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Professor Fiona Macaulay

Professor, Gender, Peace & Development

Faculty/Dept/School School of Social Sciences
(Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences)
Telephone +441274 235598


My undergraduate degree was in Modern Languages (French and German) at the University of Oxford. I subsequently read Women's Studies at the University of Massachusetts on a Rotary Foundation Graduate Scholarship, and that got me interested in the US-sponsored civil wars in Central America. I travelled to Nicaragua and spend a year teaching English at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua in León. I got involved in campaigning on human rights issues in the region, and worked for a student-based social justice organization, Third World First (now People and Planet). I returned to the University of Oxford to do an MPhil in Latin American Studies and a doctorate in politics, focussed on the relationship between women's representation, political parties, women's movements and public policy in Brazil and Chile.  I then joined the International Secretariat of Amnesty International as their Brazil researcher. That led me to a deeper interest in the criminal justice system, as well as human rights, in particular prison conditions. From 2000-2005 I had a joint appointment: at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, lecturing on gender and development in Latin America, and at the Centre for Brazilian Studies, University of Oxford, as researcher and coordinator of the the human rights programme there, supported by the Ford Foundation. I joined the University of Bradford Peace Studies department in 2005.


I have published over 50 research articles, book chapters, knowledge transfer reports, (including in Spanish and Portuguese) and two books, covering my research interests on gender, development, political parties and processes, violence, human rights and criminal justice organisations. With a background in area studies - Latin America -- my research has always been interdisciplinary, encompassing political institutions and political sociology, with strong intersections with criminology, law and public policy.

My expertise is especially centred on Brazil.  One strand of my research examines the institutional processes that drive or impede reform in the security sector (police and prisons) and in the criminal justice system. These may include social factors, such as civil society pressure, political and policy pressure (legal change), internal bureaucratic logics as well as external factors such as the influence of bilateral or multilateral assistance. My interest in the values and practices of criminal justice systems in the region dates back to my work as Brazil researcher for Amnesty International. I have secured funding over the years from a variety of sources (foundations, research councils, the British government and corporations). I have written on police and prison reform in the region, identifying wider patterns and dynamics, as well as engaging in country-level analyses, both of good practice (for example, the Resocialization Centres in São Paulo) and of the many entrenched, structural problems besetting the Brazilian prison system. I have provided several expert witness reports on prison conditions in Brazil in extradition cases. 

I have current research on the intersection of the security sector with the politics of representation and policy-making, supported by a grant from the British Academy/Leverhulme. With my research colleague Frederico de Almeida of UNICAMP, I am analysing the migration of security actors (mainly police) into politics, a phenomenon I had noticed and documented for some years. The number of police officers entering elected office quadrupled in the October election that brought former army officer, Jair Bolsonaro, to the presidency. These actors often constitute themselves as a public security cross-party caucus (bancada da bala) in legislative spaces This issue has much wider relevance beyond Brazil for theories of democratic decay, the emergence and spread of far-right nationalist-populism, civilian-military alliances outside of strictly ‘military’ regimes, military/police ‘developmentalism’ and democratic separation of powers.  

Another strand of my work focuses on gender. I have researched a number of interlinked areas, with a common thread of examining how women’s groups influence policy making (at a macro and micro level), both within the conduit of political representation, and outside of it. One of the policy areas I have analysed over the years is responses to domestic violence, and the interplay of domestic and international forces on how local institutions begin to change their practices. My most recent book analyses how Brazilian society and criminal justice agencies have been developing effective policies and practices to tackle the problem of feminicide. 

My feminicide research demonstrates how I often work at the intersection of security sector reform and gender-based violence, and pay attention to practitioner voices. I have also been able to transfer pedagogical methods that I developed with my students at Bradford to develop a training programme with the Brazilian police. In 2020 I wrote a 120 page training manual on gender-based violence for use by Brazilian police instructors to use in police academies. It is produced and distributed by the Brazilian Forum on Public Security (FBSP), a research, policy and advocacy network with which I work closely (it brings togethers policymakers, researchers and security sector actors, mainly police). This project was funded, at various stages, by the Avon Foundation, the British Embassy and Uber. 

