Dr Alec Thornton

Senior Lecturer; Discipline Coordinator (Geography)
+61 2 6268 8309
+61 2 6268 8017

LOCATION

Room 312 PEMS North (Bldg 22) School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra, PO Box 7916, Canberra BC ACT 2610, AUSTRALIA

  • ABOUT
  • PUBLICATIONS

Dr Alec Thornton is a Senior Lecturer in Development Geography in the School of Physical, Environment and Mathematical Sciences (PEMS) at UNSW Canberra. His research interests take a critical theory approach to issues in sustainable urban and rural development. He has a PhD in Development Studies (2007) from the University of Sussex, UK.

Alec is currently involved in several research projects exploring community-based development, social movements and social equity in developing and developed countries. Specifically, these projects include urban agriculture as a form of social, food and environmental justice in Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, Germany and the United States. In the South Pacific, this research involves the impacts of global change on livelihoods and land use in Fiji and Samoa.

He frequently collaborates with geographers, sociologists and economists from South Africa, Sierra Leone, Zambia, United Kingdom and New Zealand. He has held an Honorary Research Fellowship at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Earth Sciences (GAES) at the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) and is the current vice president of The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP). Alec is co-editor of the Australasian Review of African Studies (ARAS) and editorial board member for Urban Forum (2009-present) and Applied Geography (2009-2015).

Books

Thornton A, 2012, Urban Agriculture in South Africa: A Study of the Eastern Cape Province, First, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, New York

Book Chapters

Cochrane L; Thornton A, 2017, 'Charity rankers: Who is defining effectiveness?', in Lentfer J; Cothran T (ed.), Smart Risks How Small Grants Are Helping to Solve Some of the World's Biggest Problems, Practical Action, Rugby, UK, pp. 108 - 113, 10.3362/9781780449302

Ravuvu A; Thornton A, 2015, 'Beyond Aid Distribution: Aid Effectiveness, Neoliberal and Neostructural Reforms in Pacific Island Countries', in Assessing the Impact of Foreign Aid: Value for Money and Aid for Trade, pp. 79 - 93, 10.1016/B978-0-12-803660-0.00006-4

Jurriëns E; Sakai M; Thornton A; Zhang J, 2014, 'Coping with disaster: Agency and resilience in the asia-pacific context', in Disaster Relief in the Asia Pacific: Agency and Resilience, pp. 3 - 16, 10.4324/9781315884356

Chand S, 2014, 'Responding to natural versus human-made disasters: Lessons from Fiji', in Disaster Relief in the Asia Pacific: Agency and Resilience, pp. 189 - 206, 10.4324/9781315884356

Thornton A; Nel E, 2014, 'Agrarianism, capitalism or protectionism?: Exploring economic restructuring and local responses amidst global change in Samoa', in Disaster Relief in the Asia Pacific: Agency and Resilience, pp. 171 - 188, 10.4324/9781315884356

Thornton A, 2013, 'Food for thought? Linking urban agriculture and local food production for food security and development in the South Pacific', in Food Systems Failure: The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture, pp. 203 - 218, 10.4324/9781849776820

Nel E; Davidson J; Thornton AC, 2007, 'Pandemic and panacea: urban agriculture as a community-based response to HIV/AIDS?', in Jones G; Leimgruber W; Nel E (ed.), Issues in Geographical Marginality: Papers presented during the Meetings of the Commission on Evolving Issues of Geographical Marginality in the Early 21st Century World, edn. Original, Rhodes University, Grahamstown

Journal articles

Cochrane L; Thornton A, 2017, 'A socio-cultural analysis of smallholder borrowing and debt in southern Ethiopia', Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 49, pp. 69 - 77, 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.11.004

Thornton A, 2017, '“The Lucky country”? A critical exploration of community gardens and city–community relations in Australian cities', Local Environment, vol. 22, pp. 969 - 985, 10.1080/13549839.2017.1317726

Cochrane L; Thornton A, 2017, 'The Geography of Development Studies: Leaving No One Behind', Forum for Development Studies, pp. 1 - 9, 10.1080/08039410.2017.1345786

Thornton A, 2017, 'Pacific urbanisation: is landlessness a challenge to SDG11 in Samoa?', The Development Bulletin, pp. 1 - 101, https://crawford.anu.edu.au/rmap/devnet/dev-bulletin.php

Cochrane L; Thornton A, 2016, 'Charity Rankings: Delivering Development or Dehumanising Aid?', Journal of International Development, vol. 28, pp. 57 - 73, 10.1002/jid.3201

Gbanie SP; Thornton A; Griffin AL, 2015, ''The Diamond of Western Area is Land': Narratives of Land Use and Land Cover Change in Post-conflict Sierra Leone', AUSTRALASIAN REVIEW OF AFRICAN STUDIES, vol. 36, pp. 51 - 73

