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Research Interests

Governance of global spaces (focus on mega-event spaces), governance of humanitarian spaces (focus on refugee settlements), legal pluralism, governance mechanisms, policing, plural policing, migration, human rights

Research Area(s)
South Africa and Uganda


Sophie Nakueira holds an LLM in Commercial Law and a PhD in Public Law from the University of Cape Town. She was a Senior Research Fellow within the project Vulnerabilities under the Global Protection Regime (“VULNER”), and, since its conclusion has been a research associate of the Department. At present she is working on a monograph drawing from her research on humanitarian governance in Africa.

Nakueira’s research cuts across the fields of law, criminology, and anthropology as she investigates the disjuncture between law and practice, and contestations between different normative orders. She has explored numerous governance-related topics, including transnational private governance, the governance of mega-events, and humanitarian governance with the broad objective of understanding how risk is constructed and governed to mitigate contemporary challenges in diverse contexts. These topics are part of her broader research interest in understanding the evolving nature of risk and contemporary governance.

Nakueira is also a research associate at the Global Risk Governance Programme at the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town. She has worked in various capacities as a researcher, visiting scholar, guest lecturer, and consultant in Uganda, South Africa, Australia, Belgium, and Germany.

Why Law & Anthropology?

As a legal scholar who is interested in plurality and how law functions on the ground, combining the disciplines of law and anthropology allows me to investigate and unpack the nuances that shape everyday interactions and outcomes in different contexts. Anthropology, with its rigorous ethnographic approach, allows me to map the actors, processes, and institutions that interact to shape social phenomena in the spaces and among the people we want to study. Anthropology allows one to conduct the mapping of such processes without giving conceptual priority to state forms of governance. 

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