Prof Jenny Pearce

PositionProfessor of Latin American Politics, Director of International Centre for Participation Studies
Department or DivisionPeace Studies
Telephone+44 (0)1274 23 4183

Professional Activities

Professor Jenny Pearce researches violence, participation and social change. This interest is rooted in over 40  years of research and action in Latin America, which has focused on struggles for democracy, human rights and social justice. Building on this work, Professor Pearce has come to centre her research on Power, Violence and Participation at the local and global levels. In 2001, her work in multi-ethnic contexts of Latin America, led the Vice-Chancellor at the time to propose her as a member of the Ouseley Commission to explore the problems of inter-ethnic relations in Bradford District. She subsequently set up the Programme for a Peaceful City (PPC) , a network of academics and community activists aimed at generating space for debate on the problems of the District. In 2003 she established the International Centre for Participation Studies (ICPS)  as a research and action centre on participatory practice at the local (Bradford), regional (north of England) and global (Latin America and other parts of the global South) levels.

She was Director of the ICPS 2003-2014.  Professor Pearce convened a DFID –funded research group on Violence, Participation and Citizenship for the Institute of Development Studies in the University of Sussex from 2005-2010,  and was Principle Investigator on two ESRC funded research project (under the Non-Governmental Public Action Programme) on Municipal Innovation in Non Governmental Public Participation UK-Latin America 2005-2008, and HIV Activism 2007-2009.  She was PI on an AHRC Scoping Review on Power in Community, 2010-2011, and this was followed by an ESRC/JRF grant to set up a Community University in Bradford.  Jenny continues to be deeply involved in Latin America, particularly Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia.

She has been working on issues of violence and security, and pursuing an interest in methodologies for researching violence which work with those who most experience violence and insecurity. She was part of a team with the Observatory of Human Security in Medellin which won an IDRC grant to work on a methodology of 'Security from Below' which Jenny developed in collaboration with Alexandra Abello. Jenny's work on new ways of understanding violence and security in Latin America has led to invitations to address  many international conferences, in Latin America and the United States. She was peer reviewer of the UNDP's 2014 Latin American Regional Report on Citizens Security with a Human Face. The methodology of 'Security from Below' has been piloted also in Honduras, and Jenny was the keynote speaker at the final public event in 2014 which communicated the learning from this experiment to a wide audience of decision makers, NGOs, the police and community researchers involved in the project and who presented it. Jenny is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and is on the editorial board of Conflict, Security and Development. She is currently writing a book on Politics and Violence and is conducting field work on Elites and Violence in Latin America.

Research Areas

  • Building 'participation' as a field of study within both Political Science and Peace Studies. To what extent can democratization of diverse spheres of cultural and political life, contribute to more peaceful societies?
  • Exploring the role of violence as an obstacle to democratization processes using interdisciplinary approaches.  Violence inhibits participation but at the same time can generate social action to desanction violence, challenge violent actors and open up spaces for interaction previously closed by violence.  Jenny  also explores how we can rethink ‘security’ as an enabler of participation in contexts of chronic violence
  • Participatory research methodologies, knowledge exchange between academics and non academics and South-North learning.
  • All the above are empirically rooted in field work in a range of sites and contexts and comparative South-North research, where Professor Pearce always attempts to ensure non extractive research processes: 

  • Latin America: Huehuetenango, Guatemala (looking at a post armed conflict context and supporting local education and documentation centre , CEDFOG)
  • Medellin , Colombia (in the midst of mutating armed conflict). Working with the Univeridad of Antioquia  and the Observatorio de Seguridad Humana
  • El Salvador, where Jenny is working with  the Historical Memory Museum of Arcatao, Chalatenango on the construction of the history of the Local Popular Power, which Jenny worked with in 1984.
  •  Bradford, in the UK, with its  history of riots, poverty and social tensions arising from deindustrialisation and other social and economic changes. The latter has led me to comparative research between Latin America and the North of England, in the field of participatory processes for change.
  • Current Research: Elites and Violence in Latin America,  Post War Reconstruction and Peacebuiilding, Politics and Violence, Intellectualism, Activism and Power


    Single Authored Books 


    1. Más Allá de la Malla Perimetral, El Petróleo y el Conflicto Armado en Casanare, Colombia, Bogotá, CINEP, 2005
    2. Colombia: Inside the Labyrinth, Latin America Bureau, London, 1990
    3. (Translated as:        Kulumbien: im Innern des Labyrinths, Scmetterling Verlag,  Stuttgart, 1992
    4. Colombia: Dentro del Laberinto, Altamir Ediciones, Bogota,   Colombia, 1993)
    5. Colombia: the Drugs War, Aladdin Books, London, 1990.
    6. Promised Land: Peasant Rebellion in Chalatenango, El Salvador, Latin America Bureau, London, 1985
    7. Under the Eagle: US Intervention in Central America and the Caribbean, Latin America Bureau, London, 1981 (reprinted four times, Dutch translation)
    8. Uruguay: Generals Rule, Latin America Bureau, London, 1980.



