Stephen Marr

Institute: Malmö University
Research area: Environment and climate change, Peace and inclusive societies, Urban development / City planning
Research region: Africa, North America
Open to collaboration with: All


I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida in 2008, specializing in Comparative Politics, Political Theory and African Studies. My dissertation examined the relationship between formal, state-led urban planning techniques and the everyday uses of space in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana.

Currently, I am at work on a number of long-term comparative urban studies projects that seek to place African-focused approaches to urban theory at the center of a rethinking of contemporary urban theory. One of these is an ongoing book project entitled, “Social Infrastructure and the Politics of Everyday Insecurity in Lagos and Detroit: Rethinking Urbanity in a Time of Crisis.” The second, “The Practice and Politics of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation at the Urban Margins,” was recently awarded funding by Formas for three years (2018-2020). The project brings together researchers in Detroit, Malmö, Lilongwe, Lusaka, and Maputo to investigate how the urban poor deal with climate change under conditions of uneven state presence and capacity. Other institutional partners for this research include the Nordic Africa Institute and the Malawi University of Science and Technology. In pursuit of this research agenda, in December 2017 I co-organized a research and practitioner workshop held in Abuja, Nigeria on the theme, “The Practice and Politics of DIY Urbanism in African Cities.”

During 2022-2023 I am funded by an RJ Sabbatical Grant, "Do-It-Yourself Practices and Politics of Urban Climate Adaptation and Mitigation on the Margins: Detroit in Comparative Perspective". More can be learned about the project here: https://www.rj.se/en/grants/2021/do-it-yourself-practices-and-politics-of-urban-climate-adaptation-and-mitigation-on-the-margins-detroit-in-comparative-perspective/. 

Other teaching and research interests include: the politics of globalization, urban studies, African politics, theories of popular culture, critical theory, and cultural studies.

Prior to coming to Malmö, I taught at Monmouth University, Haverford College, and Linnaeus University. Previously I have held research affiliations at the University of Gothenburg’s Centre for Globalization and Development, and the University of Toronto’s Cites Centre. In 2016 I was appointed Associate Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden.

Professional experience

17 year(s) - I've taught in both Sweden and the US in courses related to international development, global / African / urban politics, peace and conflict studies, and political theory
Supervision of Master’s students
15 year(s) -
Supervision of Bachelor’s students
10 year(s) -

Other experience

Collaboration with civil society organisations
Lecturing and workshops

Personal institution page