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Oliver Froehling


BA Geography and Environmental Studies (with high distinction) University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1991)
MA Geography, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1993)


Originally from Germany, I did most of my academic work in the US, first in Nebraska and then my unfinished PhD work in Kentucky. In 1996 I went to Oaxaca, Mexico to start my doctoral research on indigenous autonomy and quickly became part of several social processes and movements, culminating in the founding several NGOs in Oaxaca. My main connection to UK is as director of the geography summer program, which allows students to participate in some of the the activities of our Organization SURCO  while learning about social and environmental justice. In particular, there are projects on community media and indigenous movements, on coalition building, on resistance against mining, and the questionable use of a discourses of sustainability in land dispossession.

My situation on the interface between academia and social movements has also led me to rethink the purpose of research and theory in a more practical way. Much of the work I am involved in in Oaxaca is on using academic tools and connections for social movements, i.e. the formulation of theories and production of data to achieve a particular goal.  In that sense, I see a lot of overlap and potential for academic research and knowledge production in contributing to the struggles of  people pushing for social and political change. One of our initiatives currently under development is establishing ways in which academic research can contribute more to communities and social movements, while letting itself guided by the same. In that sense, our organization aspires to be a think-tank for and by social movements in southern Mexico. 



A.    Articles and Book chapters

“Managerialism in Motion: Lessons from Oaxaca.” (with John Paul Jones III and Susan M. Roberts) Journal of Latin American Studies, 2011, v 43, n. 4, pp. 633-662.


 “Neoliberal development through technical assistance: Constructing communities of entrepreneurial subjects in Oaxaca, Mexico.” (with Margath Walker, Susan Roberts and John Paul Jones III), Geoforum, 2008, v. 39, n.1, pp. 527-542.


 “When Participation Meets Empowerment: The WWF and the Politics of Invitation in the Chimalapas, Mexico.” (with David Walker, John Paul Jones III and Susan M. Roberts). Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97 (2), 2007, pp. 423–444.


 “Mapping the Grassroots: Regional structure of NGO formalization in Oaxaca, Mexico”. (with Sarah Moore, Jamie Winders, Oliver Fröhling, John Paul Jones III and Susan M. Roberts), Journal of International Development 18, 2006, pp.1-15.


“NGOs and the Globalization of Managerialism: A Research Framework”(with Susan Roberts and John Paul Jones III), World Development, Vol. 33, NO. 11, 2005, pp. 1845-1864.


"New World Warriors:  a Comparative Analysis of the Zapatista and

US Patriot Movements" (with Carole Gallaher), Social and Cultural Geography, Vol.3, No 1, 2002 ,pp.81-102.


"Imagining the Mexican Election," (with John Paul Jones III and Carole Gallaher), Antipode, Vol. 33, No.1, 2001, pp.1-16.


"Internauts and Guerilleros: The Zapatista rebellion in  Chiapas, Mexico and its extension into Cyberspace," in Virtual Geographies: Bodies, Spaces and Relations. in Crang, Michael, Phil Crang and Jon May, eds. New York: Routledge, 1999, pp. 164-177.


"A war of Ink and Internet: Cyberspace and the Uprising in Chiapas." Geographical Review. Vol.  87, No. 2, 1997, 291-307