Rob Shields


Rob Shields, Prof. D.Phil.

Henry Marshall Tory Research Chair and Professor of Sociology,
D.Phil. Urban and Regional Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K. ; M.A. Sociology, Carleton University, Ottawa; B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa.
City of Vienna Visiting Professor 2014 – Phase 1


Curriculum vitae

Professional career and research experience

Rob Shields work focuses on social space as a system of everyday places set in a world of distance and difference.  His work spans architecture, planning and geography and includes both theory, public research with communities and participatory approaches to urban, cultural and technology issues.  He directs engaged research and design projects at University of Alberta’s City-Region Studies Centre.  He is founding editor of Space and Culture, an academic journal, and publisher and co-editor of Curb planning practice magazine

Selected publications

Major Publications

Spatial Questions: Social Spatialisations and Cultural Topologies. London: Sage. 2013. 197pp.

The Virtual. London: Routledge. 2003. 272pp.

Lefebvre, Love and Struggle: Spatial Dialectics. London: Routledge, 1999. 218pp. Translated into Greek.

Places on the Margin: Alternative Geographies of Modernity. International Library of Sociology, London: Routledge Chapman Hall, 1991. 334 pp. Library Choice Outstanding Publication of the Year Award.

Re-reading Jean-François Lyotard. Essays on his later works. Co-Editor with Heidi Bickis. London: Ashgate. 2013.

Demystifying Deleuze. An introductory assemblage of crucial concepts Co-Editor with Michael Vallee. Ottawa: Red Quill Books. 2013.

Ecologies of Affect: Placing Nostalgia, Desire and Hope. Co-Editor with Tonya Davidson and Ondine Park, Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press. Aid to Scholarly Publication Grant. 2011.

What is a City? Rethinking the Urban After Katrina. Co-Editor with Philip Steinberg, Athens: Georgia University Press. 2008. 233pp.

Building Tomorrow: Innovation in Engineering and Construction. Co-Editor with André Manseau, London: Ashgate. 2005. 184pp.

Cultures of Internet London: Sage, 1996. 196pp. Translated into Serbo-Croatian as Kulture Interneta Zagreb: Naklada Jesenski I Turk, Hrvatscko socioloko drutvo. 2001.

Social Engineering, The Technics of Change, Co-Editor with Adam Podgorecki and Jon Alexander, Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1996. 359pp. Aid to Scholarly Publication Grant.

Life Style Shopping: The Subject of Consumption. International Library of Sociology, London: Routledge, 1993. 239 pp. Excerpts translated into Russian and German.

Recent Papers

With Roger Keil, ‘Suburban Boundaries’, Suburban Constellations, R. Keil (ed.) Berlin: Jovis. 2013. pp.69-76.

With Andriko Lozowy and Sara Dorow, ‘Where is Fort McMurray? The Camera as a Tool for Assembling “Community”’, Canadian Journal of Sociology 38:2. 2013. pp.191-209.

‘Cultural Topology: The Seven Bridges of Königsburg, 1736’, Theory Culture and Society 29:4/5. 2012. Pp. 43-57.

‘Feral suburbs: Cultural topologies of social reproduction, Fort McMurray, Canada’, International Journal of Cultural Studies Volume 15:3 (May) 2012. pp.205-215.

‘Knowing Flows: How Migration Research meets Mobilities through Digital Technology’, in Paola Jiron, Ole B. Jensen, Lucy Budd, Christian Fisker, Phillip Vanini (eds.) Technologies of Mobility in the Americas, New York: Peter Lang. 2012. pp.43-58.

‘Social Spatialisation and Cultural Topology’ “社会空间化与文化拓扑学” International Cultural Studies China (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). Zhang Jian (trans.) 2010. Available online in Chinese: and in English:

With Ignacio Farias, ‘Interview with Rob Shields’ in Ignacio Farias and Thomas Bender (eds.) Urban Assemblages. How Actor-Network Theory Changes Urban Studies. London: Routledge 2009. pp. 291-301.

‘Uhåndgribeligheder og Virtualiteter’ (‘Intangibles and Virtualities’), in A. Scott Sorensen and Zerland, M. (eds.) Kulture uden Centre, Aarhus, Denmark: Klim 2006. pp. 226-48.

with Andrea Sharkey, ‘Abject Citizenship – Rethinking Exclusion and Inclusion: Participation, Criminality and Community at a Small Town Youth Centre’ Childrens’ Geographies 6:3. 2008. pp.239-256.

‘The Urban Question as Cargo Cult: Opportunities for a New Urban Pedagogy’ International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32:3 2008. pp.712-718.

‘Hope and Fear in Biotechnology: The Space-Times of Regulatory Affect’ Space and Culture 10:2. Summer. 2008. pp.125-141

‘O que e que a olhadela comunica?’ Contemporanea 5:1-2. 2008. In Portuguese: pp. 1-12.

‘Les Sciences Sociales et les Virtualités’, Sociétés 91 (Spring 2006/1). 2006. pp. 55-67. In French.

‘Virtualities’. Theory Culture and Society 23:2-3. 2006. pp. 284-86.

‘Boundary-Thinking in Theories of the Present: The Virtuality of Reflexive Modernization’. European Journal of Social Theory 9:2. 2006. pp.223-238.

‘Building the Future: Innovation, Design and the Virtual’, Nordisk Arkitekturforskning – Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, 18:4. 2005. pp.13-20.

‘Visualicity’, Visual Culture in Britain 5:1. 2004. pp.23-36.

With Kevin West, ‘Innovation in Clean Room Construction: A Case Study of Co-operation between Firms’ Construction Management and Economics. 21:3 (June) 2003. pp. 327-334.

‘Henri Lefebvre – Arkielämän filosofi,’ Yhdyskuntasuunnittelu 3-4. 2002. pp. 6-22. In Finnish.

Current Research Grants

2012-14 with Dr. K. Jones and Prof. N. Petersen Co-applicants. ‘Nanotechnology and the Community’ Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Partnership Development Grant. In progress.

2012 Aid to Scholarly Publications Grant, Ecologies of Affect Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.

2011-14 Principal Investigator. ‘Re-imagining the Minimall’ Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In progress. $37,000. Major Activities: design contest to re-imagine the suburban strip mall. Charettes with practitioners, owners and communities. Petrolia Mall particpatory redevelopment, Edmonton.

2011 Aid to Scholarly Meetings Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. (Rethinking Lyotard Conference, Feb 10-11 2011 in collaboration with Heidi Bickis).

2009 and 2010-17 Co-applicant with Prof. Roger Keil, City Institute, York University, Toronto. ‘Global Suburbanism’ Letter of Intent 2009, Awarded 2010-17. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada MCRI. In progress.

2009-12 Collaborator with Prof. Philip Steinberg, Principal Investigator (Florida State University) ‘Materiality and the Imaginary in Arctic Sovereignty – International Comparative Study of Circumpolar Nations’. 2010-12 National Science Foundation, USA.