Photograph of Professor Rhys Jones.Professor Rhys Jones



Office: J7
Phone: +44 (0)1970 622 594


Departmental Administrative Duties: Director of Learning and Teaching for IGES; Head of New Political Geographies Research Group; Scheme Leader for BA Daearyddiaeth (semester 1)

University Administrative Duties: Member of the School of Welsh-Medium Studies; Member of Aberystwyth University’s Joint Committee on the use of Welsh; Member of Mentro Iaith’s Working Group (the project for widening participation in mid and west Wales).

University of Wales Administrative Duties: Member of the Welsh-medium Environment Network Panel; Member of the Board of Celtic Studies' Publications and Collaborative Research Panel

Other Responsibilties: Book Editor for Space and Polity; Member of the AHRC's Peer Review College; AHRC Panel Member (History in 2009).

Teaching Areas

Modules Taught

Module coordinator for:

  • Pobl, Lle A Chenedl (DA10110)
  • Cyflwyniad I Ddaearyddiaeth Ddynol (DA12610)
  • Amgylchedd Cymru (DA10810)
  • Methodoleg Maes Amgylcheddol (DA10910)
  • Cefn Gwlad A'i Phobl (DA10210)
  • Daearyddiaethau Cyfalafieth Hwyr (DA25720)
  • Daear Y Wlad,cenedlaetholdeb, A Diwilliannau Lleiafrifol (DA35020)
  • Daearyddiaeth Wleidyddol (DA28420)
  • Daearyddiaeth Geltaidd (DA31020)
  • Political Geography (GG28310)
  • Globaleiddio A Chwilfriwiad (DA30820)
  • Positioning Political Geography (GGM1440)

Contributes to:

  • Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 1 (DA11910)
  • Tiwtorial Daearyddiaeth Lefel 3 (DA38110)
  • Traethawd Estynedig Daearyddiaeth (DA39130)


Group Affiliation

Research Interests

Over the past ten years the core of my work has been situated within the geographies of the state and its related group identities.  My Ph.D. thesis first led me into this area of research.  This piece of work focused on the various organisational, territorial and cultural changes associated with the state-making process in medieval Wales.  It charted a far-reaching series of changes to the political geographies of Wales between the sixth and fourteenth centuries and used this empirical study to make broader claims concerning the territorial significance of the state and state power.

Two broader strands have emerged from the research interests that I explored as part of my Ph.D.  The first is a wide-ranging concern with the territorial and functional restructuring of the state in more contemporary periods, especially in the context of devolution in the UK.  The recent changes, which have affected the governance of the UK, make it an ideal test site to examine many issues relating to the political, economic, cultural and territorial constitution of states.  In particular, and as part of an ESRC-funded project, I, along with Mark Goodwin and Martin Jones, have examined the ways in which theories of state transformation and the spatialities of state power can be applied to understand the changing geographies of economic governance in the UK since 1997.

The second area of research that I have developed as a result of my doctoral studies is a broad concern with the geographies of group identity in general and with nationalism in particular.  Over the past three years, I have sought to develop a more nuanced understanding of the geographies of nationalism.  At one level, I have attempted to refocus geographical attention away from the study of the landscapes of the nation to the equally critical geographical concepts of place and scale.  In a similar way, I have sought to encourage geographers to take more seriously the processes that help to reproduce nations and national identites, rather than concentrating, as has been the case, on representations of the nation.  I have examined these broad conceptual concerns in two specific research projects.  The first, using focus groups and interviews, explored the link between students, the discipline of Geography and national identity in the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and was conducted in collaboration with Luke Desforges.  The second project, funded by a research grant from the Board of Celtic Studies of the University of Wales and by the AHRC, examined the significance of the town and University of Aberystwyth for the reproduction of Welsh nationalism since the 1960s.  The monograph arising from the project has been produced in a period of research leave supported by the AHRC, as part of its Research Fellowship scheme.

