ESR Project 12

Governance and Human Security: The State and Everyday Practices of Governing in Malawi

Supervisors Gerhard Anders (University of Edinburgh) and Paul Wenzel Geissler (University of Oslo)

Entrenched poverty, wide-spread health problems, environmental degradation, natural disasters and systemic corruption pose formidable challenges to governance in Malawi as in Southern and Eastern Africa at large. Assemblages of government agencies, international organisations, bilateral donors, NGOs and charities implement a wide range of policies to address these challenges but with mixed results.

To better understand the dynamics of technologies of governing, the PhD project will examine the everyday practices of bureaucrats, experts, professionals, and activists in the situations they work in. The project focuses on the state; how its legitimacy is negotiated, undermined or strengthened by the complex assemblages surrounding the policies addressing human security in Malawi.

The research will employ anthropological research in Malawi focusing on the practices and worldviews at the interface between interventions aimed at improving human security and the communities targeted and affected in often unforeseen ways. It is expected that the researcher selects one of the following fields: measures against poverty, public health, environmental protection, disaster relief and crime. During the research in Malawi, the researcher will be affiliated with the University of Malawi. The researcher will be based at the University of Edinburgh and will spend 6 months at the University of Oslo.