III Doctoral Programme

Meet the doctoral students and read about their research projects


Doctoral Programme Participants 2018-2019

Gabriela Cabana

Gabriela Cabana Alvear is an MRes/PhD student at the Department of Anthropology. Her research is on the planning and implementation of energy generation in Brazil. Her ethnographic focus will be in the work of bureaucracy and processes of valuation of natural resources. She is also interested in how national energy policies are framed in international negotiations on climate change, and how discourses about inequality shape decision-making processes.

Picture of Giovanni Angioni

Giovanni Francesco Angioni is a doctoral student in the Department of International Relations, supervised by Professor Tomila Lankina. His PhD project examines inequality and its political outcomes. He is particularly interested in the ways in which perceptions of inequality – both economic and political – influence political participation, mobilization, and populism, encompassing also the role played by media and propaganda. Giovanni is trained in both Political Science and Economics, and has worked as a researcher on several projects about inequality and social mobility.

Gaby Harris

Gaby Harris was in the first cohort of III masters programme in 2014-15 and has now returned as an ESRC funded doctoral student. Her project focuses on young people’s experiences of social exclusion. Specifically, in how status and taste are displayed through branded clothing and the symbolic meaning behind brand choices. Her interests lie in how distinctions of taste are experienced and how these vary across intersections of class, race and gender. The research will take an ethnographic approach to explore this.

Rachna Matabudul picture

Rachna Matabudul is a doctoral student in the Department of Law, supervised by Eduardo Baistrocchi and Andrew Summers. Her research focuses on international cooperation in tax matters and explores the relationship between international tax law and policy and structural inequality within the multilateral tax framework.  Before joining LSE Law, Rachna completed an LLM in International Tax at King’s College London and worked as an adviser at the OECD Centre for Tax Policy on the BEPS Project.  She also holds a Chartered Accountant designation from the Quebec CPA Order and has worked previously as a tax professional in Montreal, Canada. 

Andrew McNeil bio pic

Andrew McNeil is a Analysing and Challenging inequality Scholar based in the Department  of Government, who will be exploring how different types of capitalism impact intra-generational social mobility in developed economies.  In particular, how the role of the formal education system in promoting mobility varies across countries. He previously worked in credit trading at Deutsche Bank.  He holds an MSc from the LSE’s European Institute in Political Economy of Europe and a BA from the University of Oxford.  Andrew’s interest in social mobility stems from his voluntary work as a school governor.

Picture of Frieder Mitsch

Frieder Mitsch is a Analysing and Challenging inequality Scholar based in the Government Department, supervised by David Soskice and Neil Lee. He will study the consequences of economic change on inequality by exploring links between geographic, economic and political segregation in city-regions and the rise of knowledge economic activities. Frieder holds a BA from McGill University and graduated with a MSc Political Economy of Europe from the LSE. He previously worked as a trainee at DG Competition in Brussels and was a Graduate Intern at the LSE Research Division.

Alberto Parmigiani

Alberto Parmigiani is a doctoral student at the Department of Government. His project concerns economic and political inequality in advanced Western countries. More particularly, he is interested in the legislative processes that brought about the steep rise of inequality in the last four decades and their relationships with the change in perception of inequality by the general public. This project aims to scrutinize the political power of economic elites through campaign contribution and the effect of media and other cultural networks on citizens' opinion. Alberto graduated with a MSc in Economic and Social Sciences at Bocconi University with a thesis on the political economy of crime news in contemporary Italy. He worked as an intern at the Dondena Centre for Research and as a research consultant at UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development).  

Daniela Pérez Aguilar

Daniela Pérez Aguilar is a doctoral student in the Sociology Department, supervised by Patrick McGovern and Ursula Henz. Her research studies the concept of residual inequality  i.e. the portion of income inequality that cannot be explain by human capital, to  generate a better understanding on the dynamics of wage setting, using Chile as case study. This research raises questions on the concept of fairness and meritocracy in the labour market considering the increasing levels of income inequality within occupational groups.

Beatriz Jambrina Canseco

Beatriz Jambrina Canseco is a Analysing and Challenging inequality Scholar in the department of Geography & Environment. Her research focuses on the intersection between the increasing flexibilization of work and spatial inequalities. In particular, she will be looking at how the gig economy, temporary agency work and other forms of non-standard employment impact wages and longer-term labour market outcomes in urban areas


Leverhulme Programme Participants 2017-2018


Reuben Finighan is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based in the Department of Government. His research aims to extend his study of interactions between capitalism and democracy, especially in light of behavioural limitations on human rationality. He hopes to improve our understanding of how high levels of inequality arise and persist despite the presence of democratic institutions that, since the dawn of democracy in ancient Greece, have been expected to produce egalitarian outcomes. This research may inform the design of democratic institutions that better reflect the capacities of our species.


