Department of Geography and Planning

Robert Fagan

GEOPLAN - Robert FaganPosition: Emeritus Professor
Telephone: +61-2-9850 8392
Fax: +61-2-9850 8420



I am a human geographer researching in the areas of economic geography, urban and regional development and social theory. I was professor of human geography at Macquarie from 1994 and deputy director of the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion (CRSI) from its creation as a university centre at the end of 2005. I retired in January 2008 becoming emeritus professor of human geography. My research and teaching has focused on industrial, urban and regional change in developed countries including Australia, concentrating on regional and local impacts of globalisation. I am currently researching

  • impacts of global change on Australian food industries and alternative food provision systems
  • globalisation and local labour markets especially changes in people's access to work
  • localisation of food provision systems and food security in urban areas
  • economic and cultural resistance to globalisation

I have worked as a consultant on regional and local impacts of global change for federal, state and local governments, trade unions, Australian Red Cross and various community groups. Growing up in Canberra I studied economics and geography at the Australian National University before undertaking doctoral research in their Research School of Pacific Studies on interactions between large corporations and governments in the first Australian mineral boom. I have worked on secondment for the NSW Department of Planning, as a research fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and as a visiting professor at the universities of Durham, Portsmouth, Sydney and the National University of Ireland, Galway. I currently hold an honorary professorial fellowship at the University of Western Sydney. I maintain an active involvement in the folk music scene and have presented concerts, workshops and radio programs on music dealing with mining and industrial change.

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Publications (selected)


Books and Monographs

Fagan R. and O'Neill P. (2015) Work, Places and People in Western Sydney: Changing Suburban Labour Markets 2001-14, Centre for the Development of Western Sydney, University of Western Sydney.

Fagan R., Dowling R. and Langdale J. (2004) An Employment Profile of Greater Western Sydney: Suburbs in the Global City , Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, Blacktown.

Fagan R. and Webber M. (1999) Global Restructuring: the Australian Experience , 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Burnley I., Murphy P. and Fagan R. (1997) Immigration and Australian Cities , Federation Press, Sydney.

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Book chapters

Fagan R. (2005) 'Globalization, the WTO and the Australia-Philippines "banana war"', pp. 207-22 in N. Fold and B. Pritchard (eds), Cross-Continental Food Chains , Routledge, London.

Fagan R. (2003) 'Labour geographies', pp. 123-34 in B.J. Garner (ed.) Geography's New Frontiers , Geographical Society of NSW, Sydney.

Fagan R. (2000) 'I ndustrial change in the global city: Sydney's new spaces of production', pp. 144-66 in J. Connell (ed.), Sydney: The Emergence of A World City , Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Fagan R. and Le Heron R. (1999) 'Reinterpreting the geography of accumulation: the global shift and local restructuring', pp. 71-80 in J. Bryson et al . (eds ), The Economic Geography Reader , John Wiley, Chichester.

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Articles in refereed journals

O'Neill P. and Fagan R. (2006) 'Geographical takes on three decades of economic reform in Australia', Geographical Research , 44, pp. 205-20.

Sharpe S., Hynes M. and Fagan R. (2005) 'Beat me, Whip me, Spank me, Just Make it Right Again: beyond the didactic masochism of global resistance', Fibreculture , 6, pp. 1-12.

Fagan R. and Dowling R. (2005) 'Neoliberalism and suburban employment: Western Sydney in the 1990s', Geographical Research , 43, pp. 71-81.

McNeill D., Dowling R. and Fagan R. (2005) 'Sydney/Global/City: an exploration', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research , 29, pp. 935-44.

Fagan R. (2004) 'Globalisation and the Death Sentence ', Australian Geographical Studies , 42, pp. 404-6.

Sadler D. and Fagan R. (2004) ' Australian trade unions and the politics of scale: reconstructing the spatiality of industrial relations', Economic Geography, 80, pp.23-43.

Fagan R. (2002) 'Dealing with the New Prosperity: implications for work and workers', Australian Geographer , 33, pp. 353-8.

Pritchard W. and Fagan R. (1999) 'Circuits of capital and transnational corporate spatial behaviour: Nestlé in Southeast Asia', International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food , 8, pp. 3-20.

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Refereed conference papers

Sharpe S., Hynes M. and Fagan R.H. (2003) 'Political action and the play of appearances: theorising the political implications of a comic event', pp, 1- 9 in P. Corrigan et al. (eds) New Times, New Worlds, New Ideas: Proceedings of the Australian Sociological Association (TASA), University of New England, Armidale.

O'Neill P.M., Fagan R.H. and Sadler D.W. (2002) 'Local labour culture, trade unionism and the difference of place: BHP and its steelworks at Newcastle and Port Kembla, New South Wales', pp. 51-55 in P. Holland, F. Stephenson and A. Wearing (eds), 2001, Geography - A Spatial Odyssey , Proceedings of the Third Joint Conference of the New Zealand Geographical Society and Institute of Australian Geographers, NZ Geog.Soc. Conference Series no. 21, Dunedin.

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Conference Presentations (selected)

Fagan R. (2005 September) 'Geography, work and scale', International Research Roundtable: 'Working Space', Department of Work and Organisational Studies, University of Sydney.

Fagan R. (2005 February) 'Bananas in chains» Reflections on global commodity chains and labour movement regulatory initiatives', Workshop on Supply Chain Strategies, GROWES, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, February.

