Dr Sophie Webber

SEI Researcher

School of Geoscience,
University of Sydney

Sophie is a human geographer, who conducts research about the political economies of climate change and international development assistance, principally in South East Asia and the Pacific region. In particular, Sophie studies how ‘truth’ (knowledge claims and expertise), ‘capital’ (financial flows and investments), and policy packages structure relations between the minority and majority worlds. Methodologically, this research requires relational fieldwork, examining how climatological and developmental crises and problems are interpreted, storied, and managed, both by local and governmental authorities, as well as by distant international experts such as the World Bank.

Within this broad interest, Sophie is currently working on three related projects. The first is an ongoing engagement with the roll-out of climate change adaptation programming in Pacific Islands, and by international development experts. Building on this research, Sophie is currently examining efforts by climate scientists and development experts to create bundles of useful climate science, called ‘climate services’, and the commercialization that this entails. The second concerns the rise of evidence-based policy-making, including the proliferation of randomized control trials to assess development interventions. The third project is a collaborative investigation of the growth of urban resilience frameworks, associated financial tools, and their attempted implementation in Jakarta.