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Alice Mah


Room: E0.21a

Telephone: +44 (0) 2476 522205


Industrial Ruination, Community and Place


Alice Mah researches urban, political, and environmental sociology. Her research focuses on industrial ruination and urban decline; environmental justice and corporate sustainability; place and work memory and identity; and the democratisation of science and expertise. She has conducted comparative, mixed-method sociological research in the UK, France, Belgium, Russia, China, the US, and Canada.

Alice is the author of Port Cities and Global Legacies (2014, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 in paperback). This book examines the politics of urban identity, waterfront work, and radicalism in the port cities of Liverpool, Marseille, and New Orleans. Her first book Industrial Ruination, Community, and Place (2012, University of Toronto Press) was winner of the 2013 BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize. This comparative ethnographic research explored lived experiences of industrial ruination in Niagara Falls, USA/Canada; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK; and Ivanovo, Russia. Alice is also co-founder and co-editor of Toxic News, a quarterly e-magazine about toxics in everyday life.

Alice is Principal Investigator of the 5-year European Research Commission (ERC)-funded project on Expertise, Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry (2015-2020). This research project examines debates about health, jobs, risk, and prosperity in relation to the petrochemical industry, through in-depth comparative research in China, the United States, and Europe. In 2016, she joined the Corporate Mapping Project network, a partnership of academic and community-based researchers and advisors, which maps how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada).


Alice holds a PhD in Sociology (London School of Economics), an MA in Political Economy (Carleton University, Ottawa), a BA (honours) in European and Russian Studies (Carleton University, Ottawa), and a BFA in Art History and Studio Art (Concordia University, Montreal). She has held postdoctoral positions as Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at Southampton University; Research Fellow at the International Research Centre 'Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History' at Humboldt University in Berlin; and Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Warwick.

Current Research Projects


Selected Publications


Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Mah, A. (2017) 'Ruination and Post-industrial Urban Decline,' in SAGE Handbook of Urban Sociology: New Approaches to the Twenty-first Century City, eds. R. Burdett and S. Hall, Sage.
  • Mah, A. (2015) 'Dangerous Cargo and Uneven Toxic Risks: Petrochemicals in the Port of New Orleans,' in Cargomobilities: Moving Materials in a Global Age, eds. T. Birtchnell, S. Savitzky, and J. Urry, New York and London: Routledge.
  • Mah, A. (2015) 'Reconstructing Port City Identities: Waterfront Development in Liverpool, Marseille and New Orleans (in German) in Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg. Ed. C. Strupp, University of Hamburg. pp. 38-70.
  • Mah, A. (2008) ‘Ivanovo: In and Amongst the Ruins,’ in The Role of Culture in the Economic Development of Old Industrial Regions. Eds. P. Benneworth and G.-J. Hospers, LIT Verlag, pp. 185-203.

Online Articles