As I mentioned in a previous blog post, back in August the third paper derived from my PhD was published in New Political Economy. It was quite an important moment for me, not just from a work point of view, but also from a personal angle.
I passed my viva back in November 2013, and started working in Coventry University in January 2014. On my very first day, my then-line manager sat me down to discuss priorities over the coming year and how to achieve them. I was a Research Assistant and had a bunch of my time taken up with a string of new projects; however, I was also allowed some time to work on publishing my PhD.
From that meeting came a plan to publish 3 papers, closely following my PhD’s empirical chapters. Very broadly, these papers would cover:
- Where do markets for biodiversity offsets come from?
- How is biodiversity brought into the markets? and
- Why don’t these markets expand further?
Sounds simple, right? Wrong.
It turns out that when you do a PhD via the classic route (a whole thesis) you are not exactly prepared for publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Reasons include, for example, the fact that it is difficult to separate the various sections of your thesis (where you worked really hard to blend those things together in the first place); the fact that your literature review is probably unbalanced; and the fact that writing an 8k words peer-reviewed journal is very different from writing what is, in essence, an 80k words book.
In the end, I did publish those three papers.
- Where do markets for biodiversity offsets come from? eventually became Political markets, in the Review of Social Economy;
- How is biodiversity brought into the markets? became Contested instruments, in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal; and
- Why don’t these markets expand further? became Failure to expand, in New Political Economy.
Taken together, you could call my thesis Politics, measurement and morals: The biodiversity offsets trilogy* – a name I am cribbing from one of my favourite books, Matt Ruff’s classic post-cyberpunk romp Sewer, gas and electric: The public works trilogy.
So there you have it! Less than 5 years later, the main lines of inquiry of my PhD have been published, and I am pleased** with the results. There may be a final publication coming up (waiting for confirmation on that one), but these are the main points. It took time, it took quite a lot of toil, tears and sweat, and it taught me to deal with rejection. And I am really, really proud of each of those three papers.
*What you should absolutely NOT do, under any circumstances, is to call your thesis something like – oh, I don’t know – like Performativity and pluralities of biodiversity offsetting experiments: towards a synthesis of economy as instituted process and economy as performativity. Which I did. And I am sorry.
**Subject to terms and conditions.