Currently based at the Global Studies Institute, Stéphanie is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Geneva‘s Political Science and International Relations Department. Under the leadership of senior lecturer D. Péclard, she currently works on a Swiss Network for International Studies project entitled Civil War and State Formation. In parallel, she is affiliated as an Associate Researcher with the Global Governance Center and the Centre on Conflict, Development, and Peacebuilding (CCDP) both based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID). There, she received her PhD in Political Science and International Relations (2013-2018) Summa Cum Laude with the Félicitations du Jury. Between 2016-2017, she also became a visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Her doctoral research was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation on a doc.CH grant.
An expert in African politics and, in particular, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), her PhD work has focused on linking the anthropology and the politics of the postcolonial state in urban settings. In so doing, she crafted a theoretical perspective on the state she termed 'a state ecosystem', composed of the daily practices, systems of significance and historical traces at work in urban DRC. Potentially applicable to many other contexts, the 'state ecosystem' suggests the Congolese state is sustained as a strong organizing force and form of public authority throughout society. Emerging from subtle patterns of both colonially-inflected discursive/material violence, collegial collaboration and symbiotic relations among street-level bureaucrats and ordinary citizens, she argues 'the state' is effectively reproduced in its ideational and performative dimensions.
In addition, she has developed a research agenda that seeks to introduce the notion of the ‘ordinary’ as a critique of the theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches of IR and political science, explore the contributions of original and ethical methods while conducting fieldwork/creating research designs, and examine issues of ‘colonial durabilities' in global politics (both as practice and discipline).
She previously worked at the UNDP’s country and field offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and conducted extensive field research as a graduate and undergraduate student in Rwanda and the DRC. She gained further academic and field expertise by attending a number of international conference, as a research assistant at the CCDP, a chapter contributor at the Small Arms Survey, and in publishing various peer-reviewed contributions, journal articles and book chapters.
Her research agenda links to visual and qualitative methods, critical theory, post-colonial studies, urban studies, state theory, fragility and failure, international intervention, security promotion and state transformation in Africa’s Great Lakes Region where she continues to conduct field research.
You can find her information and latest news here, from her personal website.
- 2019. (forthcoming). ‘Neighborhood chiefs in urban DRC: “The state is me, the state is you, the state is all of us.”’ In Tom de Herdt & Kristof Titeca (eds), Death to the state, long live the state? Real governance beyond the ‘failed state’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo, London: Zed Books.
- 2018. '"Shouldn't you be teaching me?" State Mimicry in the Congo', International Political Sociology, published online.
- 2018. Congo. A state ecosystem. PhD thesis, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.
- 2018. ‘The Workings of ‘Soft’ Governance in Crisis: Ambiguities of the State in DR Congo.’ Blog entry. Velibor Jakovleski and Annabelle Littoz-Monnet (eds), the Global Governance Center Blog, IHEID.
- Photographs published in In the Long Run's Image of the Week 2017-2018 series: State surveillance, January 31st, 2018, Plans in place, January 24th, 2018, and State props, December 16th, 2017.
- 2017. Contributor. ‘The Challenges Undisclosed. Reflecting on the invisible experiences of doctoral fieldwork’ In Liz Storer & Anna Shoemaker (eds), Field Diary Issue Series 2, Resilience in East African Landscape (REAL).
- 2017. Contributor. ‘Advice for Colombia from countries that have sought peace – and sometimes found it’, The Conversation, February 17.
- 2017. ‘Reintegrating Former Fighters in the Congo. Ambitious Objectives, Limited Results’, International Peacekeeping, 24(2): 254-279.
- 2015. ‘Feat and Failure in [Post-]Colonial DRC - Navigating the Labyrinth of the Negotiated State’, Chambre de Commerce Suisse - R.D. Congo, September - October Newsletter.
- 2015. ‘The ‘Gomenyi’ borderland: It’s not always all about war’, Amani Itakuya Essay Series, Christoph Vogel (ed).
- 2014. ‘Mbuji-Mayi and Lubumbashi: The Urban Offspring of the 'Resource Curse'?’, Unpublished background paper. Geneva: Small Arms Survey.