John Spall

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My research principally focuses on questions of masculinity, the social transformation of wars and moral economies. My recently published monograph, Manhood, Morality and the Transformation of Angolan Society: MPLA veterans and post-war dynamics, examines the impact of war and military service on masculinities in Angola's second city, Huambo. Considering war as a period of social transformation, I consider the broad impacts of war and military service on veterans' masculinities. In this connection, I examine the relation between morality and political disengagement, the moral economy of masculine social mobility, the changing social role of money, and the complicated intertwining of Umbundu 'traditions' and constructions of modernity.


I started working as a Teaching Fellow at DASA in 2019. Prior to that, I was teaching anthropology and development studies at the University of East Anglia, to undergraduates and postgraduates, with a particular focus on gender, wars and humanitarian crises and research methods. I received my PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Sussex in 2016, and my thesis research was funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia in Portugal and included survey work funded by the United States Institute of Peace.

Previously, I began my career in development studies, working at the Governance and Social Development Resource centre in the International Development Department at Birmingham in 2005. I then moved to the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex, working on a large EU-funded research programme called MICROCON, studying violent conflicts and their aftermath at the micro-level.