Isabel Pike is a sociologist whose research focuses on gender, development and inequality in Africa. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. Her current book project, based on her doctoral thesis, explores the contested narrative in Kenya that “the boy child has been forgotten” as a means to understand both reactions to social change as well as the ways that development discourse can be repurposed. This analysis of gendered narratives also explores the social category of “youth”—frequently associated with low-income urban, young men in public discourse—and the surprising ways in which men and women try to hold onto their status as youth as they age. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, she has several parallel projects, including on the gendered and economic dynamics of marriage and romantic relationships, occupational gender segregation in the informal sector, and the theoretical and methodological challenges of research on youth. She grew up in Uganda and prior to academia, worked for the World Food Programme in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Selection of publications
- Pike, Isabel (2020) “A Discursive Spectrum: The Narrative of Kenya’s “Neglected” Boy Child”, Gender & Society 34(2), 284-306
- Grant, Monica and Isabel Pike (2019) “Divorce, Living Arrangements, and Material Well-being during the Transition to Adulthood in Rural Malawi” Population Studies 73(2), 261-275
- Pike, Isabel, Sanyu Mojola and Caroline Kabiru (2018) Making Sense of Marriage: Gender and the Transition to Adulthood in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Marriage and Family, 80(5), 1298-1313