School of Social and Political Science

Jose-Maria Munoz

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in African Studies and International Development

Jose-Maria Munoz

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Street (Address)

18 Buccleuch Place

City (Address)


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Research interests

Research interests

Political and economic anthropology, Law and society, Taxation and citizenship, Borderlands, Infrastructure, West and Central Africa, Cameroon, Chad

Muñoz has conducted extensive fieldwork in Cameroon and its neighbouring countries on topics ranging from business organisation and public administration reform to corporate social responsibility, corruption, and taxation.

For the last six years, Muñoz has been part of AFRIGOS, an European Research Council-funded project led by Paul Nugent, which investigated the patterns of governance that are emerging across the African continent out of unprecedented levels of investment  in transport infrastructure. The project has allowed Muñoz to conduct extensive fieldwork in Chad and Cameroon, gaining insight into the lived experience and perspectives of representatives of multilateral and bilateral lenders, government officials, managers of construction companies, freight forwarders, trucking companies, and drivers and their unions. Available in open access, the edited volume Transport Corridors in Africa (James Currey) offers a sample of the project team's research.

Muñoz's publications include Doing Business in Cameroon: An Anatomy of Economic Governance (International African Library, Cambridge University Press), an ethnographic monograph that explores how different business practices and repertoires have enabled distinct modes of governing the economy in the city of Ngaoundere (Cameroon) from the colonial era to the present. Based on fieldwork and archival research, it analyzes four arenas of the provincial economy—the cattle trade, freight transport, public contracting, and the projects of non-governmental organizations—to offer a fresh perspective on economic governance that interrogates the effects of prevalent dichotomies between formal and informal economies.


Topics interested in supervising

Economic Anthropology; Legal Anthropology; Anthropology of Finance; Taxes; Bureaucracy; Public Administration; Infrastructure and Technology; Borderlands; Political Ecology; Forestry and Mining; Pastoralism; Islam; Youth; Law and Development; Corporate Social Responsibility; Corruption and Anti-corruption; West and Central Africa; Cameroon; Chad


Licenciatura en Derecho, Univesidad Pontificia Comillas, ICADE (Spain)
Licenciatura en Antropología Social, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
MSc in Social Anthropology, University College London
PhD in Cultural Anthropology, Northwestern University (USA)

Anthropology and African Studies were for Muñoz a way out of the drudgery of legal practice in Spain, his home country. University College London and Northwestern University, two institutions renowned for their long-standing Africanist tradition, had a decisive impact on the formative years that followed his decision to abandon professional law. With time, he has come to see his legal training as an essential part of his toolkit as a researcher and a constant source of interdisciplinary impetus. From 2010 to 2012, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University’s Program in Development Studies.

PhD Students

Konstantin Biehl, Food safety and toxic uncertainty in Kenya

Francesco Longo, Music scences in the Cote d'Ivoire-Ghana borderlands

Daniel Essapo, Water governance in Douala, Cameroon

Staff Hours and Guidance

My guidance hours are Tuesdays 11:30-13:30. Please sign up for a time slot here


Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Munoz JM. Tensions autour de l’infrastructure logistique de N'Djaména, Tchad. Flux: Cahiers Scienfitiques Internationaux Reseaux et Territoires. 2024 Apr 8;(135-136).
Munoz JM. Withholding trust: Business taxpayers and the value-added tax in Cameroon. In Monga C, editor, The Oxford Handbook of the Economy of Cameroon. Oxford University Press. 2023. p. 501-512. (Oxford Handbooks). doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780192848529.013.36
Munoz JM. A time for realignment? Retrofit in the golden era of the Cameroonian railways. In Lamarque H, Nugent P, editors, Transport Corridors in Africa. James Currey Ltd. 2022. p. 180
Bierschenk T, Munoz JM. Ethnographies of entrepreneurs, business associations and rentier capitalism in Africa. Anthropologie & Developpement. 2021 Dec 31;52:9-28.
Munoz JM. Doing Business in Cameroon: An Anatomy of Economic Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 242 p. (The International African Library). doi: 10.1017/9781108684477
Munoz JM, Burnham P. Subcontracting as corporate social responsibility in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline. In Dolan C, Rajak D, editors, The Anthropology of Corporate Social Responsibility. New York: Berghahn Books Inc. 2016. p. 152-178. (Dislocations). doi: 10.2307/j.ctvgs09h2.12
Munoz JM. Making contracts public in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon. City & Society. 2014 Aug 31;26(2):175-195. Epub 2014 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/ciso.12039
Munoz JM. A breeding ground for revenue reliability? Cameroonian veterinary agents and tax officials in the face of reform. In Bierschenk T, de Sardan JPO, editors, States at Work: Dynamics of African Bureaucracies . Leiden: Brill. 2014. p. 301-328. (Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies). doi: 10.1163/9789004264960_013
Munoz Martin J. The Revenue Imperative in Cameroon. In Cantens T, Ireland R, Raballand G, editors, Reform by Numbers: Measurement Applied to Customs and Tax Administrators in Developing Countries. Washington DC: World Bank. 2013. p. 37-58. 3. (Directions in Development). doi: 10.1596/978-0-8213-9713-8
Munoz Martin J. Talking Law in Times of Reform: Paradoxes of Legal Entitlement in Cameroon. Law & Society Review. 2011 Dec;45(4):893-921. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5893.2011.00460.x
Munoz Martin J. Business Visibility and Taxation in Northern Cameroon. African Studies Review. 2010;53(2):149-175. doi: 10.1353/arw.2010.0009
Munoz Martin J. Au Nom du Développement: Ethnicité, Autochtonie, et Promotion du Secteur Privé au Nord-Cameroun. Politique Africaine. 2008;112:67-85.