Dominique Dillabough-Lefebvre isa Leverhulme Trust Scholar based in the Department of Anthropology. His research looks at agrarian change, in particular land alterations in legal land regimes and commercial land-grabs and how these affect long-standing inequalities among minority ethnic and peasant groups. The site for his research is among Karen smallholder farmers in southeastern Myanmar, with the aim of framing the present context within the longer history of the violent marginalisation of the Karen by state military and armed ethnic minority groups. Such discissions are to be situated within wider debates which problematise the often top/bottom approaches to statehood and resistance.

Hilke Gudel

Hilke Gudel is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based in the Department of Government. She is especially interested in the labour-market integration of vulnerable groups under different varieties of capitalism; in particular, how their integration is either facilitated or hindered by different institutions. Her PhD thesis considers these issues in relation to the experience of humanitarian migrants in a number of different European countries.

Jon Barnes

Jonathan Barnes is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based in the Department of Geography and Environment. His research explores how the concepts of justice and equity are negotiated, contested and/or silenced by actors involved in Green Climate Fund project development process and how this redistribution mechanism influences inequality. 

Liz mann

Liz Mann is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based in the Department of Social Policy. Her research focuses on wealth inequality, exploring its interaction with income inequality and poverty, the extent to which people’s position in the wealth hierarchy is static over time and the extent to which this correlates to their income. It also looks at public attitudes towards both wealth inequality and the possible policy responses. 

Riccardo Jaede

Riccardo Jaede is a Leverhulme award doctoral student based at the Department of Anthropology


Yohan Iddawela 2

Yohan Iddawela is a doctoral student in the Department of Geography and the Environment. His research focuses on spatial inequalities and institutional quality in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has undertaken research projects for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Bank. He was previously a policy adviser for the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and served as an Attaché at the Australian High Commission in London. He holds an MSc in Local Economic Development from the LSE and is currently a Fellow at the Institute for State Effectiveness.

rafael carranza

Rafael Carranza is a doctoral student in the Department of Social Policy, supervised by Stephen Jenkins and Berkay Ozcan. In his PhD project, Rafael explores the concept of inequality of opportunity, its different definitions and how it is operationalized. His proposal seeks to quantify inequality of opportunity in the labour market by analysing the methodological issues related to its measurement, in order to understand its relation to economic growth and the role that policy interventions play in reducing it.

Rob Sharp

Rob Sharp is a doctoral student in the Department of Media & Communications under the supervision of Dr Myria Georgiou and Dr Shani Orgad. His research investigates how creative activists might use new forms of cultural citizenship to challenge entrenched inequalities of representation among migrant and diaspora groups in the transnational public sphere. He is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Sussex and a former staff journalist at the Independent and Observer newspapers in London, and has written for the New York Times, Guardian, and Prospect.

Simon Tawfic

Simon Tawfic is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology, supervised by Deborah James and Insa Koch. His PhD project focuses on the everyday experiences of the British state and the law among the homeless in London. He is particularly interested in the ways in which recent government policies, e.g., fiscal austerity and 'law and order', are experienced by homeless communities today. To this end, he seeks to incorporate socio-legal and criminological approaches within his ethnographic research. Simon is trained in both Anthropology and Law, having completed the BA joint honours programme at the LSE. 

Magda Muter is a doctoral student in the Department of Gender Studies. Her research examines the process of decision making in couples concerning division of labour between partners. Her work focuses on heterosexual couples in contemporary Poland, having their first child. Magda’s research interests include: inequalities on labour market, negotiations, parental employment and the combination of paid work and caring responsibilities. Before joining LSE Gender, Magda obtained her MA in Sociology at the College of Inter-Area Individual Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences with distinction and MA in European Studies at the Centre of Europe, both in 2012 at the University of Warsaw. She also holds a MA in Management from Warsaw School of Economics. In addition, Magda has a long history of project-based work, including more than 3-year experience in strategic consultancy.





Leverhulme Programme Participants 2016-2017

Imani Strong

Imani G. Strong is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar in the department of Anthropology, where she is supervised by Laura Bear and Deborah James. Her PhD research is focused on African-American entrepreneurship and affirmative action programs in the United States. She is especially interested in the social and political processes surrounding network and community formation, the role of the state and government intervention on capitalist markets, and racial identity as it relates to class and sociality. Imani holds an MSc in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford, Hertford College and she graduated summa cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.

