Elizabeth Harrison's research has focused on the relationship between anthropology and development, with particular interest in gender and development, the notions of participation and partnership in development and the overall implications of these for power and social justice. Her regional expertise is principally in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, although she has also carried out research in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Her research can be seen as falling into four broad 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.  Work on ‘gender myths and feminist fables' in the development process and on gender and natural resources management.
  • Discourses of corruption and anticorruption. Dissection of discourses of corruption, anti-corruption and morality; engagement with their manifestations in relation to social protection and local brokers
  • Natural resource management institutions. Research has included projects on coastal zone management in Sri Lanka and post-conflict natural resource management institutions in Ethiopia and Mozambique. Elizabeth is currently the Principal Investigator on a DFID-ESRC funded project on institutions and politics in small scale irrigation. Case studies are being undertaken 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 Programme from, 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:

Valerio Colosio – Contemporary anti-slavery NGOs, Chad

Gemma Houldey - Stress and burnout among aid workers in Kenya

Peter Leahy - Being a bureaucrat in PNG



Completed Doctoral Students:


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)