Hour of consultation summer semester 2024:

Wednesday, 12 -1 p.m.


Dr. habil. Oliver Pye is adjunct professor for international and intersocietal relations at the University of Kassel, standing in for Prof. Hans-Jürgen Burchardt. Oliver studied forestry in Freiburg, received his PhD in forestry from Dresden University on the topic of forest politics in Thailand. Since 2005 he has taught Southeast Asian Studies at Bonn University. He has a habilitation in Development Studies. His main research foci are Political Ecology, Social Movements and Labour Geography, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Research Interest

• Development theory and North-South relations
• Political Ecology and social-ecological transformation
• Labour Geography and labour movements

Regional focus: Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Indonesia

Recent Publications

  • Dietz, Kristina, Bettina Engels, Oliver Pye and Achim Brunnengräber (eds.) (2015): The Political Ecology of Agrofuels. London: Routledge.
  • Pye, Oliver and Jayati Bhattacharya (eds.) (2012): The Palm Oil Controversy. A Transnational Perspective. Singapore: ISEAS.
  • Pye, Oliver (2023): Civil Society and Environmentalism: Crossing frontiers of activism. In: Hansson, Eva and Meredith L. White (eds): Routledge Handbook of Civil and Uncivil Society in Southeast Asia. London/Routledge, 329-345.
  • Pye, Oliver (2022): Lohnarbeit und Naturverhältnis am Beispiel der Palmölproduktion. In: Gottschlich, Daniela, Sarah Hackfort, Tobias Schmitt, Uta von Winterfeld (eds): Handbuch Politische Ökologie. Bielefeld/Transkript Verlag, 215-225.
  • Pye, Oliver (2022): Fossil Capitalism the ASEAN Way. In: Marquardt, Jens, Laurence L. Delina and Mattijs Smits (Hg.) (2022): Governing Climate Change in Southeast Asia – Critical Perspectives. London and New York: Routledge, 227–248.
  • Pye, Oliver (2021): Geographical Research. In: Akram-Lodhi, Haroon, Kristina Dietz, Bettina Engels, and Ben McKay (eds.): The Edward Elgar Handbook of Critical Agrarian Studies. Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar.
  • Brunner, Jan und Oliver Pye (2019): Kämpfe gegen Ausbeutung. In: Brunner, Jan, Anna Dobelmann, Sarah Kirst und Louisa Prause (Hrg.). Wörterbuch Land- und Rohstoffkonflikte (Hrsg. Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag, S. 167-173.
  • Pye, Oliver (2017): Klimaschutz im Norden, Entwicklung im Süden? Europäische Agrotreibstoffpolitik und Palmölexpansion in Südostasien. In: Peters, Stefan / Burchardt, Hans-Jürgen (Hrg.): Umwelt und Entwicklung in globaler Perspektive: Ressourcen – Konflikte – Degrowth. Frankfurt (Main): Campus, 159-180.
  • Pye, Oliver (2016): Deconstructing the RSPO. The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Palm Oil Industrial Complex. In: Cramb, Rob and John McCarthy (eds.): The Oil Palm Complex: Agrarian Transformation, State Policy, and Environmental Change in Indonesia and Malaysia. Singapore: NUS.
  • Lassak, Martin and Oliver Pye (2016): Social Movements, State Power and Party Networks in the Kingdom of Thailand. In: Fadaee, Simin (ed.): Understanding Southern Social Movements. London: Routledge.
  • Pye, Oliver (2015): Eine kurze politische Ökologie Indonesiens. In: Stange, Gunnar, Rolf Jordan und Kristina Großmann (Hrg.): Handbuch Indonesien. Berlin: Horlemann Verlag.
  • Pye, Oliver (2015): Transnational space and workers’ struggles: reshaping the palm oil industry in Malaysia. In: Dietz, Kristina, Bettina Engels, Oliver Pye and Achim Brunnengräber  (eds.): The Political Ecology of Agrofuels. London: Routledge.
  • Dietz, Kristina, Bettina Engels, Oliver Pye and Achim Brunnengräber (2015): An introduction to the political ecology of agrofuels. In: Dietz, Kristina, Bettina Engels, Oliver Pye and Achim Brunnengräber  (eds.): The Political Ecology of Agrofuels. London: Routledge.
  • Dietz, Kristina, Bettina Engels and Oliver Pye (2015): Territory, scale and networks: the spatial dynamics of agrofuels. In: Dietz, Kristina, Bettina Engels, Oliver Pye and Achim Brunnengräber (eds.): The Political Ecology of Agrofuels. London: Routledge.
  • Pye, Oliver (2014): Wie nachhaltig ist der Roundtable on Sustainable Palmoil (RSPO)? In: Hirschl, Bernd et al. (Hrsg): Biokraftstoffe zwischen Sackgasse und Energiewende – Sozial-ökologische und transnationale Perspektiven, Oekom Verlag, 155-184.
  • Pye, Oliver und Julia (2014): Climate Politics and the Gendered Palm Oil Landscapes of Southeast Asia. In: Dannenberg, Petra und Birte Rodenberg (Hrsg): Klimaveränderung, Umwelt und Geschlechterverhältnisse im Wandel – neue interdisziplinäre Ansätze und Perspektiven. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot.
  • Pye, Oliver and Nantawat Chatuthai (2023). Three populisms and two dead ends: Variants of agrarian populism in Thailand. Journal of Agrarian Change, 23( 1), 4767.
  • Pye, Oliver (2021): Intersektional national? Lehren aus der militanten indonesischen Plantagengewerkschaft SARBUPRI. Arbeit – Bewegung – Geschichte. Zeitschrift für historische Studien. Im Erscheinen.
  • Pye, Oliver (2021): Agrarian Marxism and the Proletariat: A Palm Oil Manifesto. Journal of Peasant Studies 48 (4), 807-826.
  • Pye, Oliver (2019): Commodifying sustainability: Development, nature and politics in the palm oil industry. World Development 121, 218-228.
  • Pye, Oliver (2017): Für einen labour turn in der Umweltbewegung. Umkämpfte Naturverhältnisse und Strategien sozial-ökologischer Transformation. Prokla 189: 517-534.
  • Radjawali, Irendra and Oliver Pye (2017): Drones for Justice. Inclusive Technology and river-related action research along the Kapuas. Geographica Helvetica 72, 17-27.
  • Radjawali, Irendra, Oliver Pye and Michael Flitner (2017): Recognition through Reconnaissance? Using Drones for Counter-mapping in Indonesia. Journal of Peasant Studies Special Issue on Southeast Asian Perspectives on Agrarian-Environmental Transformations, 44:4, 817-833.
  • Pye, Oliver (2017): A Transnational Plantation Precariat. Fragmentation and Organising Potential in the Palm Oil Global Production Network. Development and Change Forum, 48 (5): 942-964.
  • Pye, Oliver, Irendra Radjawali and Julia (2017): Land Grabs and the River. Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue canadienne d’études du développement, 38:3, 378-394.
  • Kristina Dietz, Oliver Pye und Bettina Engels (2016): Sozial-räumliche Dynamiken der Agrartreibstoffe. Transnationale Netzwerke, skalare Rekonfigurationen, umkämpfte Orte und Territorien. PROKLA 184, 423-440.

