Professor David Ley was conferred to the Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences in spring 2022. He is Professor Emeritus of Human Social Geography at University of British Columbia and has been described by his peers as being ‘one of the most influential and important human social geographers working today’.
Professor Ley has had a considerable impact on British human geography, in particular due to his focus on developing a humanistic geography and his arguments about the role of social agency rather than just underlying structural economic forces. He is recognised for his pioneering work on gentrification, and the role of preference and taste, and most recently on the role of international migration and investment in changing the nature of overseas investment in gateway cities housing markets. He has consistently sought to situate human geography research within wider social science frameworks.
Professor Ley was Director of the joint UBC/ Simon Frazer Research Centre on Immigration and Integration from 1996 to 2003 and Chair of the ESRC international benchmarking panel for Human Geography in 2012-13. He has held numerous research grant awards including two of over two million Canadian dollars for the Research Centre on Immigration and Integration. He has published 11 books – six authored and five edited, and 140 papers and book chapters.
A few examples of the many honours and awards he has received, which are too numerous to list here, include election to the Royal Society of Canada (1998), Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Association of American Geographers (2009) and the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (2013).
How do you feel about becoming a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences?
I am honoured to join a community of scholars whose work I have always respected.
Why does social science matter?
Where to begin? Climate justice, environmental stewardship, poverty, racism, the decline of democracy, global geopolitics, crime and punishment, tribalism in modern societies, etc etc.
What is the most urgent issue social scientists need to tackle at this time?
At this time: 24.02.2022, with the invasion of Ukraine, war and peace.