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Dr Kate Meagher

meagher-k-113x148Lecturer 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

  • Meagher, Kate (2015) Leaving no-one behind?: informal economies, economic inclusion, and Islamic extremism in Nigeria, Journal of International Development.
  • Meagher, Kate (2015) The scramble for Africans: demography, globalisation and Africa’s informal labour markets,The Journal of Development Studies.
  • Meagher, Kate (2014) Smuggling ideologies: from criminalization to hybrid governance in African clandestine economies, African Affairs.
  • Meagher, Kate (2014) Disempowerment from below: informal enterprise networks and the limits of political voice in Nigeria, Oxford Development Studies, 42 (3). 419-438.
  • Meagher, Kate (2013) The jobs crisis behind Nigeria's unrest, Current History, 112 (754). 169-174.
  • Meagher, Kate (2013) Informality, religious conflict, and governance in northern Nigeria: economic inclusion in divided societies, African Studies Review, 56 (3). 209-234.
  • Meagher, Kate (2012) Weber meets Godzilla: social networks and the spirit of capitalism in East Asia and Africa, Review of African Political Economy, 39 (132). 261-278.
  • Meagher, Kate (2012) The strength of weak states?: non-state security forces and hybrid governance in Africa, Development and Change, 43 (5) 1073-1101.
  • Meagher, Kate (2011) Informal economies and urban governance in Nigeria: popular empowerment or political exclusion? African Studies Review, 54 (2). 47-72.
  • Meagher, Kate (2011) Disempowerment from below: informal enterprise and the limits of popular governance in Nigeria. In: 4th European Conference on African Studies, 15-18 June 2011, Uppsala, Sweden.
  • Meagher, Kate (2010) Social capital or social exclusion: social networks and informal manufacturing in Nigeria. In: Bryceson, D., (ed.) How Africa Works: Occupational Change, Identity and Morality. Practical Action.
  • Meagher, Kate (2010) The empowerment trap: gender, poverty and the informal economy in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Chant, Sylvia, (ed.) The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Research, Policy. Edward Elgar.
  • Meagher, Kate (2010) The politics of vulnerability: exit, voice and capture in three Nigerian informal manufacturing clusters. In: Lindell, Ilda, (ed.) Africa’s Informal Workers: Collective Agency, Alliances and Transnational Organizing. Africa now. Zed Books.
  • Meagher, Kate (2010) Networking for success: informal enterprise and popular associations in Nigeria. In: Harriss-White, Barbara and Heyer, Judith, (eds.) The Comparative Political Economy of Development: Africa and South Asia. Routledge.
  • Meagher, Kate (2010) The tangled web of associational life: urban governance and the politics of popular livelihoods in Nigeria, Urban Forum, 21 (3). 299-313.
  • Meagher, Kate (2010) Identity economics: social networks and the informal economy in Nigeria. African Issues. James Currey.

For older publications, and repository links to all publications, see Dr Meagher's 'Experts' profile page.

Contact details

  • Email: k.meagher@lse.ac.uk
  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7849 4652
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 7955 6844
  • Room: CON7.11, Connaught House