Lyons T; Marlowe J; Mickler D; Thornton A, 2015, 'Denizens, Artivists, and Terrorists - Disarmament, Development and Diagnosis: Understanding Africa in Australasia and the Pacific.', AUSTRALASIAN REVIEW OF AFRICAN STUDIES, vol. 36, pp. 3 - 6

Lyons T; Marlowe J; Thornton A, 2015, 'Reflections on Africa and African Studies: in Memory of Cherry Gertzel', AUSTRALASIAN REVIEW OF AFRICAN STUDIES, vol. 36, pp. 8 - 21

Thornton A; Binns T; Kerslake MT, 2013, 'Hard times in Apia? Urban landlessness and the Church in Samoa', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, vol. 34, pp. 357 - 372, 10.1111/sjtg.12040

Joseph V; Thornton A; Pearson S; Paull D, 2013, 'Occupational transitions in three coastal villages in Central Java, Indonesia, in the context of sea level rise: A case study', Natural Hazards, vol. 69, pp. 675 - 694, 10.1007/s11069-013-0735-6

Mun Bbun T; Thornton A, 2013, 'A level playing field? Improving market availability and access for small scale producers in Johannesburg, South Africa', Applied Geography, vol. 36, pp. 40 - 48, 10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.04.004

Thornton A; Rogerson CM, 2013, 'African cities and the millennium development goals: A case for applied geography', Applied Geography, vol. 36, pp. 1 - 2, 10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.09.004

Thornton A; Momoh J; Tengbe P, 2012, 'Institutional Capacity Building for Urban Agriculture Research Using Participatory GIS in a Post-Conflict Context: A Case Study of Sierra Leone', Australasian Review of African Studies, vol. 33, pp. 165 - 176, http://search.informit.com.au/fullText;dn=274136515355648;res=IELNZC

Thornton A; Sakai M; Hassall G, 2012, 'Givers and governance: The potential of faith-based development in the Asia Pacific', Development in Practice, vol. 22, pp. 779 - 791, 10.1080/09614524.2012.685864

Thornton A, 2010, 'Book Review: Sustainable Land Management in the Tropics: Explaining the Miracle.', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, vol. 31, pp. 276 - 278, 10.1111/j.1467-9493.2010.00401.x

Thornton A; Nel E; Hampwaye G, 2010, 'Cultivating Kaunda's plan for self-sufficiency: Is urban agriculture finally beginning to receive support in Zambia?', Development Southern Africa, vol. 27, pp. 613 - 625, 10.1080/0376835X.2010.508604

Thornton A; Kerslake MT; Binns T, 2010, 'Alienation and obligation: Religion and social change in Samoa', Asia Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 51, pp. 1 - 16, 10.1111/j.1467-8373.2010.01410.x

Thornton AC, 2009, 'Garden of Eden?: The impact of resettlement on squatters’ ‘agri-hoods’ in Fiji', Development in Practice, vol. 19, pp. 884 - 894, 10.1080/09614520903122311

Thornton A, 2009, 'Pastures of plenty?: Land rights and community-based agriculture in Peddie, a former homeland town in South Africa', Applied Geography, vol. 29, pp. 12 - 20, 10.1016/j.apgeog.2008.06.001

Thornton AC, 2008, 'Beyond the Metropolis: Small Town Case Studies of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in South Africa', Urban Forum, vol. 19, pp. 243 - 262, 10.1007/s12132-008-9036-7

Thornton AC; Nel E, 2007, 'The significance of urban and peri-urban agriculture in Peddie, in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa', Africanus: Journal of Development Studies, vol. 37, pp. 13 - 20

Thornton AC, 2006, 'The potential for multi-functional urban land use in a small former homeland town in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa', Urban Agriculture Magazine, vol. 16, pp. 58 - 59

Conference Papers

Thornton AC, 2008, 'Mixing methods and methodologies in urban agriculture research: a case study of South Africa', in Southern Perspectives on Development: Dialogue or Division? Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Aotearoa / New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DevNet), University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, presented at , 01 January 2008

Conference Proceedings (Editor of)

Thornton AC; McGregor A, (eds.), 2008, 'Southern Perspectives on Development: Dialogue or Division? Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Aotearoa / New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DevNet)', in Southern Perspectives on Development: Dialogue or Division? Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Aotearoa / New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DevNet), University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ, presented at 5th Biennial Conference of the Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DevNet), Dunedin, NZ, 30 November - 02 December 2006

Theses / Dissertations

Gbanie SP, 2015, Understanding Land Use and Land Cover Change in Post-War Sierra Leone: A Socio-geospatial Approach, thesis, UNSW, UNSW Canberra

