Elena Butti

100x150 Elena Butti.jpg  
Elena Butti
Visiting Fellow


Email:  elena.butti (at) law.ox.ac.uk or elena.butti (at) graduateinstitute.ch 



Elena is a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford, and currently a Junior Visiting Fellow at the Centre on Conflict, Development & Peacebuilding at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Her ethnographic research, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, investigates why and how adolescents get involved in gang violence and organised crime in Colombia's urban margins. In her thesis, she contrasts the lived experiences of these youths with the narrative about peace and reconciliation that permeates the country. Between 2015 and 2016, she conducted 16 months of fieldwork in Colombia, using standard ethnographic methods as well as participatory techniques for research with children and youth. A product of her fieldwork is the participatory documentary ‘Somos’, where a group of youths talk about how peace and violence play out in their daily lives.

In Colombia, Elena has also collaborated with the International Center for Transitional Justice and UNICEF. She was also a visiting lecturer on transitional justice, peacebuilding and children's rights at the Law Faculties of the National University and the Rosario University in Bogotá, and at University College London and the Metropolitan University in London. At Oxford, Elena is co-founder of the Oxford Children’s Rights Network, and a member of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research group, the Oxford Network of Peace Studies, the War and Peace at Oxford group, and the Enacting Global Transformation Initiative.

Prior to coming to Oxford, Elena graduated as Class Valedictorian from University College Utrecht, where she completed her BA (Hons) summa cum laude in Law and Anthropology, with a minor in Research Methods and Statistics. She was also a visiting student at SciencesPo Paris, specialising in international law and conflict studies. During her undergraduate studies, Elena worked as a research intern at the Utrecht University School of Human Rights Research and at the Barcelona University Peace Studies Centre. She has also volunteered in several countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe in the areas of sustainable development, peacebuilding and child education. 


Fields of Interest:

  • Youth violence
  • Marginalisation and exclusion
  • Peacebuilding
  • Children's rights
  • Ethnographic methods in high-risk settings
  • Participatory research with children and youth