    Co Authored Books


    1. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: The Bradford Riot and Beyond (with Janet Bujra), Bradford: Vertical Editions
    2. Civil Society and Development: A Critical Exploration (with Jude Howell),Boulder Co.: Lynne Reinner, 2001.
    3. Viejos Sueños, Viejos Practicas: Poder Local en América Central, Guatemala: PCS, 1997) with J. Arancibia, A.E. Marin, and S. Prado,
    4. The Great Tin Crash, Bolivia and the World Tin Market, Latin America Bureau, London, 1986, with J. Crabtree and G.Duffy.
    5. Translated and published in Malaysia (title unavailable)
    6. Eritrean Journey, War on Want, London, 1985, with T.Silkin, D.Burgess and J.Rossiter.
    7. The Falklands/Malvinas: Whose Crisis?, Latin America Bureau, London, 1983, with Martin Honeywell. 



    Edited Books 


    1. Participation and Democracy in the Twenty-first Century City. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2010 
    2. Violence, Social Action and Research, IDS Bulletin Volume 40, No 3. Wiley-Blackwell. 2009 with McGee, R
    3. The Thatcher Years: Britain and Latin America, Latin  America Bureau, London 1987, with J.Ferguson,
    4. Vision of Hope: The Church and Change in Latin America, Fount Paperbacks, London, 1984, with T.Beeson,
    5. The European Challenge:Europe and Latin America, Latin America Bureau, London, 1983, pp243 (wrote `Introduction')



    Article in Journals


    1. Power and the Activist; From the Neighbourhood to the Square.Development and Change 2013 44(3): 639-663
    2. Learning from Latin America: Organising for Social Transformation (special issue of Community Development Journal, edited with R. Mcgee and A. Bronstein) Vol. 45, no 3 July 2010 intro. 265-276
    3. Is Social Change Fundable? NGOs and Theories and Practises of Social Change. Development in Practice, Volume 20, number 6 pgs 621-635
    4. Perverse State Formation and Securitised Democracy in Latin America Democratisation Vol 17, No. 2 April  2010 286-306
    5. “Security from Below”: Humanizing Security in Contexts of Chronic Violence in Transforming Security and Development in an Unequal World, IDS Bulletin Volume 40, No 2. Wiley-Blackwell, pp, 11-19. 2009 with Abello Colak.
    6. "Policy Failure and Petroleum Predation: The economics of civil war debate viewed from the ‘warzone’." Government and Opposition, Vol. 40, no. 2 pp, 152-180, 2007.
    7. Toward a Post-Representational Politics? : Participation in the 21st Century. World Futures. Vol.63 No. 5-6 pp, 464-478, 2007.
    8. The International Community and Peacebuilding. Development 48, pp 41-49, August 2005
    9. "Collective Action and Public Participation: Complementary or Contradictory Democratisation strategies in Latin America," Bulletin of Latin American Research. Vol. 23, No.4, 2004, p 483-504.
    10. Article reprinted: "Civil Society, the Market and Democracy in Latin America," P. Burnell and P. Calvert (eds), Civil Society in Democratisation, Frank Cass, 2004, pp 90-116.
    11. Article reprinted:"Sustainable Peace building in the South: experiences from Latin America", in H.Afshar and D.Eade (eds), Development, Women and War, 2004, pp238-266.
    12. Peace-building on the Periphery: Lessons from Central America, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 20, No 1, pp 51-68, February 1999
    13. From Civil War to 'Civil Society': has the end of the Cold War brought peace to Central America?', International Affairs, 74, 3, 1998.
    14. Civil Society, the Market and Democracy in Latin America,  Democratization, Vol 4, no 2, Summer 1997, pp 57-83
    15. NGOS and Social Change, Facilitators or Agents', in Development in Practice, Vol.3, No. 3, 1993: p 222-227
    16. `Colombia, Report on the Americas', North American Congress on Latin America, April 1990: p. 7-29 (entire issue)
    17. `The Iran-Contra Affair', Third World Quarterly, January 1988



