UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Dr Christopher Harker

Associate Professor

Director of Research
Programme Director of the PhD in Global Prosperity

Research Summary

My current research examines existing and future financial systems and practices that enable people to flourish within planetary limits. This involves a critique of normative financial relations, an attentiveness to the many alternatives already in play and an interest in future possibilities. My research poses questions about how real quality of life can be financed? How we can pay for the societies we want and how we can create more inclusive forms of value? What options are available for the majority of people whose efforts to create meaningful lives are not supported by existing financial systems and relations? How do we move from failing forms of finance and growth economics that creates inequality and ecosystem destruction towards more inclusive and sustainable forms of prosperity?

My research practice is grounded in my training as a human geographer, my long-standing commitment to working ethnographically with residents of Ramallah, Palestine, and more recent work with community organisations in east London. Intellectually, I am developing many of themes and ideas discussed in my recently published monograph Spacing Debt: Obligations, Violence and Endurance in Ramallah, Palestine (Duke University Press). This book analyses the role debt plays amidst a broader range of socio-cultural and economic practices to create new modes of living in Palestine in the face of ongoing colonial occupation. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book offers a rich understanding of the varied debt relations within and beyond Ramallah and argues that we need to theorise debt as a spatial relation, as much as a temporal and social one.


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