Joseph V, 2012, Vulnerability to sea level rise of coastal communitities in central Java: Developing a systems approach and perspective, thesis, UNSW Canberra, http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/52238

Conference Presentations

Thornton AC, 2009, 'Institutional capacity building for urban agriculture in Southern Africa', in Institutional capacity building for urban agriculture in Southern Africa, 3rd European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), Leipzig, Germany, presented at 3rd European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), Leipzig, Germany, 04 - 07 June 2009

Thornton A, 2009, 'Garden of Eden? The impact of resettlement on squatters' 'agri-hoods' in Fiji', in Development in Practice, pp. 884 - 894, presented at , 10.1080/09614520903122311

Thornton AC, 2008, 'Kinship & Church Obligations and the Emergence of Landlessness in Samoa', in Kinship & Church Obligations and the Emergence of Landlessness in Samoa, 31st International Geographical Congress, Tunis, Tunisia, presented at 31st International Geographical Congress, Tunis, Tunisia, 12 - 15 August 2008

Thornton AC, 2008, 'The church and development in Samoa', in The church and development in Samoa, New Zealand Geographical Society 24th Conference 2008, University of Victoria, Wellington, presented at New Zealand Geographical Society 24th Conference 2008, University of Victoria, Wellington, 02 - 05 July 2008

Thornton AC, 2007, 'Poverty and Paradise: A Case Study of Squatters & Squatter Resettlement Policy in Fiji', in Poverty and Paradise: A Case Study of Squatters & Squatter Resettlement Policy in Fiji, Canadian Association for the Study of International Development Conference, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, presented at Canadian Association for the Study of International Development Conference, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, 31 May - 02 June 2007

Thornton AC, 2007, 'Urban Land Use Policy and Food Security in Post-Apartheid South Africa', in Urban Land Use Policy and Food Security in Post-Apartheid South Africa, 2nd International Conference on Community-based Collaborative Research, The Institute for Community Research, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, presented at 2nd International Conference on Community-based Collaborative Research, The Institute for Community Research, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, 07 - 09 June 2007

Thornton AC, 2006, 'Brown Fields, Green Thumbs: The Potential for Using Participatory GIS in UPA Research', in Brown Fields, Green Thumbs: The Potential for Using Participatory GIS in UPA Research, International Development Network Conference, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, presented at International Development Network Conference, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, 02 - 05 December 2006

Thornton AC; Nel E; Davidson J, 2004, 'Pandemic and Panacea: Urban Agriculture as a Community-based Response to HIV/AIDS', in Pandemic and Panacea: Urban Agriculture as a Community-based Response to HIV/AIDS, International Geography Union Conference, Stirling, Scotland, presented at International Geography Union Conference, Stirling, Scotland, 01 September 2004

Thornton AC; Nel E, 2004, 'International Evidence of Local Economic Development Models', in International Evidence of Local Economic Development Models, National Local Economic Development Conference, Department of Provincial and Local Government, September 27-28, 2004, Johannesburg, South Africa, presented at National Local Economic Development Conference, Department of Provincial and Local Government, September 27-28, 2004, Johannesburg, South Africa, 01 September 2004

Thornton AC, 2004, 'Understanding Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in South Africa', in Understanding Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in South Africa, Institute for Social and Economic Research Roving Conference, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, presented at Institute for Social and Economic Research Roving Conference, Institute for Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, 01 May 2004

Working Papers

Burger P; Geldenhuys JP; Cloete J; Marais L; Thornton AC, 2009, Assessing the Role of Urban Agriculture in Addressing Poverty in South Africa, South Africa, Global Development Network (GDN) Working Paper Series, 28, http://www.gdnet.org/cms.php?id=research_paper_abstract&research_paper_id=15819

Nel E; Hampwaye G; Thornton AC; Rogerson CM; Marais L, 2009, Institutional Responses to Decentralization, Urban Poverty, Food Shortages and Urban Agriculture, South Africa, Global Development Network (GDN) Working Paper Series, 36, http://www.gdnet.org/cms.php?id=research_paper_abstract&research_paper_id=15875

Conference Abstracts

Joseph V; Pearson S; Thornton A, Livelihood Capitals and Occupational Systems Transitions - A case study of coastal occupational groups in Central Java province of Indonesia

Edited Books

Jurriens EC; Sakai M; Zhang J; Thornton A, (eds.), 2014, Disaster Relief in the Asia Pacific: Agency and Resilience, Routledge Contemporary Asia Series, Routledge, London and New York, https://www.routledge.com/Disaster-Relief-in-the-Asia-Pacific-Agency-and-Resilience/Sakai-Jurriens-Zhang-Thornton/p/book/9780415711777