CV | Publications | Project

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 and a PhD in Public Law from the University of Cape Town. She is Senior Research Fellow heading up the Africa component of the Horizon 2020 research project Vulnerabilities under the Global Protection Regime (“VULNER”), which aims to understand how the law evaluates, shapes, addresses, and produces vulnerabilities of protection seekers in practice.

Nakueira’s work cuts across the fields of law, criminology, and anthropology as she attempts to understand the disjuncture between law and practice and associated effects of interactions between diverse actors and contestations between different normative orders. She has explored topics on transnational private governance, the governance of mega-events, and governance in humanitarian spaces. These topics are part of her broader research interest in understanding how contemporary governance takes shape and the resulting effects in global contexts. She completed her PhD in 2014 with a thesis titled New Architectures of Governance: Transnational Private Actors, Enrolment Strategies and the Security Governance of Sports Mega Events.

Nakueira is a research associate at the Global Risk Governance Programme at the University of Cape Town and a member of the Evolving Securities Initiative (ESI), a  cross­-disciplinary group of scholars that undertakes research on current and emerging security challenges. Prior to joining VULNER, she taught at the University of Zurich, where she is currently a research associate. 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. 

Go to Editor View