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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


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

Sarah-Jane's Guidance and Feedback sessions are on Thursday 15:00 - 16:30.  To sign up for a feedback and guidance session, please click here.

Sarah-Jane's research interests include: law and social order in Africa; the politics of mega events; urbanisation, and the politics of urban development. Her most recent research explores how citizens tackle theft and robbery in Durban and what this can tell us about statehood and sovereignty in South Africa.

Sarah-Jane completed her DPhil in International Development at the University of Oxford. She also holds an MPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford, and a BA (hons) in History and Politics from Nottingham University. She has been awarded an ESRC studentship (2007-2011), and a Senior Hulme Scholarship (2013-2014).

Sarah-Jane has recently started in Edinburgh, coming to us from the London School of Economics. Before this, she taught African politics and international development to undergraduates and graduates at the University of Oxford.

Sarah-Jane teaches on the UG course, 'International Development, Aid, and Humanitarianism' as well as the PG course, 'Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices'.

Selected Publications 

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.

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., Sacilotto, C.K. and Roy, I., 2013. ODID Working Paper Series: Focus on IBSA: An Introduction.

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