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Paul Foley


Dr. Paul Foley, B.A. (Hons) (First Class) (Memorial University), M.A. (Dalhousie University), Ph.D. (York University); Associate Professor

Phone: (709) 639-2771

Email: pfoley@grenfell.mun.ca

Office: FC2018


  • International and comparative political economy
  • Political ecology
  • Development and environmental change (e.g. fisheries)
  • Environmental politics and policy
  • Market-oriented environmental policy and governance (e.g. eco-certification and eco-labeling)
  • Global environmental governance​​



I am a political economist with teaching and research interests in environmental governance and socio-economic development. I received my Ph.D. in political science from York University in 2012 after receiving an M.A. in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University in 2006. As a scholar, I am trained in the interdisciplinary fields of critical international political economy and development studies. My research goal is to create knowledge about relationships among environmental governance, sustainable development, and social justice at global and local levels. I serve as a member of the board of directors for the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, Food First NL (formerly the Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador), and the People and the Sea Film Festival.



I teach graduate courses such as Environmental Policy 6003 (Environmental Political Thought) and Environmental Policy 6052 (Political Economy, Political Ecology, and Policy) and undergraduate courses such as Political Science 4650 (Public Policy in Resource Dependent Economies) and Political Science 2600 (Introduction to Public Policy and Administration). I have supervised students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, with most of my supervision dedicated to students in the MA in Environmental Policy program.



My research engages theoretical and empirical literatures from political economy and, more recently, political ecology to examine relationships between environmental governance, economic development, and social justice. I incorporate different disciplinary approaches and methodologies in my research, which has been funded by SSHRC and NSERC in collaborations with geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, biologists, a trade union, and community partners. My main research projects currently focus on the political economy of governance through transnational social and environmental certifications and the political ecology of resource access and development for marginalized communities and groups. The first project is concerned with questions such as why non-governmental, market-oriented eco-certification and eco-labeling programs have emerged and proliferated in the fisheries sector and how the programs interact with local producers and the ecologies upon which they depend. The second project is concerned with questions such as how can marginalized communities secure and maintain access to resource development benefits and what alternatives exist to the highly privatized neo-liberal policy approaches that have caused social displacement and dispossession, as well as ecological degradation, throughout the world. To date, the empirical focus of my research has been on fisheries and seafood sectors, with fieldwork experience taking place in a range of areas from indigenous communities of Nunatsiavut (northern Labrador) to industry and government boardrooms in Canada and Iceland. I welcome inquiries from students interested in these or similar themes in the fisheries sector, as well as other environmental and resource sectors such as agriculture, forestry, mining, oil and gas, environmental services.



Selected Publications

Foley, P. (in press 2018). A Coxian perspective on transnational business governance proliferation: counter-hegemonic movements in fisheries. In S. Wood, K.W. Abbott, E. Meidinger, B. Eberlein, & R. Schmidt (Eds.). Transnational Business Governance Interactions. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Foley, P., Mather, C., Dawe, N., & Snook, J. (in press 2018). Creative and constrained hybridizations in subarctic Inuit communities:  communal fishery development in Nunatsiavut, Canada. In C.P Heidkamp & J. Morissey (Eds.). Towards Coastal Resilience and Sustainability. Routledge. 


Foley, P., & Mather, C. (2018). Ocean grabbing, terraqueous territoriality and social development. Territory, Politics, Governance. DOI: 10.1080/21622671.2018.1442245


Bennett, N., Kaplan-Hallam, M., Augustine, G., Ban, N., Belhabib, D., Brueckner-Irwin, I., Charles, T., Couture, J., Eger, S., Fanning, L.,Foley, P., Goodfellow, A. M., Harper, S., Greba, L., Gregr, E., Hall, D., Maloney, B., McIsaac, J., Ou, W., Pinkerton, E., Porter, D., Satterfield, T., Sparrow, R., Stephenson, R., Stocks, A., Sumaila, R., Sutcliffe, T., & Bailey, M. (2018). Coastal and Indigenous community access to fisheries and the ocean: a policy challenge and imperative for Canada. Marine Policy, 87, 186-193.


Foley, P., & Mather, C. (in press). Bringing seafood into food regime analysis: the global political economy of Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. In C. Keske (Ed.). Food Futures: Growing a Sustainable Food System for Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's: ISER Books.


Foley, P. (2017). The territorialization of transnational sustainability governance: production, power, and globalization in Iceland's fisheries. Environmental Politics, 26(5), 915-937.


Fox, C., van Zyll de Jong, M., Hearn, B., Moores, L., Foley, P., & Harris, D. (2016). Perspectives on implementing certification on Crown forest: the case of Newfoundland and Labrador. Forestry Chronicle, 92(4), 503-511.


Foley, P., & Mather, C. (2016). Making space for community use rights: insights from "community economies" in Newfoundland and Labrador. Society and Natural Resources, 29(8), 965-980.


Foley, P., & Havice, E. (2016). The rise of territorial eco-certification: new politics of transnational sustainability governance in the fisheries sector.Geoforum, 69, 24-33. (Open access)


Foley, P., Mather, C., & Neis, B. (2015). Governing enclosure for coastal communities: social embeddedness in a Canadian shrimp fishery. Marine Policy, 61, 390-400.


Foley, P., & McCay, B. (2014). Certifying the commons: eco-certification, privatization and collective action. Ecology and Society, 19(2), 28.


Foley, P., & Hébert, K. (2013). Alternative regimes of transnational environmental certification: governance, marketization, and place in Alaska's salmon fisheries.Environment and Planning A, 45(11), 2734-2751.


Foley, P. (2013). National government responses to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries certification: insights from atlantic Canada. New Political Economy, 18(2), 284-307.


Foley, P. (2012). The political economy of Marine Stewardship Council Certification: processors and access in Newfoundland and Labrador's inshore shrimp industry. Journal of Agrarian Change, 12(2&3), 436-57.

Chair, Environmental Studies

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20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: AS387
Phone: (709) 639-2552
Email: gsabau@grenfell.mun.ca

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