International Aid & Development

Research, writing and teaching

Emma Crewe's doctoral research explored the politics of aid. She saw through the eyes of a social scientist working in East Africa and South Asia with the UK charity Practical Action. She wrote this up in Whose Development? An Ethnography of Aid with Elizabeth Harrison, whose focus was on FAO projects in Southern Africa.

Teaching at Sussex University (1993-96),  she covered a range of topics from social institutions, culture and madness, environment, gender and development to the application of anthropology. More recently she lectured in the School of Oriental and African Studies (2008-11) on the MA in Anthropology of Development and supervised postgraduate dissertations.

With Richard Axelby she wrote a book about anthropological perspectives on aid and development (published by Cambridge University Press in 2013). Their aims are to make anthropology easier for non-anthropologists and development harder for its  practitioners. Pretending that aid is easy just makes its protagonists less equipped to respond to the complexity of its world.

Her current research interests are: (a) intersecting inequalities (especially gender, class, and age) and the links between different groups of rights-holders, (b) the governance of aid and the roles of parliament, the state and civil society. In January 2014 she joined a coalition of researchers led by the Danish Institute for International studies who are comparing how different agencies work on gender equality and the empowerment of women. As part of this, Emma will embark on an ethnographic study of an international NGO based in the UK, researching its work in the UK, South Asia and East Africa.