Research Projects

The network aims to anchor Labour Geography as an independent research field in German-speaking geography. Labour Geography places the spatially relevant actions of working people and workers’ movements at the centre of the analysis of geographical development processes. In the English-speaking world, it has become a recognised sub-discipline of geography, and in recent years increasingly includes perspectives that address everyday actions, informal work, social reproduction, new forms of organisation and actors from the Global South. The network aims to bring together German-speaking academics who research and publish with and on Labour Geography. The aim is to achieve synergy effects that contribute to the establishment of the sub-discipline in the German-speaking academic world and to the further development of international Labour Geography.

For this purpose, the network plans to work on and update two overarching thematic fields – global transformation processes and social-ecological reproduction. In the thematic strand “Global Transformation Processes”, we want to build upon cutting-edge research (also by network members) that asks how workers and their organisations react to and shape the transnationalisation and digitalisation of production processes. Theoretically, this combines a subject-focused perspective with new debates on the structures and causes of global inequality. In the thematic strand “Social-ecological Reproduction”, ongoing work of the network members on social reproductive labour and the embedding of labour in social relations of nature will be discussed and further developed. In doing so, the discussion is linked to more recent debates on the social significance and status of work. The network will also work on two cross-cutting themes: Firstly, a (global-local) Labour Geography of the Covid 19 pandemic and secondly methodological questions of Labour Geography research.

The network will work together in a goal-oriented manner over a period of three years in six intensive, three-day working meetings. The focus will be on joint publications: A German-language “Handbook of Labour Geography”; a special issue on “New Perspectives in Labour Geography” in a German-language geographical journal; as well as further topic-specific articles in German-language and international academic journals. The development of these publications is supported by an intensive exchange with renowned international representatives of Labour Geography. The network also aims to explicitly support young researchers and offer them opportunities for further development. We aim to consolidate and continue the cooperation beyond the end of the network project, for example through joint research work.

Together with the Transnational Palm Oil Labor Solidarity (TPOLS) network and the Swiss Church Aid (HEKS), the project is developing a Just Transition perspective for the palm oil industry. A collective of scholars and activists is conducting action research with palm oil workers in five provinces of Indonesia on the relationship between labour and nature. We first examine how ecological issues in the production of palm oil are perceived and problematized by workers. This is done from a perspective of social reproduction. In further steps, ideas for a socio-ecological transformation of the palm oil industry are developed, based on both ecological and social standards from the perspective of workers. The project not only collaborates with trade unions, but also with indigenous and feminist groups. The transnational aspects of such a transformation strategy (e.g. along the value chain) will be eroded e.g. through an exchange with the trade union Nahrung, Genuss, Gaststätten (NGG) in Germany.

Oliver Pye schreibt regelmäßig für die Zeitschriften Jungle World (Link: https://jungle.world/suche?keys=pye&suche%5B0%5D=autor_in%3A874), Südostasien (Link https://suedostasien.net/author/o-pye/) und iz3w (Link: https://www.iz3w.org/autor-in/oliver-pye)