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Dr Akwugo Emejulu

Programme Director, MSc Social Justice and Community Action / Lecturer

Education, Community and Society (ECS)


Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 4167


Paterson's Land


  • PhD (University of Strathclyde)
  • MPhil (distinction) (University of Glasgow), Urban Policy and Practice
  • PgCert (distinction) (University of Edinburgh), Digital Education
  • BA (Hons) (American University), Political Science

Before entering academia, I worked in a variety of roles related to progressive politics in both the United States and the United Kingdom. I have experience as a community organiser, a participatory action researcher and as a trade union organiser. 

As a political sociologist, I have research interests in two areas: investigating racial and gender social and economic inequalities in a comparative perspective and exploring the political movements of marginalised groups, particularly in relation to welfare states. 

I am a co-director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, an editorial board member of the Community Development Journal and Scottish Affairs and a board member of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration and the Global Justice Academy.

Principal interests

  • Sociology of minority women's political movements
  • Sociology of gender, racial and ethnic inequalities
  • Constructions of gender, race and ethnicity in social welfare and anti-poverty social policy

Research Supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD and EdD students on the topics listed above and those areas related to community development, grassroots-based activism and race, class, gender and ethnicity more generally. I am also particularly interested in working with students who wish to use feminist, intersectional or post-structuralist methodologies in their research.

I am currently supervising the following PhD students in the Schools of Education and Social and Political Science:

Patricia Cacho (Education), 'Race, rurality and Black and Minority Ethnic young people: Exploring the silences in Highland Scotland' 

Shirley-Pat Chamberlain (Politics), ‘Indigenous pedagogies and intercultural dialogues in British Columbia’ 

Christiana Fizet (Education), ‘Developing race consciousness and social justice pedagogies in initial teacher education in Scotland and Canada’ 

Jo Forster (Education), 'Exit, Loyalty and Voice Revisited: Understanding adult education, austerity and poverty in northeast England' 

Christine Makuve (Education), 'Immigration, race and identity: The responses to education of Zimbabwean heritage children in the UK'

Hoda Mobasseri (Education), 'Muslim feminism and Muslim women's negotiations of public and private spaces'

Andie Reynolds (external student, Northumbria University), ‘Negotiating self in an arena of ‘othering’: Community development, localism and the 2010 Coalition government’ 

Sara Stewart-Lindores (Sociology), 'Intersectionality: Gender, class and ethno-Christian identities and the intergenerational transmission of sectarianism in Scotland'

Sharisse Tindell (Education), 'Being a girl, being a guide: How girls and women negotiate gendered identities through membership of Girlguiding'

Research supervision

Projects supervised by Dr Akwugo Emejulu

Current and recent research

Minority Women's Activism in Tough Times

£9,397 British Academy

£6,000 Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, University of Edinburgh

In this cross-national comparative research project, my co-principal investigator,  Leah Bassel (University of Leicester), and I explore the effects of the economic crisis and austerity measures on minority women’s activism in anti-poverty and migrants' rights third sector organisations in the UK and France. In particular, we investigate how the crisis influences the ability of minority and migrant women to use their intersectional identities and experiences of multiple discrimination as a resource for political activism and mobilisation. Our project website is:

Download our briefing paper, ‘Between Scylla and Charybdis: Enterprise and Austerity as a Double Hazard for Non-Governmental Organisations in France and the UK’, for the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland  here. Read our article for Discover Society outlining some of our most recent findings here.

Leah Bassel and I hosted a Knowledge Exchange event entitled: ‘Whose Crisis Counts? Minority Women, Austerity and Solidarity in France and the UK’ on 11th June 2013 at the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, which brought together 35 participants from the third sector, local and national government and academia. On 5th February 2014, Leah and I co-organised another Knowledge Exchange event with Indira Kartallozi and Maja Korac (University of East London) entitled: '21st Century London Outcasts: Austerity and its Impact on Refugee Families Living in London'. On 26th June 2014, Leah and I were invited by Oxfam's Routes to Solidarity project to run a third Knowledge Exchange workshop as part of their one-day seminar in Leeds entitled, ' Campaigning for Black Women's Rights: Migrant and Minority Women's Activism'.

Community Development as Micropolitics: Comparing Theories, Policies and Politics in America and Britain

Forthcoming 14th January 2015, Policy Press

Why is community development regularly invoked as a way of tackling social problems? Why do institutional actors routinely call upon community development to rebuild bonds and trust between different groups of people? What is at stake philosophically, politically and in policy terms when community development is championed as a strategy for social renewal? Through a comparative analysis of American and British community development since 1968, my new book aims to examine how key political and policy debates about social welfare, social justice and equality have been inscribed onto and embodied within the theory and practice of community development in these two countries. 

MSc in Social Justice and Community Action 

£200,206 Distance Education Initiative, University of Edinburgh

The MSc in Social Justice and Community Action is a joint initiative of the Moray House School of Education and the Global Justice Academy.

This part-time and fully online masters programme is designed to equip students with the knowledge and practical skills to help them make positive social change. This programme offers students the opportunity to critically engage with foundational ideas and debates about equality, fairness, power, democracy and citizenship and consider a range of actions in communities, in policy and legislation processes and in organisations for the real world application of these ideas.

Launching in 2015, the MSc in Social Justice and Community Action will include four compulsory taught courses and a dissertation project:

  • Theories and politics of social justice (20 credits)
  • Community action and social justice (20 credits)
  • Policy analysis for social justice (20 credits)
  • Activist social research (20 credits)

Optional courses will include:

  • Learning for democracy (20 credits)
  • Organisational management for social justice (20 credits)

In addition, students will be able to choose other optional courses from across the University’s digital education provision such as:

  • Politics and theories of international development 
  • Climate change impacts and adaptations 
  • Health inequalities and the social determinants of health 

Children's Rights, Social Justice and Social Identities in Scotland

£20,000, Scottish Universities Insight Institute

With Kristina Konstantoni as the principal investigator and colleagues from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Scottish Human Rights Commission, this seminar series brings together academics, practitioners, policy makers and children from Scotland and beyond to debate children’s and young people’s complex and intersecting identities and consider the ways in which multiple social inequalities impact on children’s and parents’ lives.

Further details about the seminars can be found here

Ethnicity, Recession and Austerity in Glasgow                                                

£7,249 Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights  

Filip Sosenko (Heriot-Watt University), Gina Netto (Heriot-Watt University), Leah Bassel (University of Leicester) and I were commissed by the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) to lead a participatory research project exploring the experiences of poverty and changing incomes among minority ethnic groups in the context of the economic crisis and austerity in Glasgow.    

The full report, In It Together? Perceptions on Ethnicity, Recession and Austerity in Three Glasgow Communities, is available here.

SW799: Concepts and Techniques of Social Justice

In May 2014, my colleague Barry Checkoway (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and I co-taught an intensive short course at Michigan for Masters of Social Work students which explored the competing theories and practical applications of social justice in the United States and the United Kingdom.


Publications list for Dr Akwugo Emejulu


Course Organiser for:

History, Ideology and Practice (Masters)

Politics, Policy and Professional Identity in Community Education (3rd year and Masters)

Theories and Politics of Social Justice (Masters)

Policy Analysis for Social Justice (Masters)



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