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Patrick Bigger


B.A. Geography, University of Arizona, 2005



My work lies at the intersection of governments, markets, and a rapidly changing climate. To get at these confluences, I take several approaches. My dissertation work is situated in the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento, California, where regulators, environmentally focused bankers, heavy industry, and community groups have been working together to launch the United States’ first economy-wide carbon market. Mandated by The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the state has constructed a financial market that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon through an electronic market that is intended to behave like other financial markets. My research here looks at the social, geographical, and ideological practices required to ‘make’ such a market. My work combines a more structural political-ecological approach to the financialization of nature with ideas about performativity in markets and state regulation, especially the importance of negotiation and the places in which these dialogs happen.  I have an ancillary research project that I am looking forward to pursuing in in-depth following the completion of my dissertation. This project focuses on the US Navy’s interest and implementation of synthetic biofuels- another example of how government intervenes in commodities markets to influence environmental outcomes.

I am also a co-founder and active member of the UK Political Ecology Working Group (UKPEWG), a graduate student organization that brings speakers to campus, hosts a film series and white paper sessions, and has a record of collaborative publications and organizing conference sessions. Additionally, we host the annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference, an international conference on many different facets of nature/society interactions. I also serve as one of the student representatives to the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the AAG.

When in Lexington, I co-curate the Cult Film Series at Al’s Bar, and I enjoy homebrewing and bicycling. 

Graduate Training

M.A. Geography, University of Kentucky, 2009

Selected Publications:

Samers M, P Bigger, and O Belcher 2014. Changing the World: Geography, Political Activism, and Marxism. In Valentine G and S Aitken (eds). Key Approaches to Human Geography. London: Sage. 

Bigger P 2013. Explosive Geographies: Introduction to the Intervetion Forum. Available at

Bigger P 2012. Peet R, M Watts, and P Robbins 2011. Global Political Ecology. New 
York: Rutledge. Contribution to review forum: Going global in global political 
ecology. Area 44:2, 262-264.
Kappeler A and P Bigger 2011. Capital, Nature, Neighborhoods: ‘Dispossession 
without Accumulation’? Antipode 43:4, 986-1011.