Political Change, Conflict and the Environment

Research on development requires a critical approach to the state and dominant institutions, focussing on how power is created and exercised, and the resistance of excluded groups. This essential political process involves conflict as much as cooperation, where security (and insecurity), historical identity, urban transformation and environmental sustainability are central issues.

Our research in this area is characterised by strong disciplinary roots in history, politics and anthropology; an interdisciplinary empirical research methodology; and primary fieldwork.

Work in this theme is mainly conducted by individual faculty members with their research students and post-doctoral fellows. Between 2003 and 2010 the DfID-funded Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE) built on pioneering work in the department during the 1990s on the relationship between war and underdevelopment.

Woman waving a flag during demonstrations in Egypt

Photo: Sarah Smierciak, MPhil in Development Studies 2012-14

In the media
Changing Structures of Islamic Authority
Understanding radicalisation: informing Nigerian policy towards Boko Haram
A history of political imprisonment in Zimbabwe, 1959-2011
Explaining changes in Palestinian and Israeli opinions towards a peace settlement
Market power: traders, farmers, and the politics of class-making in Pakistani Punjab
Reasoning with rebels: how the private authority in rebel enclaves impacts the peace process
India's enterprise culture: social and political implications beyond the economy
New cultures of work in contemporary India
Structural constraints to public goods provision in Punjab


Aisha Ahmad
Research Student
Jocelyn Alexander
Professor of Commonwealth Studies
Masooda Bano
Professor of Development Studies
Lennart Bolliger
Research Student
Maxim Bolt
Associate Professor of Development Studies
Theodor Borrmann
Research Student
Natalia Buitron
Natalia Buitron
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
Lise Cazzoli
Research Student
Simukai Chigudu
Associate Professor of African Politics


01 Feb, 2021
Executive Secretary of ECLAC to speak on climate emergency in Latin America
20 Jan, 2021
Francesca Lessa writes opening chapter of Uruguay human rights report
19 Jan, 2021
New article by David Jackman explores role of student movements in Bangladesh
12 Jan, 2021
New book by Diego Sánchez-Ancochea explores inequality in Latin America
10 Dec, 2020
New article by Susanne Verheul analyses 'sensory politics' of courts in Zimbabwe
30 Nov, 2020
New book by Jessie Barton-Hronešová explores redress for victims of Bosnian war
Journal cover
30 Jul, 2020
New article co-authored by Jocelyn Alexander explores training of Southern African liberation movements
14 Jul, 2020
New book by Christopher Lilyblad on illicit social order
08 Jul, 2020
New article by Nikita Sud explores 'unfixity' of land in Indian SEZ
08 Jul, 2020
New article by Geoff Goodwin examines relationship between land markets and indigenous peoples in Ecuador


23 Feb, 2021
'Why are India’s farmers angry? | Start Here'. Nikita Sud contributes to a primer from Aljazeera English about farmer protests in India
15 Feb, 2021
'Myanmar: memes and mantras of a new generation of democracy protesters'. DPhil Richard Dolan writes for the Conversation
28 Jan, 2021
'We have to learn to see land with a more nuanced lens'. Nikita Sud speaks to Firstpost about her new book
16 Jan, 2021
'Billionaires-Led ‘Gilded Age’ Comes Under Attack in Modi’s India'. Nikita Sud cited in Bloomberg article on farmer protests in India
06 Jan, 2021
'What will it take to end Indian farmers' protests?'. Nikita Sud speaks to Al Jazeera's Inside Story about continuing protests against deregulation of India's agriculture sector
03 Dec, 2020
How will Indian PM Narendra Modi deal with angry farmers?. Nikita Sud spoke to Al Jazeera's Inside Story about farmer protests in India
01 Oct, 2020
'Why are they going after Bollywood?'. Nikita Sud writes for scroll.in on authoritarian populist politics in India and its entanglement with the Bollywood film industry
17 Aug, 2020
'Employee surveillance tools emerge as a serious side effect of COVID-19'. Ivan Manokha is interviewed by CTECH about the implications of increased worker tracking due to home working
24 Jul, 2020
'COVID-19: an existential threat for Indigenous peoples of the Amazon'. Our DPhil Theodor Borrmann writes for PreventionWeb about the devastating impact of the pandemic in the Amazon basin, where it has amplified structural problems and is threatening to destroy whole peoples and communities.
23 Jun, 2020
'Megaprojects in Addis Ababa raise questions about spatial justice'. DPhil Biruk Terrefe writes for the Conversation