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Dr Laura Mann

Assistant Professor
Department of International Development

Dr Laura Mann


Laura Mann is a sociologist whose research focuses on the political economy of markets and new information and communication technologies in Africa. She received her Masters and PhD from the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh and her BSc in Environmental Policy and Economics from the London School of Economics. 

Before joining the LSE as an assistant professor, she worked as a postdoc at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford and a postdoc at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. Her geographical expertise includes Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa. 

If she could sum up her research interests in one question, it would be "under what conditions do people become recognizably valuable to their governments (both economically and politically)?

She is happy to supervise ID MSc. students working on topics such as:

  • African Political Economy (particularly business-state relations)
  • Political Economy of Innovation and Growth (particularly in ICTs and agriculture)
  • Sudanese Politics and History
  • Islam, Islamism, Islamic finance and Economic Development
  • Higher Education in Africa and the Middle East
  • Knowledge Production about Africa
  • Surveillance and Critical Data Studies in Africa and the Middle East


Refereed Articles

Mann, Laura (Forthcoming) “Corporations Left to Other Peoples’ Devices: A Political Economy Perspective on the Big Data Revolution in Development” Development and Change

Foster, Christopher, Graham, Mark, Mann, Laura Waema, Timothy and Nicholas Friederici (Forthcoming) "Digital Control in Value Chains: Challenges of Connectivity for East African Firms" Economic Geography

Meagher, Kate, Mann, Laura and Max Bolt (2016) “Introduction: Global Economic Inclusion and African Workers” Journal of Development Studies 52(4):471-482.

Mann, Laura and Mark Graham (2016) "The Domestic Turn: Business Processing Outsourcing and the Growing Automation of Kenyan Organisations", Journal of Development Studies. 52(4): 530-548.

Mann, Laura and Marie Berry (2016) "Understanding the Political Motivations that Shape Rwanda’s Emergent Developmental State", New Political Economy. 21(1): 119-144.

Graham, Mark, Casper Andersen and Laura Mann (2015) "Geographies of Connectivity in East Africa: Trains, Telecommunications and Technological Teleologies", Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 40(3): 334–349. 

Mann, Laura and Elie Nzayisenga (2015) "Sellers on the Street: the Human Infrastructure of the Mobile Phone Network in Kigali, Rwanda", Critical African Studies. 7(1): 26-46.

Mann, Laura (2014) "Wasta!: the Long Term Implications of Education Expansion and Economic Liberalization on Politics in Sudan", Review of African Political Economy, 41 (142): 561-578.

Mann, Laura (2013) "'We Do Our Bit in Our Own Space': DAL Group and the Development of a Curiously Sudanese Enclave Economy", Journal of Modern African Studies, 51 (2): 279-303.

Graham, Mark and Laura Mann (2013), "Imagining a Silicon Valley: Technological and Conceptual Connectivity in Kenya’s BPO and Software Development Sectors", Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 56 (2). 

Book Chapters

Mann, Laura (2014), "A Useful Digital Divide: Job Information, ICTs and the Sudanese Labour Market", in Internet and Society Eds. Dutton, William and Mark Graham. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mann, Laura (2009), "Breeze from an Open Door: Foreign Spirits, National Bodies and the Potential for Egyptian Imaginative Resistance" in Expressions of the Body: Representations in African Text and Image Ed. Baker, Charlotte. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Book Reviews

Mann, L. (Forthcoming) “Africa's ICT Revolution: Technical Regimes and Production Networks in South Africa and Tanzania” Africa: the Journal of the International Africa Institute

Mann, Laura (2014), "Review: Business, Politics and the State in Africa", African Affairs, 113 (452).

Mann, Laura (2014), "Review: Neopatrimonialism in Africa and Beyond", Political Studies Review, 12 (1).

Mann, Laura (2007), "Review: Everyday Corruption and the State: Citizens and Public Officials in Africa", Africa: the Journal of the International Africa Institute, 77 (4).

Policy Reports and Publications

Mann, Laura (2016) “The Data Revolution in Africa” The African Technopolitan 5: 90-92.  Available electronically.

Graham, Mark, Mann, Laura, Friederici, Nicholas and Timothy Waema (2016) “Growing the Kenyan Business Process Outsourcing Sector” The African Technopolitan 5: 93-95. Available electronically.

Mann, Laura, Mark Graham and Nicolas Friederici (2015), "The Internet and Business Process Outsourcing in East Africa: Value Chains and Connectivity-Based Enterprises in Kenya and Rwanda" Oxford Internet Institute Report, Oxford, UK. Available electonically

(2014) White Paper: Big Data and Positive Social Change in the Developing World. Rockerfeller Foundation, Bellagio Centre Conference, May 2014. Available electronically.

Mann, Laura (2009), “Getting a Job in Sudan: An Exploration into Economic Trust and Social Capital” Sudan Studies, Spring 2009.

Contact Details

Office: Connaught House, 6.19.
Telephone: 0207 955 6744.
Email: L.E.Mann@lse.ac.uk.