Dr Jonathan Fisher

Lecturer in International Development

International Development Department

Jonathan Fisher

Contact details

International Development Department
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

About

Jonathan’s research is focused on the relationship between Western aid donors and developing states. Within this he is particularly interested in how donors ‘construct’ perceptions of foreign governments and key concepts (eg 'fragile state') in international development. He is also interested in the extent to which these ‘knowledge construction’ processes are influenced by external actors and bureaucratic structures as well as by policy-makers themselves.

Jonathan is particularly interested in Africa and wrote his doctorate on the Ugandan-donor relationship between 1986-2010. He has recently completed an analysis of the role of international donors in Uganda's recent 2011 elections commissioned by the Deepening Democracy Programme, a donor 'basket fund' based in Kampala. Current research projects he is working on include:

  • Uganda as a 'fragile state' in donor agencies and international politics
  • Donor uses of 'political economy analysis' in policy-making
  • Somalia, South Sudan and Congo in the international system
  • Budget support and political conditionality

Qualifications

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in International Development:

  • DPhil in International Relations, University of Oxford 2011
  • MSc in African Studies, University of Oxford 2007
  • BA (Hons) History, University College London (UCL) 2006

Biography

Jonathan joined IDD in 2011 as an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow shortly after completing his doctorate at the University of Oxford. His DPhil focused on the relationship between the Ugandan government and its international aid donors between 1986-2010. The study sought to explore how the Museveni government has ‘managed’ the ways in which donors perceive it in order to secure greater agency in the international system and looked particularly at Uganda’s reputation as an ‘ally in the Global War on Terror’ since 9/11.

Jonathan’s research is focused on the relationship between Western aid donors and developing states. Within this he is particularly interested in how donors ‘construct’ perceptions of foreign governments and key concepts (eg ‘fragile state’) in international development. He is also interested in the extent to which these ‘knowledge construction’ processes are influenced by external actors and bureaucratic structures as well as by policy-makers themselves

Teaching

Jonathan co-convenes (with Dr Phil Amis) postgraduate modules on Aid Management and (with Dr Tom Hewitt) on Critical Approaches to Development (for both on-campus and distance learning students.

He also teaches on four other modules – Conflict in Developing Countries (both on-camus and distance learning), Governance and State-building, Development Politics (all IDD) and War Torn States and Post Conflict Reconstruction in the South, a 3rd year undergraduate module at POLSIS.

Postgraduate supervision

Jonathan welcomes new PhD applications in the areas of:

- Donors and the international politics of aid

- Security and conflict in the developing world

- African foreign relations and diplomacy

 

He has a particular interest in supervising students with a regional interest in sub-Saharan Africa and, particularly in:

- Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and the Great Lakes region

- Somalia, South Sudan and the Horn of Africa

Research

Research Interests:

  • The politics of aid, security and donor-recipient relations
  • ‘Knowledge construction’ and the role of ‘epistemic communities’ in development policy-making
  • Bureaucratic politics in international development
  • Political Economy analysis
  • Budget support and political conditionality
  • African foreign policy
  • East African politics and diplomacy

Other activities

Between January-July 2013, Jonathan will be joining the Africa Research Group at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a part-time Research Fellow.

Publications

ARTICLES IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS:

Fisher, J (2012)  ‘Managing perceptions and securing agency: Contextualizing Uganda’s 2007 intervention in Somalia’, African Affairs, 111 (444), pp.404-423 (July 2012)

Fisher, J (2013) ' "Some more reliable than others": Image management, donor perceptions and the Global War on Terror in East African diplomacy', Journal of Modern African Studies, 51 (1), pp.1-31 (March 2013)

Fisher, J (2013) 'The limits - and limiters - of external influence:Donors, the Ugandan Electoral Commission and the 2011 Elections', Journal of Eastern African Studies, 7 (3) (August 2013, forthcoming)

WORKING PAPERS:

Fisher, J and Marquette, H (2013) 'Donors doing Political Economy Analysis (TM): From Process to Product (and Back Again?)', IDD Working Paper (January 2013) (available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2206474)

BOOK CHAPTERS:

Fisher, J (2013) 'Image management and African agency: Ugandan regional diplomacy and donor relations under Museveni', in William Brown and Sophie Harman (eds), African Agency in International Politics (Routledge London, forthcoming April 2013)

Fisher, J (2013) ‘The limits – and limiters – of external influence: The role of international donors in Uganda’s 2011 election’, in Sandrine Perrot, Sabiti Makara and Jerome Lafargue (eds): Uganda’s 2011 Multiparty Elections: Towards a Consolidated Democracy? (Fountain Publishers, Kampala, forthcoming Summer 2013)

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