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Professor David Keen

keen-d-113x148Professor of Complex Emergencies

Department of International Development (ID)

Centre for the Study of Human Rights



David Keen received his doctorate from Oxford. His study of the political economy of famine was published by Princeton University Press as The Benefits of Famine. He is also the author of The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars (Oxford University Press) and The Best of Enemies: Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone (James Currey/Palgrave Macmillan, scheduled for 2004). He formerly worked as a researcher, consultant and journalist.

Research interests and areas of supervision

  • Conflict in Sierra Leone
  • The nature of contemporary civil warfare
  • The use and abuse of information in the disaster zone
  • The political and economic functions of disasters

Selected recent publications

  • Keen, David. Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars is More Important than Winning Them Yale University Press, 2012
  • Keen, David. Complex Emergencies Polity, 2008
  • Keen, David. Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone James Currey/Palgrave Macmillan, 2006
  • Keen, David. Endless War? Hidden Functions of the 'War on Terror' Pluto Press, 2006
  • Keen, David. 'War and Peace: What's the Difference?' International Peacekeeping 7, no. 4 (2001), pp 1-22
  • Keen, David. 'War and Peace: What's the Difference?' In Managing Armed Conflicts in the 21st Century. Edited by Adebajo, A; Sriram, C L Frank Cass, 2001, pp 1-22.
  • Keen, David. 'Incentives and Disincentives for Violence.' In Europe's New Nationalism. Edited by Caplan, R; Feiffer, J Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Keen, David. 'War, Crime and Access to Resources.' In War, Hunger and Displacement: The Origins of Humanitarian Emergencies. 1. Edited by Väyrynen, E; Wayne Nafziger; F Stewart; R Oxford University Press, 2000.

Contact details

  • Email: d.keen@lse.ac.uk
  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6359
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 7955 6844
  • Room: CON7.16, Connaught House, LSE