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Research Fellow, Global Risk Governance Programme, University of Cape Town

Simon Howell is a research fellow in the Global Risk Governance programme. He holds a PhD in political philosophy from Rhodes University, South Africa. His primary research areas include drugs, gangs, violence, and general mayhem. Previously, he was a Senior Researcher at the Centre of Criminology at UCT, which followed from completing a University Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship shared jointly at the Safety and Violence Initiative and Centre of Criminology, UCT.

His core research interest focused on the relationship between justice and violence, and how this relationship is made manifest both in the structures of modern governance and in the architecture of marginalised peoples’ identities. As such, he has conducted research in a diverse array of analytical domains and with people from many different walks of life, including teenage mothers, township youths, drug users, gangsters, and police officials.

He has published a number of academic articles, book chapters and reports, teaches a number of postgraduate courses, and comments regularly on select topics in the national press. Among others, some of his recent contributions include:

Berg, J. and Howell, S. (2017). “The private security complex and its regulation in Africa: Select examples from the continent.” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 42(1): 1-22.

Howell, S. and Shearing, C. (2016). “Prisons, tourism, and symbolism: Reflections on hope and its enemies.” In J. Wilson, S. Hodgkinson, J. Piché, K. Walby. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Tourism. Palgrave Macmillan, 275-292.

Marks, M., Howell, S. and Shelley, S. (2016). “The fluidity of ‘police culture’: Encountering the contextual complexity of policing street-level drug use.” Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 11(2): 1-23.

Dwela, S. and Howell, S. (2016). “Corrupting Influences: Contrasting Illegal Substance Users’ and Police Officers’ Perspectives of each other in Cape Town, South Africa.” Acta Criminologica, 29(3): 49-66.

Howell, S. (2016). “Systemic vulnerabilities on the Internet and the exploitation of women and girls: Challenges and prospects for global regulation.” In H. Kury, S. Redo, E. Shea (eds.), Women and Children as Victims and Offenders: Background, Prevention, and Reintegration. New York: Springer, 574-602.


  • –present
    Senior Research in Criminology, University of Cape Town


  • 2012 
    Rhodes University, PhD