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Chair: Lorina Johnson-Prince, PhD student in Leadership Studies and a part-time research assistant for the African Leadership Centre. 

Discussant: Dr Kieran Mitton, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Department of War Studies


  • Ibrahim Abdullah
  • Dr Dariusz Dziewanski


In this Africa Research Group event, co-hosted with the Urban Violence Research Network, Professor Ibrahim Abdullah and Dr Dariusz Dziewanski discuss their research with marginalised urban youth in Sierra Leone and South Africa respectively. In conversation with Dr Kieran Mitton, they explore the intersection of the global and the local – the ‘glocal’ – and the ways in which street gangs adopt and adapt global ‘street culture’, as expressed in popular music and gangster iconography, to their own circumstances.

As part of Africa Week, the session seeks to situate this discussion within the broader theme of ‘global blackness’, exploring how this notion may be articulated in expressions of resistance and rebellion on the streets, whilst at the same time, acknowledging the limitations that a global lens may have when accounting for the specifics of local contexts.



Ibrahim Abdullah is an Associate Professor of History and African Studies at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He is a co-investigator on two funded gang research projects with Dr Kieran Mitton, exploring street gangs and youth marginalisation in Sierra Leone under a comparative lens. His current book project explores the evolution of youth ‘cliques’ in Sierra Leone. He has published extensively in the area of African social/labour history and contemporary social change and conflict in West Africa, and is the co-editor of ‘Understanding West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic Towards a Political Economy’ and editor of ‘Between Democracy and Terror: The Sierra Leone Civil War’.


Dr Dariusz Dziewanski works as a freelance researcher and monitoring and evaluation consultant. He obtained his PhD in Development Studies from SOAS University of London and is currently a visiting lecturer at the Centre of Criminology, at the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Law. He has carried out extensive research with gangs in the Cape Town and has published related peer-reviewed articles, including ‘Commanding The ‘Art of Killing’: how Virtuosic Performances of Street Culture Disrupt Gang Rules’ and ‘Femme Fatales: Girl Gangsters and Violent Street Culture in Cape Town.’ His research interests include: street culture, gangs, urban violence, and disengagement and desistance.


Lorina Johnson-Prince is a PhD student in Leadership Studies with reference to Security and Development and a part-time research assistant for the African Leadership Centre. Her research focuses on analysing the interaction between transnational criminal organisations, communities and the state through a process leadership lens, drawing on the case study of the Jamaican shower posse and Christopher Coke.


Dr Kieran Mitton is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, where he is also co-Chair of the Africa Research Group. He currently leads two funded research projects exploring street gangs and youth marginality in Sierra Leone, the DRC, and a broader African context, and has conducted extended fieldwork with gangs and communities in Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, and Freetown. He cofounded the Urban Violence Research Network in 2018. His book project ‘The World on the Streets’ explores the intersection of global and local ‘street culture’ around the world.

At this event

Kieran  Mitton

Reader in Conflict, Security and Development

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