- Megan Harrington
- International Development School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Scotland, UK EH8 9LD
- firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
- Research Interests
- International Development, Gender and Development, Agriculture and Development, Agriculture, Livelihood, Labour, Land, Agribusiness, Global Value Chains, Global Production Networks, Rural Economy, Rural Development, Corporate Agriculture, Smallholder Agriculture, Political Economy of Agriculture, Political Economy of International Development, Feminisms in Development and Economics, Intersectionality, Ethnography, Anthropology, African Studies, Africa, Malawi, Sugar, Feminist Research
The Sweet Life: an Ethnography of Sugar and Development in Malawi
Research Project Description
My thesis is an ethnographic exploration of sugar production and development in Malawi's Lower Shire Valley (Nchalo Sugar Estate), drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork (conducted 2016/2017).
My research focuses on the impact of global agribusiness on social and economic development in Africa, from an intersectional perspective. This includes understanding the political economy of corporate agriculture, and analysing the potential opportunities and/or exclusions within agricultural value chains for small producers (smallholder schemes and other types of contract farming), economic actors (mills/processing, labour contractors, and other types of outsourcing), and non-economic actors (communities, NGO groups, etc.). Within these systems, I analyse stakeholder relationships, labour systems, labour relations, labour conditions, and organisational structures in both large-scale and smallholder farming. I am also interested in understanding the impact of agribusiness on wider development issues such as livelihoods, migration, housing, social hierarchies, social mobility, family labour systems and the division of household labour, access to land resources, and the economics of poverty and development. I also look at linkages between agricultural and non-agricultural economies, and the impact this has on rural development.
My research uses intersectionality as a methodological framework for understanding the ways in which overlapping identities, values, inclusions and exclusions, come to bear on economic and social processes within the Malawian sugar industry. Such research sits at the nexus of development studies, gender and development, feminist economics, and social and economic anthropology.
2014-present: PhD, University of Edinburgh
2012-2014: MSc, University of Edinburgh
2002-2006: MA Hons, University of Glasgow
Canning, M. (2017) ‘Sugar and Gender Relations in Malawi’, in Shortall, S. and Bock, B. (eds), Gender and Rural Globalisation: International Perspectives on Gender and Rural Development, Wallingford: CAB International Publishing.
Conference Papers and Presentations
Canning, M. (2018) 'Sugar, Gender and the Rural Economy: The Relationship Between Male Wage-Work and Female Entrepreneurship in Malawi’s Lower Shire Valley'. Presented at the Centre of African Studies annual presentation day for PhD candidates in African Studies and International Development. University of Edinburgh. April 2018. [forthcoming]
Canning, M. (2018) 'Putting "Gender" in "Gender and Development": Autoethnographic Reflections on Feminist Teaching and Practice in Development Studies'. Presented at the 'Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives' workshop: in rountable form at the India International Centre, New Delhi, December 2017; as a full paper at the University of Edinburgh, February 2018.
Canning, M. (2017) 'Life Inside the Bubble: the Sugar Estate as a Social Space'. Presented at the Centre of African Studies annual presentation day for PhD candidates in African Studies and International Development. University of Edinburgh. April 2017.
Canning, M. (2015) ‘Wage Labour and Livelihood Strategies in Malawi’s Plantation Economy’. Presented at the Business, Investment, Trade and Tourism (BITT) Forum, Scotland Malawi Partnership, Edinburgh. June 2015.
Canning, M. (2015) ‘Labour, Livelihoods and Gender Equality in the Malawian Sugar Industry’. Presented at the 16th Annual Researching Africa Day, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. March 2015.
2019: Guest Lecturer, delivering ‘Women and Paid Work in the Global Economy’, for the course ‘Gender and Development’. Masters course, University of Edinburgh. [forthcoming]
2019: Guest Lecturer, delivering ‘Ethnographic Research in Africa: Examples from Malawi’, for the course ‘Research in Africa’. Masters course, University of Edinburgh. [forthcoming]
2019: Guest Lecturer, delivering ‘Understanding Agriculture in Africa’, for the course ‘Africa in the Contemporary World’. Undergraduate course, University of Edinburgh.
2018: Guest Lecturer, delivering ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business’, for the course ‘Sustainable Development 2a: Perspectives on Sustainable Development’. Undergraduate course, University of Edinburgh.
2018: Guest Lecturer, delivering ‘Ethics, Bureaucracy, and Other Considerations When Researching in Africa’, for the course ‘Research in Africa’. Masters course, University of Edinburgh.
2017: Guest Lecturer, delivering ‘Agriculture and the Rural Economy’ for the course ‘Roots of African Poverty and Development’. Masters course, University of Edinburgh.
2019: Course Tutor, delivering 10 seminars over 10 weeks for the course ‘Gender, Marginalisation, and Social Change’. Undergraduate course, University of Edinburgh.
2017: Course Tutor, delivering 40 seminars over 10 weeks for the course ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development, 1A’. Undergraduate course, University of Edinburgh.
2015: Course Tutor, delivering 15 seminars over 5 weeks for the course ‘International Development, Aid and Humanitarianism’. Undergraduate course, University of Edinburgh.
Related Work in International Development:
2017-present: Development Research Consultant; freelance (Worldwide)
2014: Research Lead with Challenges Worldwide (Edinburgh, Scotland)
2008-2014: Projects Manager with RIPPLE Africa (Nkhata Bay District, Malawi; Glasgow, Scotland)
Related Academic Projects
2017-2019: Member of the research project ‘Feminist Taleem: Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives’- addressing questions of feminist pedagogy with Principal Investigator Dr. Radhika Govinda, funded by the UK-India Educational Research Initiative. Specialist workshop locations in New Delhi, India (December 2017); and Edinburgh, Scotland (February 2018). Co-production of an edited book to follow in 2019/2020.
2014-2017: The Chrystal Macmillan PhD Studentship, 'awarded to the most outstanding new PhD student whose work accords with the spirit of Chrystal Macmillan: feminist, internationalist and campaigner for peace and justice'.
2014: The Toni Kearton Prize for Best Masters Dissertation in the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.
2014: Prize for Best Overall Performance in MSc International Development, University of Edinburgh.
2002: California Governor’s Scholarship.
As a bagpiper in competition pipe bands, I had a 22-season competitive pipe band career (1994-2015), spanning the UK and North America. I am 5-Times Winner of the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championships, and have won 24 Grade 1 RSPBA major championship titles, six RSPBA Champion of Champions awards, and a ‘Grand Slam’ (all five major championships in a single year).