Dennis Rodgers


Research Professor, Anthropology and Sociology
Spoken languages
English, French, Spanish
Areas of expertise
  • Urban questions
  • Armed conflicts, violence
  • Terrorism, crime
  • Development, cooperation and aid policies
  • Governance, local and international
  • Redistribution policies, social inequalities, poverty
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • South America
  • South Asia



PhD, University of Cambridge (2000).

Prior to joining the Institute in 2018, Dennis Rodgers held appointments at the Universities of Amsterdam, Glasgow, Manchester, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on issues relating to the dynamics of conflict and violence in cities in Latin America (Nicaragua, Argentina) and South Asia (India). Much of his work involves the longitudinal study of youth gangs in Nicaragua but he also works on the political economy of development, the politics of socio-spatial segregation, participatory governance processes, the historiography of urban theory, and the epistemology of development knowledge. In 2018 he was awarded a five-year European Research Council Advanced Grant for a project on “Gangs, Gangsters, and Ganglands: Towards a Comparative Global Ethnography” (GANGS), which aims to systematically compare gang dynamics in Nicaragua, South Africa and France.


Selected publications



  • “The Gangster Imaginary: Towards a Transgressive Topography of Urban Violence”, 2016 IJURR lecture delivered at the ISA-RC21 Annual Conference, Mexico City, Mexico, 21–23 July 2016.

Forthcoming publications 

  • Co-edited with David Lewis, LSE, and Michael Woolcock, World Bank. From Popular Representations to New Development Practices: Innovations in Translation, Engagement, and Advocacy – this is a follow-up volume to our Popular Representations of Development (Routledge, 2014), which explores a range of new themes including, among others, photography, theatre, music and video games.
  • Co-edited with Kees Koonings and Dirk Kruijt, Utrecht University. Risky Anthropology – this festchrift volume celebrating the Utrecht “school of ethnography” explores the troubles and travails of ethnographic research in conflict contexts.




  • Gangs, Gangsters, and Ganglands: Towards a Global Comparative Ethnography – multi-pillared and multi-year research programme funded through a European Research Council Advanced Grant exploring the global evolution of gangs, through comparative ethnographic research on gang evolution, the cross-historical and contextual collection of life histories, and the spatial analysis of urban security configurations in order to typologise the trajectories of gangs across the world from organisational, individual, and contextual perspectives.
  • The Chicago School Re-considered (with Gareth A. Jones, LSE) – research project based on archival research, exploring forgotten aspects of the famous Chicago school of sociology, including in particular its origins, research ethics and practices, its comparative global urbanism, and its collaborative ethnographies. Includes the curation of an edited collection on The Enduring Relevance of the Chicago School of Sociology.
Dennis Rodgers

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