Dr Oliver Owen

Research Disciplines:

  • Anthropology, political anthropology, political economy.


Research Keywords:

  • Governance, the state, public spheres, institutions, sovereignty, citizenship, policing, taxation, futures.


Countries and regions:

  • West Africa, Nigeria.



  • African Studies core courses 1 and 2, Theories and Approaches in Social Anthropology, Key themes in Anthropology, Anthropology of Africa, Anthropology of violence and social suffering.


PhD Supervision:

  • Hanno Brankamp, OUCE  (co-supervisor): Policing refugees: an ethnography of police work and community policing in Kenya's refugee camps.

Email: oliver.owen@africa.ox.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)1865 213908

Books and monographs

Owen, Oliver (with J Beek, M Goepfert & J Steinberg) (eds) (2017) 'Police in Africa: The Street-Level View', London: Hurst


Journal articles and special issues

Gatt, Leah & Owen, Oliver (2018) ‘Direct Taxation and State–Society Relations in Lagos, Nigeria’ Development and Change 49 (5) 1195-1222.

Owen, Oliver (2016) 'Government Properties: The Nigeria Police Force as Total Institution?', Africa 86 (1) 37-58

Owen, Oliver (with Zainab Usman) (2015) 'Briefing: Why Goodluck Jonathan lost the Nigerian presidential election of 2015', African Affairs 114 (456) 455-71

Owen, Oliver (with S-J Cooper-Knock) (2014) 'Between vigilantism and bureaucracy: Improving our understanding of police work in Nigeria and South Africa', Theoretical Criminology 19 (3) 355-75

Owen, Oliver (2013) 'The police and the public: Risk as preoccupation', Sociologus 63 (1-2) 59-80

Owen, Oliver (2012) 'Policing Nigeria: Towards a History of State Sovereignty', Politique Africaine 128

Owen, Oliver (2008) 'Biafran Pound Notes', Africa 79(4)



Owen, Oliver (2018) ‘Revenue and Representation: The political economy of public participation’. In Levan, C. & Ukata, P. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics, Oxford: OUP.

Owen, Oliver (2017) 'Risk and motivation in police work in Nigeria'. In J Beek, M Goepfert, O Owen and J Steinberg (eds) 'Police in Africa: The Street-Level View' , London: Hurst

Owen, Oliver (2016) 'Policing after Colonialism'. In B Bradford, B Jauregui, I Loader and J Steinberg (eds) SAGE Handbook of Global Policing , London: SAGE

Owen, Oliver (2013) 'Positions of Security and the Security of Position: Bureaucratic Prebendalism Inside the State'. In Wale Adebanwi, Ebenezer Obadare (eds) Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria: Critical Reinterpretations , Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan


Working papers

Goodfellow, Tom & Owen, Oliver (2018) ‘Taxation, property rights and the social contract in Lagos’, International Centre for Tax and Development Working Paper No. 73, Institute of Development Studies.

Goodfellow, Tom & Owen, Oliver (2018) ‘Taxation, Property Rights and the Social Contract in Lagos’, International Centre for Tax and Development Research in Brief No. 16, Institute of Development Studies.

Owen, Oliver (2014) 'The Nigeria Police Force: predicaments and possibilities', NRN Working Paper No 15, Nigeria Research Network, Oxford Department of International Development

Owen, Oliver (2013) ‘Policing Communal Conflicts: The State, Parallel Security Providers, and Communities’, NRN Policy Brief No 4 - Nigeria Research Network, Oxford Department of International Development.



Owen, Oliver (2015) 'Film: The forgotten army of WWII: West Africa's soldiers in Burma',


List of site pages