Department of Development Studies

Professor Zoë Marriage

Key information

Department of Development Studies Professor of Security and International Development Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice Member Research Cluster Convenor
BA (Oxon); MSc, PhD (LSE); MMus (Bath Spa); PFHEA
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Telephone number
020 7898 4437
Support hours
Please book using link in 'Biography' below


All my research has at its core the enquiry into how conflict, security and development interact. I started off working on the question of who receives humanitarian assistance in contexts of conflict and why, carrying out research in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the area that is now South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I published that research as a book called “Not Breaking the Rules, Not Playing the Game” in 2006, drawing on my PhD thesis. I then turned to research more intensely in DR Congo, investigating the different ways in which Congolese people conceptualise and pursue security in situations of unremitting structural and direct violence. This research led to the publication of my second book “Formal Peace and Informal War” in 2013.

A central observation of this work was that the voices of people who suffer most acutely from insecurity are routinely barred from formal security debates and policy. I started to dig into research questions about other narratives – distinct from the mainstream – and how they present perspectives on, and resist, violence and conflict and construct different paths to security. A taste of this research is given by my blog on Capoeira and Security, and the work led to a book, “Cultural Resistance and Security from Below”, published in 2019, and that investigates how resistance is communicated through the Afro-Brazilian musical and physical art form of capoeira.

Prior to taking up post as Head of Department I spent several happy years convening the MSc Violence, Conflict and Development. News of the programme and related teaching and research activities can be found on my VCD-SOAS blog and through my twitter account VCDatSOAS.

Office hours

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Bismellah Alizada
Lord Aikins Adusei An island of peace in an ocean of turbulence? The case of land guards in Ghana
Ponsiano Bimeny Constructions of the State, Violence and Political Settlement in South Sudan
Ms Hisae Kato Sociology of work in conflict-affected communities: Labour, gender and violence in El-Rahad, Sudan
Nina Salsotto Cassina Documenting resistance movements in the DRC: sites, forms and explanations (working title)


Contact Zoë