My formative ethnographic fieldwork was based in Tissana: a multi-ethnic frontier fishing town in Southern Sierra Leone. In this research, I traced the story of the successive waves of young migrants who, for several decades, have been arriving on the coast from rural areas seeking an alternative to the indentured labour conditions of a farming economy still shaped by the legacy of domestic slavery. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing post-war economy, and in an ecological context in which fish stocks are in treacherous decline, I explore the intersection between people’s everyday struggles for economic survival and their taken-for-granted knowledge of the substance of the world within which those fragile livelihoods play out.
More recently, I have been working with colleagues in Sierra Leone and at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on research examining the role of men and boys in activist movements for gender equality. I also co-authored a policy paper reflecting on the gendered dimensions of the Ebola crisis, and have an emerging research interest in the political economy of infant and maternal health in the post-Ebola context.