Global Development Research Group
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Research Group: Global Development


The Global Development Research Group is a multi-disciplinary and multi-national group of researchers who share a desire to better understand the world in order to achieve progressive social change.  

We undertake research in most developing regions of the world and make linkages to issues of poverty, inequality and oppression in the so-called developed world. There is some emphasis on conflict-affected and post-conflict societies, though not exclusively. 

We examine various structural inequalities such as those based on gender and class, and on access to health, education and natural resources.  We are interested in how people, especially those from oppressed and marginalised groups, organise and mobilise against such inequalities and unjust power relations in their struggles for human rights and democracy. Such interests are reflected in our own research approaches and methods, for instance, an engagement in action research and the co-production of knowledge with research participants, aiming to achieve practical applications of our findings in socially transformative ways. 

Current interests include critical enquiries into whether, and if so how, the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved, focusing on SDG 10 on ‘reduced inequalities’ and SDG 16 on ‘promoting peaceful and inclusive societies’.


Our Research

Gender and Development

Issues of gender inequality are crucial in global development. Our research includes the role of gender in peacemaking and peacebuilding; women and transitional justice; gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict settings, focusing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and women’s access to decision making and economic resources. Research ranges from critically examining high-level UN resolutions on Women, Peace and Security to tackling female genital mutilation at the community level. We also focus on the methodologies of researching gender. 

Humanitarianism in Conflict & Disaster

The dynamics of humanitarian work are changing. New actors, new threats and new opportunities compound the operational challenges. We prioritise collaborative research with affected communities and with people on the front line in emergency environments before, during and after crisis. Current projects include action research on community-led reconstruction in post-earthquake Nepal (with ActionAid Nepal), civilian protection in Syria’s besieged cities, and education in emergencies in Rwanda.  

Transitional Justice

Transitional justice has grown exponentially to become the dominant discourse for societies emerging from mass atrocity, authoritarianism, repression and gross human rights violations. Our research critically examines mainstream approaches to transitional justice and its economic, social and political implications. Current projects focus on the lived realities of victims/survivors and how they interact with transitional justice processes and developmental challenges in post conflict societies including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, Nepal and South Africa.

Trust in Transitional Societies

Societies affected by a fast pace of development, change, or conflict are characterised by a high degree of uncertainty. In this context, trust and confidence become more salient than ever as sources of predictability and relative stability. Our team incorporates expertise on the building, maintenance and repair of trust between individuals, groups, and institutions in such transitional societies. Current projects examine such issues in Mongolia and Cuba.

Health and Development

Health is central to human, social and economic development. Our research focuses on the complex relationship between health, poverty and wellbeing. In particular, we undertake research on the social determinants of health and how these shape inequalities in health outcomes. We critically examine a range of topics about health care systems mainly in low- and middle-income countries, including universal health coverage, human resources in healthcare, and the impact of neoliberal healthcare financing, delivery and management models on health systems and the communities they serve. 

Natural Resource Governance

The current scramble for natural resources (minerals, land, water) can lead to conflict in society due to unequal distribution of socio-economic benefits and adverse environmental impacts, while corporations and governments argue that extractive industries can be a catalyst for development. In particular we investigate issues around natural resources for peacebuilding and development. Current projects focus on mining issues in Africa and civil society engagement in natural resource governance with Commonwealth Professional Fellows.


Contact Details

Professor Gordon Crawford, Research Group Leader - gordon.crawford@coventry.ac.uk 

Contact for: global development, human rights, democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa, decentralisation, political economy in Ghana democracy and democratisation, food sovereignty and struggles for social justice