I am a professor in the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Centre for Global Development. I am also a member of the Centre for Civil Society, the Rule of Law, and the New Europe Centre.
My main research interests are gender, wellbeing, quality of life and social quality, and social, economic and political transformations. I have researched the UK, the European Union, the former Soviet Union, East Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. I am an author (with Claire Wallace and Melissa Taylor) of the best-selling text An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives (3rd edition 2005), Routledge. My most recent books are Democratisation Against Democracy: How the EU Fails the Middle East (with Andrea Teti, Valeria Talbot and Paolo Maggiolini). Palgrave Macmillian, published in January 2020 and (with Andrea Teti and Francesco Cavatorta) The Arab Uprisings in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia: Social, Economic and Political Transformations in the Arab World. Palgrave Macmillian, published in January 2018. I have published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals. My work has been published in English, French, Italian, Swedish, Farsi, Polish, Korean and Chinese.
I am directing two funded research projects. The National Institute for Health and Care Global Health Research Group on Promoting Children's and Adolescents' Mental Wellbeing in sub-Saharan Africa (£2.8m, 2022 -2026). The Fostering a Social Practice Approach to Adult Literacies for Improving People’s Quality of Life in Western Rwanda project funded under the Scottish Government's Scotland Rwanda Programme (£1.6m, 2017-24).
- PhD Sociology/Social Policy1982 - Council for National Awards
- BSc Sociology1970 - University of London (externnal)
- MSc Sociology with Politics1975 - Birkbeck College, University of London
Memberships and Affiliations
A protocol for a critical realist synthesis of school mindfulness interventions designed to promote pupils' mental wellbeingFrontiers in public health, vol. 11, 1309649Contributions to Journals: Articles
Sugar-sweetened beverage intakes among adults between 1990 and 2018 in 185 countriesNature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 5957Contributions to Journals: Articles
Early Development Centres: What rural Rwandan mothers would find most usefulRwanda: The Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda) (PDF). 6 pages.Other Contributions: Other Contributions
Literacy and Quality of Life: A Study of Adults with Poor Literacy Capabilities in Western RwandaCompare: A Journal of Comparative and International EducationContributions to Journals: Articles
What difference does a Social Practices Approach to Adult Literacies Education (SPA-ALE) make to adult learners’ lives in three districts in Western Rwanda?Contributions to Conferences: Oral Presentations
Prizes and Awards
Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
I am the Director of the Centre for Global Development and a member of the Centre for Civil Society and the Rule of Law.
My main research interests are gender and social quality and quality of life, and social, economic and political transformations. I have expertise in both qualitative and quantitative social research methods. I have researched in the UK and Europe, the former Soviet Union, East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Applied Health Sciences, Politics and International Relations, Sociology.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Applied Health SciencesSupervising
Politics and International RelationsSupervising
- International Relations
- Gender Studies
- Political Sociology
- Health Policy
- Development in Africa
I am joint-lead on the National Institute for Health-funded project, NIHR Global Health Research Group on Promoting Children's and Adolescents' Mental Wellbeing in Sub-Saharan Africa (£2.9m, 2022-2026). I am directing the Fostering a Social Practice Approach to Adult Literacies for Improving People's Quality of Life in Western Rwanda project. The project is funded under the Scottish Government's Scotland Rwanda Programme (£1.5m, 2017-23). I am: a co-I on a project funded by the International Development Research Centre, Canada, Providing Timely Evidence to Facilitate the Socio-Economic Recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic in Rwanda (2020-2023); on a UK R&I funded project on federalism in the Horn of Africa (2020-2023); on an AHRC funded project Toward the Development of Post Covid-19 Gender Policy Measures to End Modern Slavery and Exploitation in the Bangladeshi Garment Sector; on a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (2021-24) to investigate ways of reducing women's unpaid care work in rural Rwanda; and on a project on democratisation in Tunisia.
I am a member of UK R & I Global Challenges Research Fund Strategic Advisory Group
I am a member of the National Institute for Health Research Community Engagement Advisory Group.
I publish articles in the Conversation and Open Democracy and regularly give presentations at the Festival of Social Sciences and May Fest.
