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Gauthier Marchais

Gauthier Marchais is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has a background in political science and development studies. His research concentrates on how societies transform in war, with a multi-disciplinary perspective. He is part of the Governance Cluster at IDS.

Gauthier’s research combines several disciplinary approaches and uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study how societies transform in war. His doctoral work focused on communal dynamics of violent mobilization and social transformation in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is finalizing two papers on the determinants of participation in violent collective action and institutional transformation in contexts of protracted violent conflict.

At IDS, Gauthier has been leading two projects on education in conflict-affected contexts: REALISE and BRICE, funded by the UK FCDO and the European Union respectively, in partnership with Save the Children and the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Bukavu (ISP Bukavu). The projects bring together education scholars and scholars of violent conflict and uses approaches from several disciplines to study education in conflict affected contexts, with a focus on the provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu in the DRC, and Zinder and Diffa in Niger. Gauthier participated in an ESRC funded project on the impact of the presence and governance of non-state armed factions on fishing communities in the Zamboanga Peninsula in Mindanao, Philippines, led by Ana María Ibáñez, in partnership with Universidad de Los Andes and Western Mindanao State University.

Gauthier has also worked on the question of historical continuities in violent conflict, in particular colonial continuities in the forms and practices of taxation and stateness in eastern DRC, and more recently on historical patterns of violence and environmental conservation. He has been developing a reflection on race and coloniality. He has written a non-academic book, Le déni blanc, which builds on his personal experience and research work to develop a reflection on the mental architecture of race from the perspective of a white man. He also worked on a documentary on white ‘expatriates’ in eastern DRC, Congo Calling, directed by Stephan Hilpert, which won the audience prize at the Max Ophüls Preis film festival. From an academic perspective, Gauthier has written with Paulin Bazuzi and Aimable Amani Lameke about how race and coloniality structure contemporary academic research on the African continent, in an article published in Critical African Studies, and a blog piece.

Gauthier is involved in the methodological debates on the study violent conflict. In the DRC, this work has been carried out partly through a non-profit organisation specialising in research in conflict-affected areas, Marakuja Kivu Research. With Caitriona Dowd, Roudabeh Kishi, and Patricia Justino, he has worked on an ESRC funded project which compares the relative strengths and limitations of ‘traditional’ media and Social Media and Digital Technologies in reporting violent events (see article published in Research & Politics here).

Gauthier convenes two MA teaching modules at IDS and is involved in MA and PhD supervisions. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


  • –present
    Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex