SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Professor Zoë Marriage

BA (Oxon); MSc, PhD (LSE); MMus (Bath Spa); SFHEA
  • Teaching
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Zoë Marriage
Department of Development Studies

Professor of Security and International Development

Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice


Violence, Peace and Development Research Cluster

Research Cluster Convenor

Teaching, Learning and Student Outcomes Committee


Centre of African Studies


Executive Board

Head of Department, Development Studies

Academic Board

Head of Development Studies

Professor Zoë Marriage
Email address:
020 7898 4437
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
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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.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Cate Inverso, From War to Peace as Conflict goes on: Reinventing the state or ignoring it? Assessing the activities of armed groups and informal cross border trade networks in the borderlands between DRC, Uganda and South Sudan (working title)
  • Hisae Kato, Sociology of work in conflict-affected communities: Labour, gender and violence in El-Rahad, Sudan
  • Lord Aikins Adusei, An Island of Peace in an ocean of turbulence: Understanding the sources of Ghana’s stability and limited economic progress
  • Nina Salsotto Cassina, Documenting resistance movements in the DRC: sites, forms and explanations (working title)
  • Ponsiano Bimeny, Constructions of the State, Violence and Political Settlement in South Sudan


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo


Authored Books

Marriage, Zoe (2019) Cultural Resistance and Security from Below: Power and Escape through Capoeira. Abingdon: Routledge.

Marriage, Zoe (2013) Formal Peace and Informal War. Security and Development in Congo. Abingdon: Routledge.

Marriage, Zoe (2006) Not Breaking the Rules. Not Playing the Game. International Assistance to Countries at War. London: Hurst & Company.

Marriage, Zoe (2006) Challenging aid in Africa. Principles, Implementation, and Impact. USA: Palgrave MacMillan.


Marriage, Zoe (2018) 'The Elephant in the Room: Off-shore companies, liberalisation and extension of presidential power in DR Congo'. Third World Quarterly, (39) 5, pp 889-905.

Marriage, Zoe (2017) 'Evading biopolitical control: Capoeira as total resistance'. Global Society, (32) 3, pp 263-280.

Marriage, Zoe (2013) 'Compliance vs the ragged threat: problem-solving security in the Democratic Republic of Congo'. Civil Wars, (15) 1, pp 19-36.

Marriage, Zoe (2012) 'Capoeira and security: the view from upside-down'. openDemocracy/openSecurity.

Marriage, Zoe (2011) 'Divisive ‘commonality’: state and insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo'. Third World Quarterly, (32) 10, pp 1891-1910.

Marriage, Zoe (2010) 'Congo Co.: Aid and Security'. Journal of Conflict, Security & Development, (10) 3, pp 353-377.

Marriage, Zoe (2008) 'Review article of recent literature on the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Nzongola-Ntalaja: The Congo from Leopold to Kabila, Trefon (ed): Reinventing Order in the Congo, and Clark (ed): The African Stakes of the Congo War)'. Historical Materialism, (15) 4.

Marriage, Zoe (2008) 'Ambiguous Agreements: Aid in Negotiating processes'. Journal of Conflict, Security and Development, (8) 1, pp 1-13.

Marriage, Zoe (2008) 'Congo Basics'. fRoots. The Essential Worldwide Roots Music Guide, (304), pp 43-45.

Marriage, Zoe (2007) 'Flip-flop rebel, dollar soldier; Demobilisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo'. Conflict, Security and Development, (7(2)).

Marriage, Zoe (2006) 'The Comfort of Denial: External Assistance in Southern Sudan'. Development and Change, (37) 3, pp 479-500.

Marriage, Zoe (2006) 'Defining Morality: DFID and the Great Lakes'. Third World Quarterly, (27) 3, pp 477-90.

Marriage, Zoe (2005) 'Shame and Assistance - Does It Help?'. Civil Wars, (7) 4, pp 357-76.

Book Chapters

Marriage, Zoe (2016) 'Conflict and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa'. In: Hooks, Gregory, (ed.), Sociology of Development Handbook. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Marriage, Zoe (2016) 'Peace and the Killing: Compatible Logics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo'. In: Anderton, Charles and Brauer, Jurgen, (eds.), Economic Aspects of Genocide, Mass Killing, and Their Prevention. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 356-377.

Marriage, Zoe (2016) 'Aid to Rwanda: Unstoppable Rock, Immovable Post'. In: Hagmann, Tobias and Filip, Reyntjens, (eds.), Aid and authoritarianism in Africa. Development without democracy. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, pp 44-66.

Marriage, Zoe (2015) 'The Democratic Republic of Congo'. In: Frame, Ian, (ed.), Africa South of the Sahara 2016 (45th edition). London: Routledge.

Marriage, Zoe (2015) '"Grande Mestre": Longing and celebration in Capoeira Angola (Brazil)'. In: Harris, Rachel and Pease, Rowan, (eds.), Pieces of the Musical World: Sounds and Cultures. Abingdon: Routledge.

Marriage, Zoe (2014) 'The Democratic Republic of Congo'. In: Frame, Ian, (ed.), Africa South of the Sahara 2015 (44th edition). Abingdon: Routledge.

Marriage, Zoe (2012) 'The Case of the FDLR in Congo: A Facade of Collaboration?'. In: Giustozzi, Antonio, (ed.), Post-Conflict Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: bringing state-building back in. London: Ashgate, pp 87-98.

Marriage, Zoe (2010) 'Many conflicts, one peace: Congo’s economy and global security'. In: Padayachee, Vishnu, (ed.), The Political Economy of Africa. Abingdon: Routledge, pp 301-316.

Marriage, Zoe (2009) 'Flip-flop rebel, dollar soldier; Demobilisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo'. In: Berdal, Mats and Ucko, David, (eds.), Reintegrating Armed Groups After Conflict. London and New York: Routledge, pp 119-143.

Marriage, Zoe (2009) 'Children and War'. In: Hindman, Hugh D, (ed.), The World of Child Labor: An Historical and Regional Survey. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, Inc..

Monographs and Working Papers

Marriage, Zoe (2012) La violence du pouvoir, l'exclusion des civils et le M23. Open Democracy/ Open Security.

Marriage, Zoe (2012) Violent power, civilian exclusion and the M23. Open Democracy.

Marriage, Zoe (2008) Reading Wars Actively. London: African Arguments.

Marriage, Zoe (2007) Dialogues No.3: Fragile States. London: Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Conference Items

Marriage, Zoe (2007) 'From national security to human security — less of the same in Congo?' In: From Conflict to Regional Stability – Linking Security and Development, 5-7 November 2007, Madrid.

Book Reviews

Marriage, Zoe (2012) 'Review of: Intervention as Indirect Rule: Civil War and Statebuilding in the Democratic Republic of Congo'. Civil Wars, (14) 2, pp 289-291.

Marriage, Zoe (2011) 'Review of: Human Security and Non-Citizens: Law, Policy and International Affairs. Edited by Alice Edwards and Carla Ferstman'. Journal of Refugee Studies, (24) 2, pp 425-427.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Marriage, Zoe (2020) Cultural Resistance and Security from Below. Power and escape through capoeira (vlog).

Marriage, Zoe (2019) Plunder and Resistance in the Congo.

Marriage, Zoe (2018) The pretend guns of realism and the reality of resistance.


This list was last generated on Friday, 27th May 2022, 07:08 Europe/London.