Please check out my profiles on and researchgate for a full listing of my publications

Date Role Title / Description Funder Award
19-SEP-20 - 19-NOV-21Principal InvestigatorThe drivers and impacts of the entry of police officers into legislative politics in Brazil
01-SEP-16 - 31-DEC-21Principal InvestigatorTraining guidelines for police handling violence against women


Teaching interests

I currently lead the modules Gender, Conflict and Development and Environment, Trafficking and Crime, and contribute to the modules Sustainable Cities, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, and International Perspectives on Crime, exploring critical approaches to development, and the policy impacts of the security-development nexus. In these I have been able to draw on my research on urban violence, criminal justice institutions, and transnational influences on policy. I also devised and have led since 2008 Gender Labs, an immersive, applied learning experience that must be undertaken by all new PSID students, which gives our students an essential grounding in a key concept for professional practice and academic research.

Before coming to the University of Bradford, I taught at the Universities of Newcastle, Oxford, and London. I have lectured across the disciplines of human geography, development, Latin American studies, sociology, political science and development. I have taught at all levels, from first year undergraduate to Masters to doctoral students. I have supervised approximately 70 final year undergraduate dissertations, around 90 Masters dissertations and have successfully seen to completion 13 doctorates, including 3 in co-supervision arrangements with other institutions.

I welcome applications from new doctoral students in the areas of: Latin America, especially Brazil, politics, political parties, police and policing, prisons and punishment, criminal justice policy, security sector reform, gender, violence reduction, and human rights. I am fluent in Portuguese and also welcome co-supervision of Brazilian research students and bolsa sanduiche.

Teaching highlights

I love teaching and students seem to enjoy my classes. In 2016 I was made a Bradford Teaching Fellow for my teaching excellence, and in 2020 I became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). I particularly like to use immersive approaches to learning, as well as creative methods such as Lego and Forum Theatre! I also take an applied approach to teaching and learning, for example, building students' competencies through the assessment formats, bringing in practitioners and setting real-life learning tasks. I have used this approach in the Gender Labs that I run, and also in Knowledge Transfer programmes, for instance designing training programmes for the Brazilian police on gender-based violence.

I have acted as external doctoral examiner at King’s College, Queen Mary, and University College London, LSE, SOAS, the universities of Aberystwyth, East Anglia, Leeds, Amsterdam, Sussex (Institute of Development Studies) and the Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil. I have served as external examiner for Masters programmes in development, Latin America and gender studies at the universities of East Anglia and Newcastle and I am currently external examiner at the department of international development at King’s College London, and in the Latin American studies programme at the University of Oxford.

Year Module code Title Subject
PES7041-BGender, Conflict and Development
PES7062-BEnvironment, Trafficking and Crime: Transnational Issues and International Governance

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-84: University of Oxford - BA (Hons)
  • 01-JAN-93: University of Oxford - M.Phil
  • 01-JAN-97: University of Oxford - D.Phil
  • 01-OCT-17: Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Fellow
  • 01-JUN-20: Senior Fellow Advance HE, Senior Fellow
  • 01-AUG-18: Athena Swan group, FOMLSS, The group convened to submit an application for Athena Swan status.
  • 01-JAN-18: Medal of Honour for Services to Policing
  • External Engagement lead, School of Social Sciences
  • Management team, Peace Studies and International Development
  • Various UK law firms - Expert witness reports in cases of requested extradition to Brazil
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • French
  • German


