Professor Jean Grugel

Professor of International Development

Jean Grugel

Room number: C14a
Telephone (internal): 27942
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7942
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7942

Professor Jean Grugel joined the Department of Geography in January 2011 as Professor of International Development. She graduated in History and English and has a PhD in Politics/Latin American Studies, all from the University of Liverpool. She had previously held a Chair in Politics at the University of Sheffield, and has worked at the Universities of York and Madrid, and for a short time at the Latin America Bureau as a researcher and writer.

Jean is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS). She has held visiting positions in a number of universities in Europe and Latin America, including the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, FLACSO Argentina and the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas. She currently works closely with colleagues in the University of Lund, Sweden, the Fundação João Pinheiro, Minas Gerais, Brazil and the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals, Barcelona.

She is currently a member of two project funded by the Department of Education, Spain: "The Middle Classes in Latin America and New Political Demands" and "The EU in an international system in transition" and is working with UNRSID on the political economy of mining and children’s rights.

Jean is Director of the Sheffield Institute of International Development (SIID). Previously , she was co-Director of PSA (now RESS) between 2009 and 2012.

Research Interests

Development, democratization and citizenship, civil society and advocacy politics, human rights, children and childhood, regionalism.

Current research

My current research projects coalesce around four broad areas. I consciously seek to bring interdisciplinary insights to bear in all of these areas.


My work on democratization takes a radical perspective that places the rights of ordinary people at the heart of how we understand democracy. I remain interested, as I have been since my PhD in the 1980s, in exploring the shift from authoritarianism to (sometimes incomplete and partial) democracy through the perspective of citizenship. As such, my research sets out to challenge simple notions of linearity or economic and cultural causality in relation to democracy. I argue that democratization studies should be concerned, above all, with the creation, extension and practices of social and political citizenship. This has given rise to my collaboration in a White Rose network on Transformative Justice.

Children's rights

This strand of my work focuses on the meaning of children’s rights and debates about children's citizenship in terms of public policies. Much (but not all) of this work explores children's rights in Latin America I am in the process of completing research projects on the meaning of rights for street working children in Brazil; on the comparative politics of compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Latin America; on regionalism and children rights; on children's rights as transnational governance and, my most recent project on youth gangs. My research on children's rights has been funded by a series of grants from the ESRC and the EU.

Global governance, vulnerability and marginalization

Building on my book (with Nicola Piper) Critical perspectives on Global Governance: Rights and Regulation in Governing Regimes, my work explores the meaning of increased global regulation for ordinary people and, in particular, for vulnerable communities. In addition to work on children, I have explored the global governance of migration in recent articles and am preparing a collection of articles that will identify different theoretical approaches for understanding vulnerability in the context of global regulation.

Political economy of development

This research builds out from a collaborative ESRC-funded project, with Paul Mosley, Pia Riggirozzi and Ben Thirkell-White on the management of financial crisis in the developing world. We are still writing up from research gathered over the last decade on crisis and development, including a forthcoming book, The Politics of Poverty Reduction. I have also explore the 'return of the state' and the rise of post neoliberalism (sometimes termed neo-statism) in Latin America in a series of books and articles.


In my teaching and supervision, I aim to encourage students to think independently and to be open to different theoretical and disciplinary perspectives. I am keen that students question the universality and relevance of their own experiences. Given that much of my teaching is in the area of international development, I particularly encourage students to learn how to uncover and engage with social and political environments that may be quite different from their own. I believe that students should be able to challenge received wisdoms theoretically and that they should appreciate the value of empirical and grounded scholarship. My background in politics and the kind of issues I research mean that I encourage students to be alert to underlying questions of power. Much of my teaching is research-led, meaning that I often draw examples from the global South and Latin America in particular.

Key Publications

  • Grugel, J. (2013) Democratization (Four Volumes) Sage, London
  • Grugel, J. and Bishop, M. (2013) Democratization: A Critical Introduction Palgrave-Macmillan, London,
  • Mosley, P., Chiripanhura, B., Grugel, J. and Thirkell-White, B. (2012). The Politics of Poverty Reduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780199692125
  • Grugel, J. and Riggirozzi, P. (2012). Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the State after Crisis. Development and Change, 43(1), 1-21.
  • Grugel, J. and Peruzzotti, E. (2012). The Domestic Politics of International Human Rights Law: Implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. Human Rights Quarterly, 34(1), 178-198.
  • Grugel, J. and Piper, N. (2011). Global governance, economic migration and the difficulties of social activism. International Sociology, 26(4), 433-454.

Other information

Jean has acted as an advisor to the European Commission and UNICEF on children's rights and to the European Commission on aid and policy towards Latin America. She was a trustee of NGO, Childhope until 2009 and remains committed to supporting civil society initiatives in development.  

She is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of Chile: Governing and Resisting Neoliberalism (University of Grenoble) and of Democracy Beyond the Nation State: Transnational Actors and Global Governance (Universities of Stockhom and Lund).

She was editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research 2003-2009 and is editor of the book series Development, Justice and Citizenship (Palgrave, London).