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Centre of African Studies: People


SJ Cooper-Knock

SJ Cooper-Knock
SJ Cooper-Knock
Lecturer in International Development (CAS and Anthropology)
4.30 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 650 3936
Research Interests
Access to justice, Social Justice, Criminal Justice, Civil Justice, civil society, police, security, African security, African studies, South African politics, South Africa

SJ's research interests include: policing and punishment; law and social order; disaster response; and the politics of urban development. SJ is currently working on: 

1. Magistrates' Courts: Negotiating Justice in Uganda and South Africa

With Anna Macdonald exploring the role that magistrates' courts placy in the quest for dispute resolution and justice in South Africa and Uganda

2. Everyday Policing and Punishment in South Africa

Ongoing study into everyday policing and punishment in eThewkini and the Western Cape, South Africa.

3. Moving Words

With Duduzile S. Ndlovu researching mobility, being and belonging. This project explores both poetry-based methods and new approaches to comparative methods.

4. The Lockdown Diary Project

With Fiona Anciano, Mmeli Dube, Mfundo Majola and Boitumelo Papane, conducting WhatsApp diaries with 70 residents across occupied buildings, suburbs, townships and informal settlements in Cape Town.

5. Informal Settlement Fire and Disaster Management

With Fiona Anciano, Mfundo Majola, Graham Spinardi and the IRIS Fire team, exploring the triggers, causes, and responses to informal settlement fire in the Western Cape.

SJ completed a DPhil in International Development at the University of Oxford and taught at the LSE before joining the University of Edinburgh in 2014. SJ is currently an Associate Researcher at ACMS at the University of the Witwatersrand.

SJ is on the Editorial Team for Critical African Studies and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Southern African Studies.

Within the Centre of African Studies, SJ is currently the Research Convenor and the Co-Chair of the Decolonising Working Group with Rama Salla Dieng.

Selected Publications 

Cooper-Knock, S.J. and Owen, O., 2018. Government paper: the negotiated production and life of state documents. Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue canadienne des études africaines52(3), pp.269-287.

Cooper-Knock, S.J. and Long, K. Camps. in Allen, T., Macdonald, A., and Radice, H. (eds). 2018.  A Dictionary of Humanitarianism. Routledge. 

Cooper-Knock, S.J. 2018. Beyond Agamben: Sovereignty, policing and ‘permissive space’ in South Africa, and beyond. Theoretical Criminology.  

Cooper-Knock, S.J., 2016. Continuity, Change and Crisis: Mapping South Africa’s Political Terrain. Journal of Southern African Studies42(1), pp.149-161.

Cooper-Knock, S.J. and Karekwaivanane, G.H., 2016. Introduction. Africa, 86 (01), pp.33-36.

Cooper-Knock, S.J., 2016. Behind closed gates: Everyday policing in Durban, South Africa. Africa86(01), pp.98-121.

Cooper-Knock, S.J. and Owen, O., 2015. Between vigilantism and bureaucracy: Improving our understanding of police work in Nigeria and South Africa. Theoretical Criminology, 19 (3), p.335-375.

Cooper-Knock, S.J., 2014. Policing in intimate crowds: Moving beyond ‘the mob’in South Africa. African Affairs, 113 (453), p563-582.

Cooper-Knock, S.J. 'I am not a police person': Politics, political legitimacy, and the everyday state in Durban. in Pihouse, R. and Minkley, G. Out of Order: Popular Struggles in Post-apartheid South Africa. Fort Hare Press: East London. In Press.

If you are interested in being supervised by SJ Cooper-Knock, please see the links below for more information:

PhD In African Studies; PhD in Politics; MSc (R) African Studies; MSc (R) Social Anthropology