Peer Reviewed Journal
TitleBrazil’s Maria da Penha domestic violence police patrols: A second-response innovation in preventing re-victimization (2021)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalJournal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
TitlePresidents, producers and politics: law-and-order policy in Brazil from Cardoso to Dilma (2017)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalPolicy Studies
TitleThe policy challenges of informal prisoner governance (2017)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalPrison Service Journal
TitleHeart, head, and hands: Intercultural, experiential and applied gender learning in a peace studies department (2016)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
TitleModes of prison administration, control and governmentality in Latin America: Adoption, adaptation and hybridity (2013)
AuthorsMacaulay Fiona
JournalConflict, Security and Development
TitleDeepening the federative pact? The Dilma government's approach to crime, justice and policing (2012)
AuthorsMacaulay Fiona
JournalCritical Sociology
TitleKnowledge production, framing and criminal justice reform in Latin America (2007)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalJournal of Latin American Studies
TitleJustice-Sector and Human Rights Reform under the Cardoso Government. (2007)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalLatin American Perspectives
TitleTransforming State Responses to Feminicide: Women’s Movements, Law and Criminal Justice Institutions in Brazil (2020)
AuthorsFiona Macaulay
PublisherEmerald Press
TitleGender politics in Brazil and Chile: The role of political parties in local and national policy-making. (2009)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
Book Chapters
Title Competition and Collusion among Criminal Justice and Non-State Actors in Brazil’s Prison System (2021)
AuthorsFiona Macaulay
JournalCarceral Communities in Latin America: Troubling Prison Worlds in the 21st Century
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
TitleBancada da Bala: the growing influence of the security sector in Brazilian politics (2019)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalIn Spite of You: Bolsonaro and the New Brazilian Resistance
PublisherOR Books
TitlePrisoner capture: welfare, lawfare and warfare in Latin America’s overcrowded prisons (2019)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalHandbook of Law and Society in Latin America
PublisherTaylor and Francis
TitleNon governmental organisations and the rule of law: The experience of Latin America (2018)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalThe Edward Elgar Research Handbook on the Rule of Law
PublisherEdward Elgar
TitleDilma Rousseff (2011 - 2016): A crisis of governance and consensus in Brazil (2017)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalWomen Presidents and Prime Ministers in Post-Transition Democracies
Title‘Whose prisoners are these anyway?’ Church, state and society partnerships and co-production of offender ‘resocialisation’ in Brazil (2015)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalTransnational Penal Cultures: New Perspectives on Discipline, Punishment and Desistance
TitleThe Impact of Domestic Politics on Brazil’s Foreign Policy on Human Rights (2014)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalShifting Power and Human Rights Diplomacy: Brazil
PublisherAmnesty International
TitleCycles of Police Reform in Latin America (2012)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalPolicing in Africa
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
TitleFederalism and the state criminal justice systems (2011)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalCorruption and Democracy in Brazil: The Struggle for Accountability
PublisherNotre Dame University Press
TitlePeace education: A challenge to the traditional methods of teaching and to the reach of disciplines (2010)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalThemes in Transdisciplinary Research
PublisherFederal University of Minas Gerais
TitleHuman rights in context: Brazil (2010)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalHuman Rights Regimes in the Americas
PublisherUnited Nations University Press
TitleTrickling up, down, and sideways: gender policy and political opportunity in Brazil (2010)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalWomen's Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean: Engendering Social Justice, Democratizing Citizenship
PublisherRutgers University Press
TitlePrivate conflicts, public powers: Domestic violence in the courts in Latin America. (2005)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona
JournalThe Judicialization of Politics in Latin America
PublisherPalgrave/Institute of Latin American Studies
Edited Book
TitleCan't Pay, Won't Pay: Debt, Underdevelopment and Resistance (1990)
AuthorsMacaulay, Fiona and Taylor, Chris
PublisherThird World First
Other Publications
Other typeManual
TitleSafer Cities for Girls: Training Module for Police (2020)
AuthorsFiona Macaulay, Fátima Alíende, Daniel Molina, Iris Tello
PublisherPlan International
Other typeManual
TitlePrincípios e práticas de formação de policiais para o atendimento às mulheres em situação de violência (Principles and practices for training police in dealing with violence against women) (2020)
AuthorsFiona Macaulay and Juliana Martins
PublisherBrazilian Forum on Public Safety