University of Addis Ababa
University of Global Health Equity
Institute of Policy Analysis and Research-Rwanda
I am currently supervising five PhD students.
Nouf Rasheed Perceptions of Patient Safety Culture Amongst Doctors and Nurses in Saudi Arabia Hospitals
Kaeeba Bakali Ali. A Qualitative Study of the Development and Implementation of a Social Practice Approach to Adult literacies teaching in the Western Province of Rwanda
Nyirahabimana Astérie. The Contribution of Adult Literacies to Childhood Development: A Case Study of Karongi District, Western Province, Rwanda.
Elise Boyle. Education in the Islamic State.
David McCusker. Prison Education: Learning How to Start Your Business on Release from Prison in Scotland.
Funding and Grants
Director of the NIHR Global Health Research Group in Promoting children's and Adolescents' Mental Wellbeing in sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by the National Institute for Health and Social Care 2021-2026
Principal Investigator: Fostering a Social Practice Approach to Adult Literacies for Improving People’s Quality of Life in Western Rwanda project. Funded by the Scottish Government 2017-2023.
Co-Investigator: Providing Timely Evidence to Facilitate the Socio-Economic Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in Rwanda project. Funded by the International Development Research Centre (Canadian Government) 2020-2023.
Co-Investigator: Toward the Development of post-Covid-19 Gender Policy Measures to End Modern Slavery and Exploitation in the Bangladeshi Garment Sector. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council 2020-21.
Co-Investigator: Partnership Programme for Capacity Building Centre of Excellence in Good Governance. Funded by UK Research and Innovation 2020-23.
Principal Investigator: In Their Own Words: The Democracy Tunisians Want. Funded by the Scottish Funding Council 2021.
Co-Investigator: Assess the Impact and Scalability of Participatory Programs on Reducing and Redistributing Unpaid Care work among Women in Rwanda”: A Case Study of Reseaux des Femmes Unpaid Care work Project in Rwanda (GRoW Project). Funded by the International Development Research Centre (Canadian Government) 2021-2024.
I currently teach on the 6th Century Course: Africa: Sustainable Development for All. I also surpervise PhD students.
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Scholarship on the Middle East in Political Science and International Relations: A ReassessmentPS: Political Science & Politics, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 259 - 264Contributions to Journals: Articles
Children’s and adolescents’ rising animal-source food intakes in 1990–2018 were impacted by age, region, parental education and urbanicityNature Food, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 305-319Contributions to Journals: Articles
Incident type 2 diabetes attributable to suboptimal diet in 184 countriesNature Medicine, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 982-995Contributions to Journals: Articles
Infection and Social Dislocation: Wellbeing Impacts of COVID-19 on Children and Young People - Perspectives of Rwandan LeadersWorking Papers: Preprint Papers
FOSTERING A SOCIAL PRACTICES APPROACH FOR ADULT LITERACIES TO IMPROVE PEOPLE’S QUALITY OF LIFE IN RWANDA: ACHIEVEMENTS, LESSONS LEARNT AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONSContributions to Conferences: Oral Presentations
Fostering a Social Practices Approach to Adult Literacies for Improving People’s Quality of Life in Western Rwanda: Project OverviewContributions to Conferences: Oral Presentations
Fostering a social practices approach for adult literacies to improve people's quality of life in Rwanda: policy brief number 2University of Aberdeen. 9 pagesBooks and Reports: Commissioned Reports
Impact of Global Clothing Retailers' Unfair Practices on Bangladeshi Suppliers During Covid-19Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen. 21 pagesBooks and Reports: Other Reports
Assessing the Impact and Scalability of Participatory Homegrown Programs on Reducing and Redistributing Unpaid Care Work among Women in Rwanda: A Case of Reseaux des Femmes' Unpaid Care Work Project in Rwanda: Baseline ReportAberdeen: Centre for Global Development. 24 pagesBooks and Reports: Other Reports
Can mindfulness training in primary schools promote mental wellbeing in Sub-Saharan Africa?Open Access GovernmentContributions to Journals: Articles