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Alice C. Evans BA MSc PhD

Alice C. Evans BA MSc PhD

University Lecturer in Human Geography

Alice researches inequality, social change and global production networks.

Biography

Career

  • 2015 - present: Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2013 - 2015: Fellow in Human Geography, LSE
  • 2012 - 2015: LSE100 Fellow, LSE

Qualifications

  • PhD Human Geography, LSE (2013). Dissertation title: 'Women can do what men can do': the causes and consequences of growing flexibility in gender divisions of labour in Kitwe, Zambia.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, Full Level, University of London (LSE) (2012).
  • MSc Development Studies, LSE (2009).
  • BA Philosophy, University of Nottingham (2007).
  • Languages: Fluent in spoken/written English and Bemba; basic French.

Research

Alice's three ongoing research projects are detailed below.

(1) Why is there greater support for gender equality in urban (rather than rural) areas?

Across the world, people in urban (rather than rural) areas are more likely to support gender equality - in education, employment and leadership, for example. Why is this? And what does it tell us about the causes of egalitarian social change?

Alice argues that ideas spread more quickly in interconnected, heterogeneous, densely populated areas. Through multiple sightings of others doing things differently, people come to revise their norm perceptions, and become more inclined to likewise adopt alternative practices. Exposure to women demonstrating their equal competence in socially valued, masculine roles appears to disrupt gender ideologies and catalyse a positive feedback loop, thereby increasing flexibility in gender divisions of labour. Women in densely populated areas also tend to have greater access to health clinics and police, so are more able to control their fertility and secure external support against gender-based violence.

None of these are inevitable consequences of urbanisation, however. Experiences of the urban are shaped by macro-economic conditions, government policies and also individual-level circumstances (such as occupation).

This theory was developed by engaging with a global literature and undertaking comparative rural-urban ethnographic research in Zambia and Cambodia. Alice is also exploring cross-national quantitative data on rural-urban differences, in collaboration with Dr. Liam Swiss.

(2) Improving Wages in the Garment Industry

This research project explores how to improve wages in global production networks. It is located at three geographical scales: garment factories; reforms in garment-producing countries; and multilateral, international agreements.

Across the Asian garment industry, mass strikes and demonstrations have led to concerted increases in the minimum wage. The collective power of labour against capital might be further strengthened by more inclusive union leadership. At present, norm perceptions of acquiescent women and assertive men mean that trade unions are often patriarchal and authoritarian. Feeling unheard, many women disengage from unions. This weakens the collective power of labour. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313554538

In another paper, Alice explores the politics of industrial relations reform in Vietnam, and the role aid has played in this process. Drawing attention to wider motivations (regime legitimacy, domestic pressure groups, commerce, economic growth, geopolitics and regional competition), Alice highlights wider opportunities for inclusive development, besides aid.

Going forwards, she plans to research the politics and impact of The Netherlands' multilateral agreement on the garment industry.

(3) The Politicisation of Inequality

A contemporary challenge is inclusive development: 'leaving no one behind'. While political analysis of development often focuses on incentives, this paper illustrates why ideas matter, and how they can change over time. Inequalities are reinforced when they are taken for granted. But this can be disrupted when marginalised people gain self-esteem; challenge hitherto unquestioned inequalities; and gain confidence in the possibility of social change. Slowly and incrementally, social mobilisation can catalyse greater government commitment to socially inclusive economic growth. This is illustrated with ethnographic research from Latin America, where income inequality has recently declined.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311936874

Publications

Journal articles

Book chapters

  • da Corta, L.; Darko, E.; Evans, A.; Kayunze, E.; Shepherd, A. and Tarmo, T. (2013) 'Hidden Hunger in Rural Tanzania', in Flora Kessy, Oswald Mashindano and Andrew Shepherd (eds.) Translating Growth into Poverty Reduction (Oxford: African Books Collective).
  • Evans, A.; Kessy, F.; Luvanda, E.; Scott, L. and Shepherd A. (2013) 'Taking the Plunge on Social Assistance in Rural Tanzania: assessing the options', in Flora Kessy, Oswald Mashindano and Andrew Shepherd (eds.) Translating Growth into Poverty Reduction (Oxford: African Books Collective).
  • Evans, A. (2010) 'Sexuality, Poverty and Gender amongst Gambian Youth' for Sylvia Chant (ed.) The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar).

Book reviews

  • Evans, A. (2011) Development in an Insecure and Gendered World: The relevance of the Millennium Development Goals, edited by Jacqueline Leckie (2009, Farnham: Ashgate), Gender, Place and Culture 18:5, 708-710.

Additional outputs

Teaching

  • Economic Globalisation and its Crises
  • Development Theories, Policies and Practices
  • Human Geography Research and Analysis Skills
  • The Political Geography of Postcolonialism

External activities

  • Member, Development Studies Association
  • External Examiner, University College London