Dr. Lachlan MacKinnon, Canada Research Chair in Post-Industrial Communities, traces the global forces that shape de-industrialization, from capital mobility to public policy and technological advancement. He and his research team are also underscoring the ways in which industrial decline has informed social relationships, ecology, culture and economy in post-industrial places.
Developing a better awareness of these issues is more relevant than ever as de-industrialized places increasingly form the epicentre of populist political movements across North America and Europe.
MacKinnon’s research is informed by three main lines of inquiry. The first explores de-industrialization from a transnational perspective, drawing together disparate experiences from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. This provides an opportunity to develop a “best practices” framework for economically revitalizing depleted communities and regions.
The second uses oral histories to underscore the health and environmental impacts of industrial production and the sites and spaces that are left behind after workplaces close.
The third examines the use and re-use of post-industrial landscapes to reveal how collective experiences of industrial production remain contested in public memory and through industrial heritage sites.