My current work develops these previous interests.  I am currently working on a British Academy funded project, which examines the significance of the Citizens' Advice Bureau as an enabled of British citizenship in the post-SWW period.  The research uses documentary and interview material to evaluate significant geographies of this organisation; in terms of regional and local identities, rurality and the internationalisation of the organisation.  My second current research project examines the notion of soft paternalism (along with Mark Whitehead).  Recent policy initiatives in the UK - and elsewhere - have sought to encourage citizens to act in particular ways, whether in the case of health (e.g. 5-a-day, sexual health campaigns), money (e.g. responsible gambling, default pensions) and the environment (e.g. carbon management, using public transport).  In each of these cases, policies seek to re-define the relationship between the individual and the state and allude to significant isses relating to temporality and spatiality. In temporal terms, these policies seek to ensure that individuals' current proclivities - to spend money, to drink irresponsibly - do not proceed to the extent that they harm the future individuals' health.  At the same time, such policies are also based upon particular spatial and scalar imaginations - with regard, for instance, to the relationship between an embodied individual and a broader national community and a global environment.  Examining these themes enables us to think about broader notions of citizenship and governmentality.


My work lies at the intersection between political, historical and cultural geography and focuses in particular on the various geographies of the state and its related group identities.  I have addressed the geographies of the state in a variety of contexts, ranging from the various organisational, territorial and cultural changes associated with the state-making process in medieval Wales to the more contemporary processes of territorial and functional restructuring affecting the UK state.  My work on these themes has appeared in a variety of different journal articles as well as a monograph - People/States/Territories - published by Blackwell as part of the RGS-IBG Book Series. I have also examined the geographies of group identity in a number of different contexts.  Work here includes my research on the emergence of ethnic identities in medieval Wales and my more current research on the geographies of Welsh identity in the late twentieth century.  This latter work has recently appeared in a book entitled Placing the Nation (with Carwyn Fowler).  My research, to date, has been supported by funding from the ESRC, the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and the University of Wales' Board of Celtic Studies.

I teach on a number of these research themes at undergraduate and postgraduate level.  Most of teaching is done through the medium of Welsh but I also teach on some English-medium modules in the field of political geography.  I have also sought to consolidate my competence in teaching through publishing a textbook entitled An Introduction to Political Geography (with Martin Jones and Mike Woods).  My competence in teaching was confirmed when I received an Aberystwyth University Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005.



Whitehead, M., Lilley, R., Howell, R., Jones, R., Pykett, J. 2016. (RE)Inhabiting Awareness: Geography and Mindfulness. Social and Cultural Geography 17 (4) pp. 553-573. 10.1080/14649365.2015.1089590

Lilley, R., Whitehead, M., Howell, R., Jones, R., Pykett, J. 2016. Mindfulness, Behaviour Change and Engagement in Environmental Policy. Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University Other

Lilley, R., Whitehead, M., Howell, R., Jones, R., Pykett, J. 2016. Mindfulness, Behaviour Change and Engagement in Public Policy - Evaluation Report 2. Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth Other

Jones, R., Ross, A. 2016. National sustainabilities. Political Geography 51 pp. 53-62. 10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.12.002

Merriman, P., Jones, R. 2016. Nations, materialities and affects. Progress in Human Geography 10.1177/0309132516649453

Jones, R., Merriman, P., Mills, S.. 2016. Youth organizations and the reproduction of nationalism in Britain: the role of Urdd Gobaith Cymru. Social and Cultural Geography 17 (5) pp. 714-734. 10.1080/14649365.2016.1139166


Jones, M., Jones, R., Woods, M., Whitehead, M.J., Dixon, D.P., Hannah, M.G. 2014. An Introduction to Political Geography: Space, Place and Politics. 2ndth edn, Taylor & Francis

Whitehead, M., Jones, R., Howell, R., Lilley, R., Pykett, J. 2014. Nudging All Over the World: Assessing the global impact of the behavioural sciences on public policy. Economic and Social Research Council Other

Pykett, J., Jones, R., Welsh, M., Whitehead, M. 2014. The art of choosing and the politics of social marketing. Policy Studies 35 (2) pp. 97-114. 10.1080/01442872.2013.875141 Other

Welsh, M., Jones, R., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M. 2014. The ‘problem gambler’ and socio-spatial vulnerability. In F. Gobet, M. Schiller (eds), Problem Gambling: Cognition, Prevention and Treatment. Palgrave Macmillan, London pp. 156-187. Other Other


Jones, R., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M. 2013. Behaviour Change policies in the UK: An anthropological perspective. Geoforum 48 pp. 33-41. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.03.012

Jones, R.A., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M.J. 2013. Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham 10.4337/9780857936882

Merriman, P.R., Jones, R.A., Cresswell, T.J., Divall, C., Mom, G., Sheller, M., Urry, J. 2013. Mobility: geographies, histories, sociologies. Transfers 3 (1) pp. 147-165. 10.3167/tranS.2013.030111

