I am a social anthropologist from Essex in the UK. My undergraduate studies were in History (Clare College, University of Cambridge) and I converted to Anthropology in 2013 when I attended University College London for an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology.
My doctoral research has seen me return to Kenya, where I worked briefly for UNHCR and then UNESCO between 2011 and 2012. I returned again as a Graduate Attaché at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) in 2015, where I later affiliated for my fieldwork (November 2016 – July 2018, August 2019).
My research primarily took place on the peri-urban outskirts of Nairobi in southern Kiambu County and explores the social effects of an ongoing and sustained process of urbanisation. In particular, I am interested in local moral debate about economic practices – from the sale of ancestral land to petty crime. My research discusses how Kenyans understand what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ economic activity, the various types of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ money that such activity produces, and how such activity informs understandings of what counts as moral (and indeed, immoral) personhood. Spanning a range of spaces and demographics – from rural households to unemployed urban youth – my thesis contributes to contemporary debates about rising aspirations on the African continent in an era of ‘jobless growth’, a paradoxical state of affairs which continues to make life precarious for all but the most wealthy.
Pursuing fieldwork in the midst of Kenya’s 2017 elections has also allowed me to develop insights into the country’s local and national politics, and my published and forthcoming work engages with the rich regional literature on the country’s politics from an anthropological perspective.