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After Activism? Grassroots women activists’ trajectories beyond community resistance (Advert Ref: RDF18/SSL/JENKINS)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K Jenkins
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD seeks to understand how women’s experiences and involvement in grassroots activism shape their future opportunities and trajectories beyond their, often sustained, involvement in community campaigning and struggles. To what extent do such women, particularly those who have taken a leadership role within an organisation, use this as a springboard for their own personal and professional development, once the cause with which they are involved leaves the limelight? How does involvement with national and international civil society organisations enable them to take advantage of new opportunities at the local level and beyond? Activism is often focused on a particular campaign or issue, and can extend over many years. However, it may often come to a natural end or wane in significance over time, though this is not always a linear process. The research explores the ways in which women leaders negotiate this process, and how being embedded in activism shapes their personal and professional futures, perhaps in unexpected ways, and both positively and negatively.

The project will contribute to literatures on theorising activism and activist trajectories (Askins 2015; Baillie Smith and Jenkins 2012, 2016; Chatterton and Pickerill 2010; Spence and Stephenson 2007a and 2007b), as well as feminist literature exploring changing notions of leadership in relation to (global) civil society (Rowlands 1997; Sweetman 2000; Jenkins 2011). It is envisaged that the project would focus specifically on women’s activism in relation to natural resource extraction (Jenkins 2015, 2017; Jenkins & Rondón 2015), where there has been relatively little critical engagement with women activists and their experiences, especially the ways in which these experiences play out over time and space. The research will incorporate a longitudinal aspect, following the trajectories of selected women activists over a period of time to understand in greater detail the challenges they face and the choices they make in relation to their activist careers. It is hoped that the research will explore the possibilities of using online technologies to facilitate life history interviews and other forms of data collection. Some overseas fieldwork will probably be required, depending on the case study/ies selected.

Whilst the principal supervisor’s research has focused on the Latin American context, proposals are also welcome that aim to explore this phenomenon across other regions of the global South, and in comparative perspective with the global North.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 28 January 2018
Start Date: 1 October 2018

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18, this is £14,553 pa) and fees


Recent publications and current/planned bidding by supervisors relevant to this project:

Jenkins is currently completing a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship on the topic of ‘Women, Mining and Photography’. She is also principal investigator on a three-year British Academy International Partnership and Mobility grant exploring women’s experiences of living in mining-affected communities in Northern Chile.
Recent relevant publications by principal supervisor:
Jenkins, K. (2017) ‘Women Anti-Mining Activists’ Narratives of Everyday Resistance in the Andes: Staying put and carrying on in Peru and Ecuador’ Gender, Place and Culture DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2017.1387102
Baillie Smith, M. and Jenkins, K. (2016) ‘Civil society activists and vulnerability in South India: the relational politics of life history methods and development research’ Social and Cultural Geography 18(7): 951-970
Jenkins, K. and Rondón, G. (2015) “‘Eventually the mine will come’: Women anti-mining activists’ everyday resilience in opposing resource extraction in the Andes’ Gender and Development 23(3): 415-431
Jenkins, K. (2015) ‘Unearthing Women’s Anti-Mining Activism in the Andes: Pachamama and the “Mad Old Women”’ Antipode 47(2): 442-460
Baillie Smith, M. and Jenkins, K. (2012) 'Existing at the Interface: Indian NGO Activists as Strategic Cosmopolitans Antipode 44(3): 640-662 (with M. Baillie Smith)
Jenkins, K. (2011) ‘Depoliticisation and the Changing Trajectories of Grassroots Women’s Leadership in Peru: From Empowerment to Service Delivery?’ Journal of Latin American Studies 43: 299-326
Baillie Smith, M. and Jenkins, K. (2011) 'Disconnections and Exclusions: Professionalization, cosmopolitanism and (global?) civil society' Global Networks 11(2): 160-179

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