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Herta Macht Thesis Prize

Winner Herta Macht Thesis Prize 2018

The Herta Macht Thesis Prize 2018 has been won by Edward Bolton from the University of Amsterdam with his thesis: “The Constructed Resource; Actor-Network Theory & The Estonian Energy Assemblage”. He was selected unanimously by an independent jury consisting of Prof Huib Ernste, Ilse van Liempt, Mark Sekuur and chaired by Prof Frank Vanclay. The examiners considered that the thesis was highly original and innovative in its multidisciplinary approach and praiseworthy in its way of applying theory. The award ceremony took place on Thursday 28 June 2018 during the fifth Graduate Research Day of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

Summary of the thesis

Responding to calls for a multi-disciplinary perspective on energy geographies, Edward Bolton utilized an Actor-Network Theory framework to examine Estonia’s energy assemblage. He examined Estonia’s continued use of low-efficiency, high carbon fuels to provide economic and energetic functions which are argued by political actors to be essential for continued energy security. Given increasing environmental concerns, his work specifically examined the increasingly precarious position of oil shale as an acceptable fuel source. His analysis took place through a historically contingent, ANT-based assessment of oil shale and its position in Estonia’s wider energy assemblage. He concluded that, to understand the various dynamics, it is necessary to consider the socio-symbolic identification of the ‘constructed resource’. Contrary to political rhetoric, these constructions are led by groups of actors, notably political actors and large energy corporations, for reasons other than the idea of national energy security.

Previous Herta Macht Thesis Prize winners

2017: The Herta Macht Thesis Prize 2017 has been won by Rik Huizinga of University of Groningen with his thesis: “Place attachment: Syrian male refugee experiences in the Northern Netherlands”. Download the thesis abstract.

2016: The winner of 2016 is Carmen Pérez del Pulgar Frowein of University of Amsterdam with her thesis: Porosity of multilingual spaces. Download the thesis abstract

2015: In 2015, the jury decided that a shared first prize was the most appropriate outcome because of the high quality of the shortlisted contenders. Therefore the 2015 Herta Macht Thesis Prize was shared by:

  • Konstantinos Gourzis (Radboud University Nijmegen) with his thesis: Fashion in Gentrifying Urban Spaces: The case of the Fashion Quarter in Klarendal, Arnhem. An observation from the jury’s report: “A research with a surprising approach and both socially and scientifically relevant topic. The structure and readability is fine. The study was conducted methodologically well, with a good combination of primary and secondary data collection. The holistic approach is excellent.”
  • Thaddeus Bergé (Radboud University Nijmegen) with his thesis: The Soyazation of Argentina: An Actor Network Analysis of the Soya Production in the Argentine Provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero. An observation from the jury’s report: “A brave decision of Bergé to see how far the ANT-approach extends presented in an empirical study of the soybean sector in two Argentine provinces. He manages to make the transition from theoretical considerations of Latour to fieldwork among actors in the soy sector. He overcomes many practical problems (language, distance, accessibility to reactants) and comes to convincing conclusions. Innovative - finally we have a study that shows what may constitute an ANT approach. I hope Bergé can muster the energy to condense his thesis to an article in a leading academic journal.”

2014: Kolar Aparna (Radboud University) won the prize with her Master thesis: Re-mapping the U.S.-Mexico Border.

2013: Renske van der Wal (University of Groningen) with her Master thesis: Plaatsbetekenis in hospices Een casestudy in de hospice van Groningen.

2012: Jeroen Beekmans (University of Amsterdam) with his Master thesis: Check-In Urbanism. Exploring Gentrification through Foursquare Activity.

2011: Marloes van Houten (University of Amsterdam) with her Master thesis: Nepal’s Civil War and its Impact Conflict Impact, Social Capital and Resilient Institutions in the CPN-Maoist Heartland Communities.

2010: Michiel van den Bergh (University of Amsterdam) with his Master thesis: Destructive Attraction: Blue Birds-of-paradise and local inhabitants; an equilibrium?

2009: Anu Kõu (University of Groningen) with her Master thesis on Estonian migrants to the Netherlands, entitled: Perceived Consequences of Migration on the Social Networks and Adaptation of Long-Term Migrants: Estonians in the Netherlands.

2008: Denise Kroes (Utrecht University) won the prize with a thesis entitled: Community-Based Tourism: a Way out of Poverty?

2007: Vincent Breen (University of Groningen) with his Master thesis: Roadside Monuments: Sites for Reflection.

2006: Marieke van der Sloot (University of Amsterdam) won the very first Thesis Prize in 2006, with a thesis on young Tibetans in India, entitled: I-Eye Tibet: Autovideographies Depicting Ethno-National Identity in the Daily Lives of Young Tibetans in Dharamsala, India.

Last modified:19 July 2018 2.15 p.m.