David Fig

David Fig

Research Associate


My doctoral training was in political economy and I have also practiced as an environmental sociologist.  I have taught at UCT and Wits Universities, and engaged in training programmes in a number of southern African countries. My area of research includes southern Africa and Latin America, specifically looking at energy, biodiversity, food and agriculture, extractivism, corporate behaviour, environmental policy and South-South relations.

I am currently a Fellow of the Transnational Institute, a global think-tank linking scholarship and activism, based in Amsterdam. I also have research links with the Society, Work and Development Institute’s Nature and Society Cluster and the School of Public Health, both of which are at the University of the Witwatersrand. In the past I have worked, amongst others, with the Department of Environmental Affairs, Greenpeace, Wits School of Environment, Southern Africa Resource Watch, International Social Science Council, African Biodiversity Network, and the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference Justice and Peace Programme.

I am chair of the Board of Biowatch South Africa, a pioneering NGO concerned with agro-ecology, food sovereignty and biosafety. I have also served on the Boards of South African National Parks, LEAD Southern Africa, the International Sociology Association Research Committee on Environment and Society, and the African Uranium Alliance. My publications include books, monographs, book chapters and journal articles, some of which have appeared in French, Portuguese, Spanish and German.

My passions include nature, travel, fine arts, literature and cinema. My heroines/heros include Vandana Shiva, Bob Marley, Desmond Tutu and Catherine Deneuve.