Joel Suss

Joel Suss is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based out of the the department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. He will be researching the consequences of economic inequality for individual behaviour and decision-making. Joel graduated from LSE in 2013 with a Master's in Public Administration. Following graduation, he worked at the LSE Public Policy Group as Managing Editor of the school's British Politics and Policy blog. Since September 2015, Joel has been working for the Bank of England.

Goerge Maier

George Maier  is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar researching the causality of digital inequalities in the contexts of wider systemic inequalities, but also with a focus on government policymaking and problematising the contemporary focus on neoliberal approaches to addressing inequality. George completed an MA in Critical Theory and Political Science at the University of Nottingham, and has previously worked as Director of Media and Communications for The Renewal Trust

Emma Taylor

Emma Taylor  is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar in the department of Sociology, co-supervised by Mike Savage and Rita Astuti (Anthropology). Her PhD research seeks to investigate how the (re)production of privilege occurs within an independent school setting in England through a specific focus on the concept of confidence. The study will explore how confidence is inculated as well as the ways in which it is articulated and embodied by students. Emma holds a BA in Geography from UCL and a PGCE from the Institute of Education; she has nine years of experience teaching in secondary schools. She also holds a MSc in Anthropology and Development from LSE for which she was awarded a distinction and the Lucy Mair prize for best dissertation.


Selena Gray is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar in the department of Sociology, supervised by Suki Ali. Her PhD research seeks to investigate how some groups of adolescent girls become vulnerable to victimisation within gangs with a particular focus on street gangs and grooming gangs. Selena holds a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Goldsmiths, as well as a MSc in Political Sociology from LSE.

Celestin Okoroji

Celestin Okoroji  is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, co-supervised by Dr. Ilka Gleibs and Prof Sandra Jovchelovitch. His research aims to investigate the relationship between the UK social representation of unemployed benefit claimants and its impact on social identity, the ways in which this affects the unemployed person's sense of agency, unemployed persons' treatment by significant civil servants and ultimately their ability to find work. He has recently completed an MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology at LSE, where his dissertation was titled 'The Nadir of British Life: Social Representations of Unemployed Benefit Claimants'.

Celestin was also awarded the Popular Prize at the LSE Research Festival 2016, for his poster 'The Nadir of British Life: social representations of the unemployed'.

Laura Sochas

Laura Sochas is a PhD student in Population Studies, conducting a mixed methods study around the nature and effective response to inequalities in access to maternal health care in Southern Africa. Laura holds an Msc in Research Methods and an MPA in International Development from the LSE. She previously worked as a consultant on maternal and newborn health issues for clients such as DFID, UNFPA, and the UN Secretary General's office.


Maria-Christina Vogkli

Maria-Christina Vogkli is an ESRC doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. Her PhD research explores in a comparative way how socio-spatial inequalities imprint themselves in the public space of Athens and London under conditions of austerity urbanism from the perspective of the homeless. Maria-Christina holds a MSc in Social Research from Birkbeck College, University of London and a MSc in Sociology from LSE. Her broader academic interests include the study of inequalities and social exclusion, urban sociology and ethnographic research.


Leverhulme Programme Participants 2015-2016

Kristina Kolbe

Kristina Kolbe is a Leverhulme Award doctoral student in the department of Sociology, supervised by Mike Savage and Fabien Accominotti. In her PhD project, Kristina looks at newly arising forms of cultural expression, production and consumption in contemporary urban spheres in light of an increasing sociocultural diversity. More specifically, her research focuses on emerging forms of cultural capital, aiming to examine the role of diversified settings for processes of cultural and social representation, exploring in particular the reformation of cosmopolitan urban elites. Holding a Master of Science from the LSE in ‘Culture and Society’ and having completed her undergraduate studies in musicology and social sciences at the Humboldt University Berlin, Kristina is especially interested in interdisciplinary approaches to cultural sociology and questions of social inequality.

Fabian Mushövel

Fabian Mushövel is a Leverhulme doctoral student at the European Institute, where he is supervised by Paul de Grauwe and Waltraud Schelkle. In his thesis, Fabian analyses how austerity policies affect inequality in Europe. His other research interests include the political economy of the welfare state and the Economic and Monetary Union. Fabian has previously worked as a research assistant and analyst at the European Institute and the Centre for Economic Performance, and as a consultant for Chatham House. He holds an MSc in Political Economy of Europe from LSE and a 1st State Examination from the University of Giessen, Germany.

Nora Ratzmann

Nora Ratzmann is a Leverhulme Research Student at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion and the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics. She holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the LSE, and an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford. She gained first work experience at the public policy research institute RAND Europe, the International Institute for Educational Planning IIEP-UNESCO and AEGIS Trust Rwanda. Her research examines EU migrants' (in)equalities of access to German social security, with a particular focus on their interactions with the street-level bureaucracy.