Jones, R., Heley, J. 2013. Post-pastoral?: Rethinking religion and the reconstruction of rural space. Rurality – New Perspectives and Themes Conference, Bamberg, Germany, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 14/11/2013. Other


Whitehead, M., Jones, R., Pykett, J., Welsh, M. 2012. Geography, libertarian paternalism and neuro-politics in the UK. Geographical Journal 178 (4) pp. 302-307. 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00469.x

Jones, R., Merriman, P. 2012. Network nation. Environment and Planning A 45 (4) pp. 937. 10.1068/a44159

Goodwin, M., Jones, M., Jones, R. 2012. Rescaling the state: Devolution and the geographies of economic governance. Devolution Manchester University Press

Jones, R. 2012. State encounters. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30 (5) pp. 805-821. 10.1068/d9110


Jones, R.A., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M. 2011. Governing Temptation: Changing behaviour in and Age of Libertarian Paternalism. Progress in Human Geography 35 (4) pp. 483-501. 10.1177/0309132510385741 Cadair

Whitehead, M.J., Jones, R., Pykett, J. 2011. Governing irrationality, or a more than rational government? Reflections on the re-scientisation of decision-making in British Public Policy. Environment and Planning A 43 (12) pp. 2819-2837. 10.1068/a43575

Pykett, J., Jones, R.A., Whitehead, M.J., Huxley, M., Strauss, K., Gill, N., Mcgeevor, K., Thompson, L., Newman, J. 2011. Interventions in the political geography of ‘libertarian paternalism’. Political Geography 30 (6) pp. 301-310. 10.1016/j.polgeo.2011.05.003

Jones, R., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M. 2011. The Geographies of Soft Paternalism in the UK: The Rise of the Avuncular State and Changing Behaviour after Neoliberalism. Geography Compass 5 (1) pp. 50-62. 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2010.00403.x


Jones, R.A. 2010. Anssi Paasi. In P. Hubbard, R. Kitchin (eds), Anssi Paasi. Key Thinkers on Space and Place, 2nd edition Sage Publications pp. 315-320.

Jones, R., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M. 2010. Big Society's Little Nudges: The Changing Politics of Health Care in an Age of Austerity. Political Studies 1 (3) pp. 85-87. 10.1111/j.2041-9066.2010.00037.x

Jones, R. 2010. Learning beyond the state: the pedagogical spaces of the CAB service. Citizenship Studies 14 (6) pp. 725-738. 10.1080/13621025.2010.522361 Cadair


Merriman, P., Jones, R. 2009. 'Symbols of Justice': The Welsh Language Society’s campaign for bilingual road signs in Wales, 1967-1980. Journal of Historical Geography 35 (2) pp. 350-375. 10.1016/j.jhg.2008.07.018 Cadair

Jones, R. 2009. Conveying the state: the role of CAB Service advisors. Conveying the state: the role of CAB Service advisors, Royal Geographical Society's annual conference, Manchester 2009, , 26/08/2009 - 28/08/2009.

Jones, R., Pykett, J., Whitehead, M. 2009. Governing temptation: the emerging geographies of soft paternalism. Governing temptation: the emerging geographies of soft paternalism, Royal Geographical Society's annual conference, Manchester 2009, , 26/08/2009 - 28/08/2009.

Jones, R., Merriman, P. 2009. Hot, banal and everyday nationalism: Bilingual road signs in Wales. Political Geography 28 (3) pp. 164-173. 10.1016/j.polgeo.2009.03.002 Cadair

Jones, R. 2009. Making up the Welsh citizen: Wales and the Citizens' Advice Bureau. Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 15 Other


Jones, R.A., Fowler, C.I. 2008. Fractured intellectuals and the nation: Cynog Dafis and Welsh nationalism. Contemporary Wales 21 (1) pp. 130-149. Other

Jones, R.A., Phillips, R. 2008. Imperial and anti-imperial constructions of civilisation: engagements with the pre-modern past. Geopolitics 13 (4) pp. 730-735. 10.1080/14650040802275644

Jones, R.A., Fowler, C.I. 2008. Placing the Nation: Aberystwyth and the Reproduction of Welsh Nationalism. Politics and Society in Wales Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru | University of Wales Press

Jones, R.A. 2008. Relocating nationalism: on the geographies of reproducing nations. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 33 (3) pp. 319-334. 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2008.00306.x

Jones, R. 2008. The political geographies of the Welsh nation. In G. Herb, D. Kaplan (eds), Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview. Greenwood Publishing Group

Jones, R.A. 2008. Wales. In G. Herb, D. Kaplan (eds), Nations and Nationalism: A Global Historical Overview. 1st edn, Greenwood Publishing Group pp. 1631-1641.


