Dr Sonja Marzi

Dr Sonja Marzi

LSE Fellow in Qualitative Methods

Department of Methodology

Room No
CON 6.10
Office Hours
Tuesdays 14:00 - 16:00
Connect with me

English, German, Spanish
Key Expertise
Urban Mobility, Aspirations, Development, Participatory Research

About me

Sonja Marzi is an LSE Fellow in the Department of Methodology and the Department of International Development. She received her PhD from the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia in 2016. Prior to joining the LSE, Sonja was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Leeds.

Research Interests

Sonja’s research is interdisciplinary and focuses on urban issues in Latin America cutting across the fields of International Development, Urban Geography and Sociology. Sonja is particularly interested in socio-spatial mobility within urban space and place. Her current and recent research asks questions of how the neighbourhood, a sense of place, issues of societal insecurity, the built environment and urban development interrelate with women’s and young people’s aspirations and social mobility opportunities.

Sonja’s current research investigates urban challenges for marginalised women in relation to the use of urban space. By looking at how migrant women, especially mothers and heads of household, negotiate their ‘right to the city’ in urban areas in Colombia, the research aims at providing a greater understanding for their needs and aspirations within the city and for future urban development issues and processes. Find more information here.

Sonja’s previous PhD research has been concerned with the socio-spatial mobility and aspirations of young people in Colombia. With a focus on young people living in disadvantaged, stigmatised, and often violent, neighbourhoods in Cartagena, her research was particularly interested in understanding how the neighbourhood and (im)mobility within the neighbourhood and city influences social mobility opportunities and how young people negotiate their desired futures. During her time in Leeds Sonja explored mobility and migration activities of people at the U.S.-Mexican border to avoid kidnapping and societal insecurity.

Methodologically Sonja is particularly interested in qualitative and participatory research and methods. She has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Colombia combining traditional qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews and focus groups with participatory mapping, guided tours, photography, and filming.

Expertise Details

Cities; Urban Inequality; Socio-Spatial Mobility; Aspirations; Youth; Gendered Right to the City; Development; Participatory and Qualitative Research; Colombia


Marzi, S. (2018). ‘We are labeled as gang members, like a dangerous barrio, even though we are not’: belonging, aspirations and social mobility in Cartagena. Development Studies Research

Marzi, S.(2017). Childhood, youth and violence in global contexts: research and practice in dialogue. Children's Geographies (Book Review)

Marzi, S. (2015). ‘Aspirations and Social Mobility: the role of social and spatial (im)mobilities in the development and achievement of young people’s aspirations’. In White, A. and Ni Laoire, C. (eds) Movement, Mobilities, and Journeys, Vol. 6 of Skelton, T. (ed.) Geographies of Children and Young People. Springer, Singapore