Nell beechum

Nell Beecham is an ESRC doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. Her research spans the areas of culture, technology and emotions. Supervised by Prof Mike Savage, her PhD research explores the roles of technology and space in the formation of contemporary social relationships, and addresses issues of inequality formation and reproduction, valuation and socio-spacial dynamics. Nell holds a MSc in Contemporary Social Thought from the LSE, for which she received a Distinction, and a First Class Honours BA in Sociology from the University of York. 

You can follow Nell on twitter at @nellbeecham.

Fergus Green

Fergus Green is an MRes/PhD candidate in the LSE's Department of Government. His research focuses on transitional justice in economic policy reform - i.e. how governments ought to treat the winners and losers of such reforms - with particular application to climate change policies (such as pricing carbon) and inequality-reducing reforms (such as increased wealth taxation). He holds an MSc in Philosophy & Public Policy (distinction) from the LSE and undergraduate degrees in arts (political science) and law from the University of Melbourne. Before commencing his PhD research, Fergus was a Policy Analyst and Research Advisor to Professor Nicholas Stern in the LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

Billy Holzberg 2

Billy Holzberg is carrying out an LSE funded doctorate at the Gender Institute in which he examines what role public emotions play in the framing of and reaction to the 'refugee crisis' in Germany. He is interested in theories of affect, queer epistemologies, postcolonial studies and critiques of political economy. He holds a Bachelor in liberal arts from the Amsterdam University College and a MSc in Culture and Society from LSE’s sociology department where he was awarded the Hobhouse Memorial Prize for the best MSc performance and dissertation in sociology in 2014. He is a member of NYLON and an alumni of the German National Merit Foundation.

Tobias Kruse

Tobias Kruse is a PhD candidate in Environmental Economics at the LSE and is associated with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change. He holds a BSc and MSc in Environmental Economics from the LSE. His research focuses on distributional aspects of sustainable development. Furthermore, he focusses on estimating the distribution of benefits from natural resource extraction.

Winnie M Li

Winnie M Li is a 1st year PhD Researcher in the Department of Media and Communications, funded by the ESRC. She is exploring the impact of social media on the public discourse about rape, by providing a space for survivors to share their stories. She has a BA from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology, an MA in Irish Literature from University College Cork (as a George Mitchell Scholar), and an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths. Prior to LSE, she worked for 13 years in the film industry as a producer and festival programmer, and more recently as an activist and author on the topic of sexual assault. Her debut novel, DARK CHAPTER, is due out in 2017.

Dan MacArthur

Dan McArthur is an interdisciplinary scholar of inequalities interested in the stigmatisation of poverty and welfare receipt, the effects of economic inequality on individuals’ values and behaviour, and the spatial concentration of poverty and disadvantage. He is currently completing an ESRC funded PhD in the LSE Sociology Department entitled ‘Economic position, inequality, and the stigmatisation of poverty and welfare receipt’.

Dan’s thesis uses British and European survey data, with a strong comparative focus, to examine the economic conditions under which individuals are more likely to believe that the poor are to blame for their situation. In particular, he focuses on income inequality, which is well known to decrease social trust, and potentially solidarity towards the poor. Specific chapters address the relationship between education and negative stereotypes about welfare recipients, whether higher income inequality is associated with individualistic beliefs about the causes of poverty, and how increases in local unemployment affect perceptions of unemployed people.


Øyvind Skorge

Øyvind Skorge is a PhD candidate in Political Science in the Department of Government, where he is supervised by David Soskice and Jonathan Hopkin. In his PhD thesis, Øyvind investigates how political and economic institutions, combined with income inequality, affect women’s access to leadership positions in politics and in the workplace. He is also involved in projects on the development of work-family policies; on social cohesion and trust; on crime and punishment; and on democratization in 19th-century Europe.

Sandhya Fuchs

Sandhya Fuchs is a Leverhulme Trust Scholar based in the department of anthropology. In her research she explores legal approaches to historically entrenched forms of structural violence and the complex interactions between state-law, local forms of alternative dispute resolution and culturally embedded ideas of justice and order. Her PhD work zooms in on the ways in which Dalit communities (former ‘untouchables’) in Northern India mobilize legal social protection measures like the 1989 SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act to navigate continuing concerns of social, political and economic disadvantage and at times outright violent physical discrimination in an environment still strongly shaped by traditional caste hierarchies. Combining discussions about the effects of violence on the social imaginary of individuals and groups and ideas about law and human rights as institutionalised horizons of hope and justice, her work contributes to wider discussions about the role of state and human rights law in attempts to transform historical landscapes marked by socio-economic inequality.