Jones, R. 2007. People - States - Territories: The Political Geographies of British State Transformation. Wiley Cadair

Fowler, C.I., Jones, R. 2007. Placing and scaling the nation. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25 (2) pp. 332-354. 10.1068/d68j Other Cadair

Whitehead, M., Jones, R.A., Jones, M.R. 2007. The nature of the state: excavating the political ecologies of the modern state. Oxford University Press

Jones, R., Fowler, C.I. 2007. Where is Wales?: Narrating the territories and borders of the Welsh linguistic nation. Regional Studies 41 (1) pp. 89-101. 10.1080/00343400600928343


Goodwin, M., Jones, M.R., Jones, R.A. 2006. Devolution and economic governance in the UK: Rescaling territories and organizations. European Planning Studies 14 (7) pp. 979-995. 10.1080/09654310500496446

Jones, R.A., Jones, M.R., Whitehead, M. 2006. Spatializing the Ecological Leviathan: Territorial Strategies and the Production of Regional Natures. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 88 (1) pp. 49-65. 10.1111/j.0435-3684.2006.00205.x Cadair Other

Goodwin, M., Jones, M.R., Jones, R.A. 2006. The theoretical challenge of devolution and constitutional change in the United Kingdom. In M. Tewdwr-Jones, P. Allmendinger (eds), Territory, Identity and Spatial Planning: Spatial governance in a fragmented nation. Taylor & Francis pp. 35-46. Other


Jones, R., Fowler, C.I. 2005. Aberystwyth: Cryd cenedlaetholeb Cymreig. Barn

Goodwin, M.A., Jones, M.R., Jones, R.A. 2005. Devolution, constitutional change and economic development: explaining and understanding the new institutional geographies of the British state. Regional Studies 39 (4) pp. 421-436. 10.1080/00343400500128432 Cadair

Jones, M., Goodwin, M.A., Jones, R. 2005. Economic governance and devolution. Regional Studies 39

Fowler, C.I., Jones, R. 2005. Environmentalism and nationalism in the UK. Environmental Politics 14 (4) pp. 541-545. 10.1080/09644010500215407 Other

Jones, R.A., Goodwin, M., Jones, M.R., Pett, K. 2005. Filling in' the state: economic governance and the evolution of devolution in Wales. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 23 (3) pp. 337-360. 10.1068/c39m

Desforges, L.C., Jones, R., Woods, M. 2005. New Geographies of Citizenship. Citizenship Studies 9 (5) pp. 439-451. 10.1080/13621020500301213 Other

Jones, M.D., Goodwin, M.A., Jones, R. 2005. State modernization, devolution and economic governance: An introduction and guide to debate. Regional Studies 39 (4) pp. 397-403. 10.1080/00343400500128374

Phillips, R., Jones, R. 2005. Unsettling geographical horizons: Exploring premodern and non-european imperialism. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 95 (1) pp. 141-161. 10.1111/j.1467-8306.2005.00453.x Cadair


Jones, M., Jones, R., Woods, M. 2004. An Introduction to Political Geography: Space, Place and Politics. 1stth edn, Taylor & Francis

Jones, R.A., Goodwin, M., Jones, M.R., Simpson, G. 2004. Devolution, state personnel, and the production of new territories of governance in the United Kingdom. Environment and Planning A 36 (1) pp. 89-109. 10.1068/a3685 Other

Jones, M.R., Jones, R.A. 2004. Nation states, ideological power and globalisation: can geographers catch the boat? Geoforum 35 (4) pp. 409-424. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2003.12.002

Jones, R. 2004. What time human geography? Progress in Human Geography 28 (3) pp. 287-304. 10.1191/0309132504ph481oa Cadair


Goodwin, M., Jones, M.R., Jones, R.A., Pett, K., Simpson, G. 2002. Devolution and economic governance in the UK: uneven geographies, uneven capacities? Local Economy 17 (3) pp. 200-215. 10.1080/02690940210152559