and Akol, Anne and Phillips, Jon (2013) 'Just conservation? On the fairness of sharing benefits'. In: Sikor, Thomas, (ed.), The Justices and Injustices of Ecosystems Services. London: Routledge, pp 69-91.

Monographs and Working Papers

Cowley, Robert and Phillips, Jon (2018) What Can Urban Sustainability Experiments Do?. Exeter: University of Exeter.

Newell, Peter and Phillips, Jon and Pueyo, Ana (2014) The political economy of low carbon energy in Kenya. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. Working Paper no. 445.

Newell, Peter and Phillips, Jon (2011) Governing clean development: What have we learnt?. Norwich: The Governance of Clean Development: CDM and Beyond, Briefing 3.

Newell, Peter and Phillips, Jon and Mulvaney, Dustin (2011) Pursuing Clean Energy Equitably. New York: United Nations Development Programme: Human Development Research Paper 2011/03.


This list was last generated on Friday, 27th May 2022, 01:00 Europe/London.