Personal profile

Personal profile

Thomas Dekeyser is a cultural geographer and urban ethnographer with an interest in digital technologies, urban politics, and theories of refusal. He has published on topics including the politics of negativity, the concept of 'worldlessness', resistance to advertising through ‘subvertising’, the material geographies of advertising, artistic interventions into architecture, challenges of deep ethnographies and ethnographic research ethics. 

He is currently a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow (2019-2022) in the Centre for the GeoHumanities where he is conducting a study titled ‘Techno-Negative: a philosophical history of refusal’ which traces a radical rejection of technology throughout history. Empirical case-studies include Archimedes - the world’s first machine-breaker - Christian abbeys refusing statues and architectural feats in medieval times, anti-colonial refusal of Western technological missionaries, lantern smashing in revolutionary France, and ultra left bombings of computer servers in the late 20th century.

He is also a film maker who, most recently, (co-)directed and produced an experimental documentary titled 'Machines in Flames' about abolitionist resistance to cybernetic computation in 1980s France.

He teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate level. As part of this, he runs a third-year module titled 'Hacking Space: City, Media, Affect'; teaches 'introduction to cultural geography' (MA) sessions; teaches geohumanities methods, activist methods, and qualitative research ethics; teaches on field trips; supervises Master students; and marks essays and dissertations.

His PhD at the University of Southampton, titled ‘Subvertising: on the life and death of advertising’, was an ethnographic study into the globally emergent practice of 'subvertising': illegal interventions into urban advertising space (including graffiti scribbles, poster replacement, sabotage, and digital hacking). 

Before undertaking his PhD, Thomas took an MA in Cultural Geography (Royal Holloway) and an MA in Brand Development (Goldsmiths), and spent two years working as an advertising strategist for the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Visiting Research Fellow, Goldsmiths - University of London

1 Feb 2019 → …

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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