Sarah Vaughan


Dr Sarah Vaughan has worked in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa since the late 1980s, advising a series of governmental, multilateral, academic and non-governmental bodies. An Honorary Fellow of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh from 2001 to 2021, she has taught African politics and social theory in Scotland and Ethiopia. Her research and consulting experience and publications cover a broad range of factors shaping the political economy of the region: longitudinal change in rural development, gender, power and policymaking; the deployment of state and natural resources, economic rents and networks; land, pastoralism, and the politicisation of ethnicity; conflict and security sector policy and capacity, and strategies of conflict ‘transformation’; nationalist, religious and transnational influences on political competition or insurgency; federal multilevel governance; public and private sector economic and service delivery roles in African ‘developmental states’; the interaction of ‘new’ institutions of democratization with wider socio-political cultures; party-state-society relations especially re post-Marxist and ‘transitional justice’ dynamics, and the rule of law. Dr Vaughan is also interested in the theorisation of power; in interaction and interests in political status group formation; and in research methods, policy and ethics in contested or polarized political environments. She has adaptable skills in research design, programme management, policymaker advice and liaison, and can work in Amharic. Amongst others, she is the co-author of The Culture of Power in Contemporary Ethiopian Political Life (Vaughan & Tronvoll, 2004) and Changing Rural Ethiopia: Community Transformations (Pankhurst, Bevan, Dom, Tiumellisan & Vaughan, eds, 2018, Tsehai).