Elizabeth Harrison has carried out research principally in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, with additional projects in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This research, broadly located within the anthropology of devlelopment, falls into four intersecting thematic areas:

  • ‘Community’ and engagement. Critical analysis of policy constructions of community and participation. Research on responses to these in the policy areas of both ageing and community regeneration in the UK, and of international development.
  • Gender, livelihoods, representation. A long term concern with gender relations in international development and UK policy.  Work on ‘gender myths and feminist fables' in the development process and on gender and natural resources management. Critique of the idea of resilience in relation to gender and poverty.
  • Discourses of corruption, anticorruption and morality. Dissection of discourses of corruption, anti-corruption and morality; engagement with their manifestations in relation to social protection and local brokers, including currently with welfare reform in the UK
  • Natural resource management and institutions. Research has included projects on coastal zone management in Sri Lanka and post-conflict natural resource management institutions in Ethiopia and Mozambique. Recent research has included a DFID-ESRC funded project on institutions and politics in small scale irrigation with case studies in Tanzania, Malawi and Bangladesh.

In addition to her academic research, Elizabeth Harrison has acted in an advisory capacity to policy-oriented bodies. This has included being a Steering Group member of DFID's Natural Resources Management Programm, and advising an evaluation of the African Development Fund on gender and governance issues. Locally, she is a member of the Senior Researchers' Group of the Community University Partnership Programme, based at the University of Brighton.

Current Doctoral Students:


Gemma Houldey - Stress and burnout among aid workers in Kenya

Peter Leahy - Being a bureaucrat in Papua New Guinea



Completed Doctoral Students:


Valerio Colosio – Legacies of slavery in a former slave reservoir, Chad (awarded 2018)

Markus Breines - Middle class identity and urban-urban migration in Ethiopia (awarded 2017)

Anneke Newman - Education and religious identity, Senegal (awarded 2015)

Santiago Ripoli - Food sovereignty and development, Nicaragua (awarded 2016)

Hannah Warren – Gender and local NGOs, Ghana (awarded 2013)

Franz Wong - Gender mainstreaming in Oxfam, UK and Cambodia (awarded 2012

Martin Webb - Governance and Social Activism, India (awarded 2011)

Ubanesia Adams - Health policy in the Western Cape, South Africa (awarded 2010)

Dinah Rajak - Anglo-American corporate social responsibility (awarded 2008)

Geetanjali Gill - Poverty and ethnicity in Mauritius  (awarded 2007)

Theresa Ulicki - Gender equity and organisational change in the South African Police Service (awarded 2004)

Iman Hashim - Working with working children: Child labour and the barriers to education in rural northeastern Ghana (awarded 2001)
Hamish Raby - Ethnicity and identity in Zimbabwe (awarded 2001)
Antonio Serra - Legitimacy of local institutions for natural resource management in Manica, Mozambique (awarded 2001)
Phil Mulligan - Aboriginal property claims and globalisation in southeast Madagascar (awarded 2000)
Rudith King - The role of urban market trade in local development processes and its implication for policy: a case study of Kumasi Central Market, Ghana (awarded 1999)