Fagan R. (2004 July) 'Local Impacts of the Global: Re-scaling the Australian Economy', J.P. Thomson address, Geographical Society of Queensland, Brisbane.

Fagan R. (2004 April) 'Globalisation and The Death Sentence ', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Adelaide.

Sharpe S., Fagan R. and Hynes M. (2004 April) ' The uneasy marriage of truth and politics: a case of virtual geographies', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Adelaide.

Fagan R. (2003 December) 'Suburbs in the "global city": labour markets in Western Sydney since the mid 1990s', State of Australian Cities National Conference, Parramatta.

Fagan R. (2003 November) 'Neoliberalism, globalisation and the suburbs: Western Sydney in the 1990s', IAG Economic Geography Study Group and Rural Studies Study Group, joint conference: Neoliberalism and Australia's Regions, Newcastle.

Fagan R. (2003 October) 'Globalisation, the WTO and 'banana wars': implications for Australia and Asia-Pacific', Conference on Cross-Continental Food Commodity Chain Systems, Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen.

McNeill, D., Dowling R. and Fagan R. (2003 September) 'Sydney/Global/City: an exploration', Institute of British Geographers Conference.

Fagan R., Dowling R. and Langdale J. (2003 June) 'Western Sydney Employment Study: Profile Report', ReVisioning the Greater West, Greater Western Sydney Regional Planning Conference.

Fagan R. (2002 July) 'Bananas in chains» Globalisation, labour relations and the United States-European Union banana dispute', Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Australian National University.

Fagan R.H. (2001 December) 'Bananas: introduction to a research project', Agri-Food IX , Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Fagan R.H. (2001 November) 'Industrial Relations meets Human Geography (1): space, place and the making of scale in labour geographies', joint symposium of Economic Geography Study Group of the Institute of Australian Geographers and University of Sydney's Work and Organisational Studies Discipline, University of Sydney.

Fagan R. (2001 November) ' Implications for Work and Workers', Conference: Dealing With The New Prosperity - An Interdisciplinary Examination of Urban and Regional Issues on the NSW Eastern Seaboard, CURS, University of Newcastle.

Fagan R. (2001 January) 'Political construction of geographical scale: restructuring Australian industrial relations', 3rd Joint Conference, New Zealand Geographical Society and Institute of Australian Geographers, Dunedin.

Sadler D. and Fagan R.H. (2000 December) 'Australian trade unions and the political construction of scale: contesting legislative reform', paper delivered to International Conference of Economic Geography, National University of Singapore.

Fagan R.H. (2000 May) 'Rescaling industrial relations in Australia: political construction of geographical scale', seminar, Department of Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University.

Sadler D. and Fagan R.H. (2000 January) 'Australian labour unions and the politics of scale: re-constructing the spatiality of power', Institute of British Geographers Conference, Brighton.

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Grants Awarded (selected)

ARC Discovery Grant (2006-2007): 'New Regionalism and the Dynamics of Local Economies'; with Prof. M. Taylor and Dr M. Tonts ($90,000)

Macquarie University Research Centre Grant (2005-2009): Centre for Research on Social Inclusion; with Ass.Profs N. Smith and M. Fine, Dr A. Wise ($150,000)

Macquarie University Visiting Scholar Fellowship (2006) 'Geographies of Globalisation, Neoliberalism and Development', Associate Professor Katharine Rankin, University of Toronto; with Dr K. Lloyd et al ., ($7,700)      

Macquarie University Visiting Scholar Fellowship (2006) 'Reconsidering the scale politics and policies of urban and regional development' Professor Andrew Jonas, University of Hull; with A/Prof. R. Howitt ($7,700)

ARC Discovery Grant (2003-05): 'Geographies of Resistance to Globalisation'; with Dr S. Sharpe ($90,000)

Research Infrastructure Block Grant (2004) 'Spatial Data Analysis Facility'; with Dr R.Dowling, A/Profs R.Howitt and J.Forrest ($20,000)

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (2003): 'Employment Structure and Profile of Western Sydney'; with Drs R. Dowling and J. Langdale ($42,000)

ARC Large Grant (2001-2003): ' Globalisation and Food Commodity Chains in the Asia-Pacific Region'; with Dr W. Pritchard and Prof. D. Burch ($85,000)

Macquarie University Visiting Scholar Fellowship (2002) 'Sydney as a Global City', Dr Donald McNeill, Kings College London; with Dr R. Dowling ($7,300)          

ARC Large Grant (1997-1999): 'Globalisation and Localisation in Labour Markets: Western Sydney' ($85,000)

National Greenhouse Advisory Committee (1991-9996) to establish the Climatic Impacts Centre; with Professors A. Henderson-Sellers, P. Curson and R. Blong ($285,000)


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  • The Fagans (1992) Common Treasury , CD/cassette, independently published.
  • The Fagans (1997) Kitchen Dance , CD, independently published.
  • The Fagans (2002) Turning Fine , CD, independently published.
  • The Fagans (2010) Milk and Honey Land, CD, independently published.

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External Appointments

  • President, Institute of Australian Geographers (1998-2000)
  • Member, National Committee for Geography (2004-2006)
  • Member: editorial advisory board: European Urban and Regional Studies (2000-2007)

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  • 2001 Macdonald Holmes Medal of the Geographical Society of NSW and the Geography Teachers Association of NSW for distinguished contribution to geographical education.
  • 2004 J.P. Thomson Medal of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland for distinguished contributions to Geography in Australia

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