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Dr Kate Meagher

Kate MeagherLecturer in Development Studies

Department of International Development (ID)



Kate Meagher has expertise in the informal economy and non-state governance in Africa. She has carried out extensive empirical and theoretical research on cross-border trading systems and regional integration, the urban informal sector, rural non-farm activities, small-enterprise clusters, and informal enterprise associations, and has engaged in fieldwork in Nigeria, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her research focuses on the changing character of the informal economy in contemporary Africa, and the implications of economic informalization for development, democratization and globalization. Degrees from the University of Toronto; the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex), and a D.Phil in Sociology from Oxford have been interspersed with lecturing and research positions at IAR/Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria (1991-1997) and at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford (2005-2008).

Publications include Identity Economics: Social Networks and the Informal Economy in Nigeria (forthcoming); The Bargain Sector: Structural Adjustment and the Non-Farm Sector in the Nigerian Savanna (Ashgate 2001) and Cross-Border Trade and the Parallel Currency Market - Trade and Finance in the Context of Structural Adjustment: A Case Study from Kano, Nigeria with Yahaya Hashim (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1999).

Research interests and areas of supervision

  • Rural development
  • Rural non-farm activities
  • The informal economy
  • Informal institutions, social networks and non-state governance
  • Vigilantism and organized crime
  • War economies
  • West Africa (esp. Nigeria and Senegal)
  • East Africa (esp. Somalia and DRC)

Selected recent publications

  • (forthcoming) Identity Economics: Social Networks and the Informal Economy in Nigeria, James Currey.
  • 2008 'New regionalism or loose cannon?: Nigeria's role in informal economic networks and integration in West Africa' in A. Adebajo and A.R. Mustapha, eds. Gulliver's Troubles: Nigeria's Foreign Policy After the Cold War, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.
  • 2008 'Informal Institutions and Development in Africa' Introduction to Special Issue on Informal Institutions and Development, Afrika Spectrum, 43 (1).
  • 2007 'Manufacturing Disorder: Informal Enterprise and Economic Ungovernance in African Small-firm Clusters' Development and Change 38(3):473-503.
  • 2007 'Hijacking civil society: the inside story of the Bakassi Boys vigilante group of south-eastern Nigeria' Journal of Modern African Studies 45(1):89-115.
  • 2006 (Review Article) 'Cultural Primordialism and the Post-Structuralist Imaginaire: Plus ça Change...' Africa 76(4): 590-97.
  • 2005 'Social Capital or Analytical Liability? Social Networks and African Informal Economies' Global Networks 5(3) July.
  • 2003 'A Back Door to Globalisation? Structural Adjustment, Globalisation and Transborder Trade in West Africa' Review of African Political Economy 30(95) March.
  • 2001 'The Invasion of the Opportunity Snatchers: The Rural-Urban Interface in Northern Nigeria' Journal of Contemporary African Studies 19(1).
  • 2000 'Veiled Conflicts: Peasant Differentiation, Gender and Structural Adjustment in Nigerian Hausaland' in D. Bryceson, C. Kay & J. Mooij (eds.) Disappearing Peasantries? Rural Labour in Africa, Asia & Latin America London: Intermediate Technology Publications.

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