Karen Bakker, a Professor at the University of British Columbia, holds a Canada Research Chair in Political Ecology and is director of the Program on Water Governance. The program conducts interdisciplinary research on water sustainability and advises decision makers in national and international organizations, such as the United Nations, on issues such as water security, privatization and development. Karen, a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford, has authored or edited over 100 scientific publications, including five books. She has conducted research in 11 countries around the world.
Karen works at the intersection of economic and environmental geography. Her primary research interests span political economy, political ecology, environmental studies, development studies, and resource and environmental management. She conducts research in both the “developing” and “developed” worlds, and has an interest in debates over postcolonialism and development. Her theoretical interests currently focus on the debate over the use of markets and market instruments in environmental management (the “neoliberal nature” debate). Her primary research focus for the past few years has been on water governance in the context of neoliberalism (water privatization, decentralization of water management).