Postdoctoral Fellows


Dr Hannah J. Dawson 

Postdoctoral Fellow


I joined SWOP in April 2019 as a postdoctoral research fellow. I have a doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Oxford. My doctoral dissertation (“The productivity of unemployment: emerging forms of work and life in urban South Africa”) examines how young men experience unemployment in contemporary South Africa. It takes an in-depth look at unemployed young men’s income generating strategies and the ways in which they negotiate their social relationships, dependencies, and aspirations.
As a postdoctoral fellow, I will convert my doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript and several journal articles in addition to developing several new avenues of research on social stratification and inequality; the future of work; and new forms of social welfare in the Global South.  


My past research on political protests in urban South Africa examined the complex ecology of patronage politics and the political subjectivities of unemployed youth. I have also worked in policy research, analysis and advocacy in the fields of development, socio-economic rights, and poverty and inequality.


Select Publications


(forthcoming), with E. Fouksman, ‘Labour, laziness and distribution: Work imaginaries among the South African unemployed’, in submission to AFRICA.
2017, ‘Protests, Party Politics and Patronage: A view from Zandspruit Informal Settlement, Johannesburg’ in Paret, M., Sinwell, L. and Runciman, C. (eds), Global Resistance in Southern Perspective, Ashgate.
2014, ‘Youth politics: waiting and envy in a South African informal settlement’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 40 (4): 861-882.
2014, ‘Patronage from below: political unrest in an informal settlement in South Africa’, African Affairs, 113 (453): 518-539.

2013, ‘Monitoring the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights in South Africa - the case for a comprehensive monitoring tool', ESR Review 14(2).

2013, ‘HIV/AIDS, the erosion of social capital and the collapse of rural livelihoods in the Nkomazi district of South Africa’, African Journal of AIDS Research, 12(4): 185-194.


Dr Brittany Kesselman

Postdoctoral Fellow


Brittany Kesselman joined SWOP in June 2017 as a Life in the City postdoctoral research fellow. Her current research project looks at the potential for community food institutions to contribute to food justice in Johannesburg. Grounded in a commitment to social justice, the project seeks to use feminist, decolonial research methodology to contribute to food system transformation.
Brittany’s doctoral research (at UKZN) focused on the contribution of community food gardens to food sovereignty in Johannesburg. It explored the actual benefits of urban agriculture, as experienced by participants and their surrounding communities, as well as the challenges and obstacles that limited its transformative potential.
Outside of academia, Brittany has over 10 years of practical experience in policy research, analysis and advocacy in the fields of development and peace and security.  

Select Publications & Presentations
Kesselman, B. (2017). Urban agriculture’s potential to be part of an alternative food system: some lessons from Johannesburg. Paper presented at ‘Food Politics and Cultures Festival’, 10-12 November. Cape Town, South Africa.
Kesselman, B. (2015). The contribution of community food gardens to food sovereignty in Johannesburg, South Africa: a look at access and empowerment. Paper presented at the ‘Second International Conference on Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society: Reconnecting Agriculture and Food Chains to Societal Needs,’ 14-17 September. Rome, Italy.
Kesselman, B. (2015). The contribution of community food gardens to food sovereignty in Johannesburg, South Africa: a look at localisation and democratisation. Paper presented at ‘Envisioning a Future without Food Waste and Food Poverty,’ 17-18 November. Bilbao, Spain.
Kesselman, B. (2015). Cultivating the right to food? The contribution of urban community food gardens to food sovereignty in Johannesburg, South Africa. Paper presented at ‘University of Vermont (UVM) Food Systems Summit,’ 16-17 June. Burlington, VT.

Dr Eddie Cottle

Postdoctoral Fellow


Dr Eddie Cottle specialises in labour strike theory, labour history, strike statistics and comparative studies in social conflict. As a former trade unionist, Dr Cottle brings 14 years of research, education, policy advocacy and campaigning experience. In his former capacity as head of Collective Bargaining Support, Labour Research Service he worked directly with trade unions, federations and Global Union Federations providing research and information on economic sectors and the labour market; also providing capacity building for collective bargaining and organising strategies. Dr Cottle was the coordinator of the Building & Wood Workers International (BWI) “Campaign for Decent Work: Towards and Beyond 2010” and is editor of the book, South Africa’s World Cup: A Legacy for Whom? At BWI he also served as the Policy & Campaigns Coordinator for the Africa and Middle East region.


Recent publications


Cottle, E., 2021. ‘Lenin and Trotsky on the quantitative dynamics of Strikes and

Revolution’. Forthcoming in, Workers of the World Journal, N.10. 2021.


Cottle, E., 2019, ‘Competing Marxist Theories on the Temporal Aspects of Strike

Waves: Silver’s Product Cycle Theory and Mandel’s Long Wave Theory’. Global

Labour Journal. Vol 10 No 1, 37-50.

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