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Professor Gina Porter


Professor in the Department of Anthropology


Gina Porter has been based at Durham University since 1986, first in the Geography Department, since 2001 in Anthropology. She has undertaken field research in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and India but considers herself primarily an Africanist. (She taught for 10 years in Nigerian universities). Her research combines ethnographic approaches with a strong interest in spatial perspectives.

Her current research focuses primarily on mobility, transport and the use of mobile phones in sub-Saharan Africa. She recently led a three-country DFID/ESRC-funded study of youth and mobile phones and is now leading an ESRC GCRF-funded study: 'Youth engagement and skills acquisition within Africa's transport sector: promoting a gender agenda towards transitions into meaningful work'. Other recent research has been mostly related to mobility issues [gender and transport, transport-energy linkages, older people's mobility and access to services, Intermediate Means of Transport, off-road communities and issues of physical access, social networks of refugee youth] and to marketing and trade [market institutions, conflict in market place trade, gender issues in rural trade, contract farming, local agricultural labour markets]. Uneven power relationships and associated issues of exclusion are linking themes through her work, much of which has a strong gender component. Associated with this is a focus on developing innovative methodologies for effective field research (co-investigation with children and with older people, action research, mobile methods, networked approaches).

Topics on which she has supervised British and overseas postgraduates include: gender and embodied mobility in Ghana, gendering of sustainability in Cuban organic agriculture, transport impacts on agricultural production in Ghana, microcredit and transport in Ghana, road impacts on women's health in Nepal, masculinities and microfinance in Colombia, trust and farmer-trader relations in Ghana, decentralisation and poverty alleviation in Ghana, gender and fuelwood knowledges in Kenya, sanitation issues in Nigeria, empowerment in Honduras.

She has undertaken advisory work for diverse organisations, including international NGOs, the British Council, UNHabitat, DFID [Africa Community Access Programme AFCAP] and the African Development Bank.

Research Projects

• Transport and youth employment in Africa: transforming the gender agenda [focus on young women as transport user and workers in the sector, Abuja, Cape Town and Tunis].

• Mobility practices of vulnerable populations in Africa, urban and rural [including COVID impacts]

• Participatory Action Research: peer research applications in the transport sector

• Mobility, age and inter-generational relations [Tanzania, Nigeria]

• Women’s employment in the transport sector [Global South]

• Women’s energy poverty, vulnerabilities and precarity in the everyday [peri-urban Nigeria]

• Mobile phones – impacts on young people’s lives and life chances in Africa [Ghana, Malawi, South Africa]

• Women’s livelihoods and market access, Africa

• Children, transport and mobility in sub-Saharan Africa: developing a child-centred evidence base to improve policy and change thinking across Africa

Research interests

  • Children and young people
  • Gendered mobilities
  • Market institutions
  • Mobile phones/ICTs
  • Older people's mobility
  • Participatory methodologies
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Transport, mobility and social exclusion


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