Dr Oliver Owen

ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow

Prior to joining ODID, Olly studied for a DPhil at Oxford University’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, where he undertook an ethnographic study of the Nigerian Police Force. Before that, he worked in London and Lagos, first with West African civil society groups, and then as an investment risk analyst covering the West Africa sub-region. Prior to that, he took an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology in Cambridge, and an MSc in African Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has also worked as a journalist and consultant.

Olly's current research is a study of new transformations in revenue and fiscal governance in Nigeria, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. This three-year study looks at taxation relationships between the state and citizens, and how questions of social contract and political accountability are popularly understood. Alongside this, he continues a focus on policing structures and practices in Nigeria, and is working with stakeholders in this field within Nigeria to feed research into policy debates. He also continues other work related to longstanding interests in politics and governance in the West African sub-region and in political anthropology.

In 2015, Olly won an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize for his research on the Nigerian Police Force, coming second in the Outstanding Early Career Impact category. Find out more in the video below:

Research
Teaching
Publications
News
Supporting police reform in Nigeria: learning from officers on the ground
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Olly teaches on the MPhil in Development Studies.

Books and monographs

Owen, Oliver (with J Beek, M Goepfert & J Steinberg) (eds) (forthcoming) 'Police in Africa: The Street-Level View', London: Hurst

Journal articles and special issues

Owen, Oliver (forthcoming) 'Government Properties: The Police as Total Institution', Africa
Owen, Oliver (with Zainab Usman) (2015) 'Briefing: Why Goodluck Jonathan lost the Nigerian presidential election of 2015', African Affairs 114 (456) 455-71
Owen, Oliver (with S-J Cooper-Knock) (2014) 'Between vigilantism and bureaucracy: Improving our understanding of police work in Nigeria and South Africa', Theoretical Criminology 19 (3) 355-75
Owen, Oliver (2013) 'The police and the public: Risk as preoccupation', Sociologus 63 (1-2) 59-80
Owen, Oliver (2012) 'Policing Nigeria: Towards a History of State Sovereignty', Politique Africaine 128
Owen, Oliver (2008) 'Biafran Pound Notes', Africa 79(4)

Chapters

Owen, Oliver (forthcoming) 'Policing after Colonialism'. In B Bradford, B Jauregui, I Loader and J Steinberg (eds) SAGE Handbook of Global Policing , London: SAGE
Owen, Oliver (forthcoming) 'Risk and motivation in police work'. In J Beek, M Goepfert, O Owen and J Steinberg (eds) Rethinking Policing in Africa , London: Hurst
Owen, Oliver (2013) 'Positions of Security and the Security of Position: Bureaucratic Prebendalism Inside the State'. In Wale Adebanwi, Ebenezer Obadare (eds) Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria: Critical Reinterpretations , Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Working papers

Owen, Oliver (2014) 'The Nigeria Police Force: predicaments and possibilities', NRN Working Paper No 15, Nigeria Research Network, Oxford Department of International Development

Video

23 March, 2016
Film by Olly Owen on W African Soldiers in WWII Wins Best Documentary at IWM Short Film Festival
13 August, 2015
Film by ODID Researcher Tells Forgotten Story of How West African Soldiers Helped Secure Victory in Burma in WWII
30 July, 2015
New Book: Police in Africa: A Street-Level View, Co-edited by Olly Owen
08 July, 2015
Olly Owen Convenes Panel on Police and Military at ECAS 2015
25 June, 2015
Olly Owen Wins ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for Work on Nigerian Police Force
25 February, 2015
New ODID working paper: Olly Owen and Zainab Usman explore advantages of incumbency in Nigerian elections
03 February, 2015
Olly Owen Shortlisted for ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize
11 July, 2014
New Blog Post: Does It Add up? By Oliver Owen
01 July, 2014
Oliver Owen and Indrajit Roy Win ESRC Future Research Leaders Awards
10 February, 2014
Oliver Owen Wins ESRC KE Fellowship for Research With Nigerian Police
Research interests:

West Africa, Nigeria, policing, governance, the state and society, political anthropology, political economy, public policy and public culture.