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From October 2014, Solange Fontana is pursuing a DPhil in Development Studies at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID). The working title for her research is ‘Living with conflict: A story of social networks, class, mobility and violence in eastern DR Congo'. She is supervised by Oliver Bakewell.

 Solange Fontana Research focus

Solange’s interest is in how ordinary people experience and negotiate every-day life in areas of prolonged violence. In particular she is interested in the evolution and interaction of the processes which underpin people’s social and economic relationships.  She uses a social-network approach to explore the norms, institutions and organizing principles that enable people to manage risk and earn a living in areas of on-going conflict.  Tracing the evolution of these norms and institutions Solange analyses them historically before exploring how they interact with notions of class, mobility and violence and asking if, and how they mutually influence each other.

Her work contributes to research on resilience and coping in conflict as well as the apparently intractable nature of violence in such contexts.  Specifically she considers how people’s livelihood and risk-management strategies interact to produce broad governance outcomes with potentially important implications for peacebuilding.


Solange holds an MPhil in African Studies from the University of Cambridge (2013), an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics (2001) and a BA/MA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford (1999).

In the intervening years she worked in humanitarian aid in the field, focusing primarily on livelihoods and protection in conflict. In this capacity she worked with displaced and refugee populations, as well as host communities, in a number of countries across west, east and central Africa as well as the Middle East. During this time she also worked for a range of organisations, among them Save the Children UK, Oxfam GB, the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).