Above: Meditation on the separation of nature and culture. Photo: Canniford.
Robin graduated from the University of Exeter in 2007 with a PhD in Social Sciences. Having learned to surf in the subzero temperatures of the North Atlantic winter, he was drawn to the Southern Hemisphere by pictures of people surfing without gloves. Since 2010, he has lived on Victoria’s Surf Coast, and works at the University of Melbourne where he is a co-director of the Cluster for Organisation, Society, Markets (COSM) in the faculty of Business and Economics.
Robin’s research investigates how ‘nature’ is figured in markets through various cultural practices, of which surfing is a rich example. Recently he has sought to understand how people maintain categories of nature and culture as separate and distinct when they are regularly experienced and consumed as hybrids, natural and cultural ‘things’ all jumbled up together. His recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research explains that everyday ‘purifying practices’ are required to maintain nature/culture as a productive dualism for the reproduction of capital. Nevertheless, it is these practices that often produce unhelpful consequences and tensions in the way that ‘nature’ is economically conceptualized and managed.
Robin is also interested in the manners in which human subjects are constituted by and influence the formation of markets and has investigated the manners in which surfers are framed as primitive in popular cultural outlets between the late-18th and the mid-20th Centuries. He is a coeditor of Routledge’s forthcoming Assembling Consumption and he is a regular visitor at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center.