Rony Emmenegger

 +41 26 300 9255


I am a Political Geographer with a vivid interest in the governance of human-environment relations, landscapes, and infrastructures above and below ground. In my ongoing research, I work on the politics of nuclear waste governance in Switzerland and beyond. Based on ethnographic research since 2019, I have studied the relation between science, society, and democracy, and the way it is negotiated in a participatory governance process around issues related to uncertainty, risk, and safety. In parallel, I have focused on knowledge production about the deep geological underground – where nuclear waste is supposed to be stored for the next one million years – and scrutinized how it becomes articulated and contested in public controversies as the governance process advances. This latter interest continues to be in the focus of my SNSF Project (2024-2028) titled "Nuclear Strata: The Political Geology of Nuclear Waste Governance" hosted by the Geoscience Department at the University of Fribourg. Overall, my work is empirically-grounded and theoretical-inspired by debates and concepts in political geography, political geology, political ecology, political anthropology, science and technology studies, science philosophy, critical sustainability studies, and environmental humanities. Pushing beyond, I have also engaged in a series of collaborative art- science projects including the Unruly Natures project at the University of St. Gallen.

Research and publications

  • Publication and Works
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  • Research Projects

    Nuclear Strata: The Political Geology of Nuclear Waste Governance (2023-present). This project scrutinizes the way nuclear waste governance reconfigures the relation between humans and the geological underground in Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. 

    Unruly Natures (2020-present) is a transdisciplinary research project on “earth-beings”. The project opens up space for unsettling neoliberal ecologies and reimagining ecological politics. 

    Governance of Risk and Sustainability (2019-present). This project studies nuclear waste governance in Switzerland, focusing particularly on the politics of risk, safety and sustainability.

    State Formation and the Politics of Infrastructure (2011-2017). This research project analyzes the interrelation between processes of state formation and the formation of landscapes and infrastructures in rural and urban Ethiopia.

Teaching and courses

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