    Chapters in Book

    1. Our Global Futures: Is Participatory Democracy an Answer. (Afterword) in Elizabeth Pinnington and Daniel Schugurensky (eds) Citizenship learning and participatory democracy throughout the world. Cambridge Scholarly Press, 2009, (forthcoming )
    2. (with John Diamond) Manchester: Between the Grassroots and City Hall: Participation in a Global City. In: J.Pearce (edParticipation and Democracy in the Twenty-first Century City. Non-Governmental Public Action Series. Palgrave Macmillan. p154-179, 2010.
    3. Police on the Line: Between Control and Correctness in Multi-ethnic Contexts of Urban Unrest. In: Waddington, D., Jobard, F. and King, M. (Eds) Rioting in the UK and France: A Comparative Analysis. Willan Publishing, p 56-70, 2009 with Bujra, J.
    4. Inequality. In: Burnell, P & Randall, V. Politics in the Developing World. 1st 2nd  and 3rd (forthcoming)Editions. Oxford University Press, pp 91- 110, 2007, 2008 and 2010 forthcoming
    5. Preface in: Angarita, PabloE., Jimenez, Blanca., Gallo, Hector., (eds). “Dinámicas de Guerra y Construcción de Paz. Estudio Interdisciplinario del Conflcito Armado en la Comuna 13 de Medellín”. Universidad de Antioquia-INER, IPC, Corporacion Region, Universidad de Medellin. Colombia, Agosto 2008.
    6. Retos para la Participación Cívica En Contextos de Violencia Crónica. In: Gonzales Gonzalez, F. “Towards the Reconstruction of the Country: Development, space, culture, power and institutions in regions affected by the armed conflict” CINEP-ODECOFI. pp, 324-330, 2008.
    7. "Oil and Armed Conflict in Casanare, Colombia: Complex Contexts and Contingent Moments," in Mary Kaldor, Terry Lynne Karl, Yahia Said (eds) Oil Wars, London: Pluto Press, 2007
    8. "‘Bringing Violence back home’: Gender Socialisation and the Transmission of Violence through Time and Space" LSE’s Global Civil Society Yearbook, with a chapter entitled (London:Sage), 2007.
    9. 'Collective Action or Public Participation?: Complimentary or Contradictory Democratisation Strategies in Latin America' in: M.Glasius, D. Lewis and Hakan Sekinelgin, Exploring Civil Society: Political and Cultural Contexts, Routledge, pp 61- 70, 2004.
    10. Pearce, Jenny & Howell,Jude. "Civil Society: A critical interrogation", in B.Pratt, (ed), Changing Expectations? The Concept and Practice of Civil Society in International Development, Oxford, INTRAC, 2004, pp 11-30.
    11. "Foreword to Grace Livingstone", in Inside Colombia: Drugs, Democracy and War, London: Latin America Bureau, 2004, pp 7-24.
    12. "Civil Society, the Market and Democracy in Latin America", in: P.Burnell and P.Calvert (eds), Civil Society in Democratization, Frank Cass, London, 2004, pp. 90-116. 
    13. Collective action or public participation? Civil Society and the public sphere in post-transition Latin America in M.Glasius et al, (2004) Exploring Civil Society: Political and Cultural Context
    14. Pearce, Jenny & Howell, Jude. "Civil Society: Technical Instrument or Social Force for Change?" in: D. Lewis and T. Wallace (eds), New Roles and Relevance: Development NGOs and the Challenge of Change, Bloomfield, Connecticut, Kumarzas Press, 2001.
    15. ‘Development NGO's and Civil Society: the debate and its future', in J.Pearce (guest editor) Development, NGO's and Civil Society, Oxfam, 2000.Oxfam Development and Practice Reader, NGOs, Development and Civil Society; Oxfam: Oxford. 1999
    16. Democracy and Development in a Divided Country: The case of Chile, in A. Leftwich (ed) Democracy and Development, Oxford, Polity Press,1995
    17. With Donna Pankhurst,`Feminist Perspectives on Democratisation in the South. Engendering  orr Adding Women in?', in Haleh Afshar (ed), Women and Politics in the Third World, London, Routledge, 1995
    18. Liberalism and Democracy in Chile, in R.Sieder(ed) Impunity in Latin America, Institute of Latin American Studies, London, 1995


    Reports and Working Papers

    1. Pearce and McGee with Wheeler, J. Violence, Security and Democracy: Perverse Interfaces and their Implications for States and Citizens in the Global South.  IDS Working Paper no. 357,  2009 Falmer: IDS
    2. ‘Participation and Community on Bradford’s Traditionally White Estates: A Community Research Project. Final Report of JRF Funded Project, December 2010 with Milne, E.J
    3. “Security from Below”: Humanizing Security in Contexts of Chronic Violence in Transforming Security and Development in an Unequal World, IDS Bulletin Volume 40, No 2. Wiley-Blackwell, pp, 11-19. 2009 with Abello Colak.
    4. We make Progress Because We are Lost’: Critical Reflections on co-producing Knowledge as a methodology for researching Non-Governmental Public Action’ NGPA Working Paper Series. London School of Economics. 2008
    5. “Here, the People Decide?”: New Forms of Participation in the Cities, Research Findings. University of Bradford. 2008
    6. Abello Colak, A. and Pearce, J. From State Centred to Community Centred Policing. Lessons from Bradford/Medellin Community Police Exchange. ICPS Working Paper 9. Bradford. University of Bradford. 2008
    7. "Violence, Power and Participation: Building Citizenship in the Contexts of Chronic Violence" IDS Working Paper 274, Brighton: IDS, March 2007.
    8. Pearce,J.& Pearson, M. with Sam Cameron, The Ivory Tower and Beyond: The University of Bradford at the Heart of Its Communities Bradford’s REAP approach to measuring Community Engagement, ICPS-University of Bradford, February 2007.
    9. Blakey, H., Pearce, J. & Chesters, G. Minorities within Minorities: Beneath the Surface of South Asian Participation, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2006.
    10. Final Report. Case Study of IDRC-Supported Research on Security Sector Reform in Guatemala. On behalf of the Peace, Conflict and Development Program. Dept of Peace Studies, University of Bradford. Bradford: February 2006
    11. Blakey, H. & Pearce, J. "Background of Distances" Participation and Community Cohesion in the North: Making the Connections. ICPS Working Paper 1, Bradford: ICPS, 2005.
    12. Pearce, J. '¿Hacia una política post-representativa?: la participación en el siglo XXI' Bilbao: Hegoa, 2005.
    13. Final Report. Case Study of IDRC-Supported Research on Security Sector Reform in Guatemala. On behalf of the Peace, Conflict and Development Program. Dept of Peace Studies, University of Bradford. Bradford: February 2006


    Public/Academic/Stakeholder Engagement

    Conferences and Papers

    • September 2013: Paper on Non Dominating Power to Journal of Power conference, Galway.  
    • September 2013: Invited to Norwegian Research Centre, FAFO annual conference, to present paper on Research on Bradford Riot. 
    • October 2013, Paper presented to Ciri Forum,  Theories and Practice in Civic Innovation, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (attending symposium to turn papers into book end August 2014)
    • October 2013: Speaker at 3rd Conversatorio de Paz, Canning House, London
    • November 2013: Invited speaker at the Ruta Pacifica’s seminar on the launch of their study “The Truth of Women’ in Bogota. 
    • November 2013: Presentation on Community University to Connecting Communities (AHRC) Social Justice Symposium
    • January 2014: Invited speaker to UNDP conference in New York on the ‘Social Contract’
    • February 2014: Lecture to Keele World Affairs 
    • March 2014: Invited speaker Colombia: Post Conflict Challenges, LSE 
    • March 2014: Paper to Conference on  From Conflict to Post Conflict Violence in Latin America, St Andrews University
    • May 2014: Speaker to Conference on the Colombian Peace Process, Science Po, Paris
    • May 2014 : Paper to Conference on the Colombian Peace Process, ICIP, Barcelona (and publication in forthcoming book)
    • May 2014: Paper to LASA on ‘Peacebuilding on the Periphery: Case of Huehuetenango’ and Workshop on Reproducing Violence in Latin America

    Key Note Address

    • May 2014: Olaf Palme Annual Peace Lecture, Leeds
    • May 2014: ARVAC Annual Lecture, London ‘Organising in the Neighbourhood: The Potential and Ambiguities of New Forms of Community Activism’ 
    • June 2014 Final Event of Oxfam Programme on ‘Security from Below’ Tegucigapla, Honduras (using methodology from Observatorio de Seguridad Humana, Medellin)¿

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