Dorte Thorsen

Dorte Thorsen

Research Fellow

Dorte’s work focuses on rural and urban livelihoods in West Africa within the fields of anthropology, feminist theories of household economy and post-structuralism. Her thematic focus centres on gendered relations of production and reproduction with particular focus on rural households, precarious livelihoods, intra-household behaviour and decision-making processes.

Since 2004 she has been researching young people’s work, education and migration with the aim of unpacking family relations, gender dynamics and informal labour market interfaces. Substantial experience in mixed methods and multi-sited research with adolescents and youth, with particular focus on their work situations and experience and on rural-urban and international migration. Sustained interest in grasping how policy regimes impact on the poor and in sharing evidence-based insights with a wide range of audiences.



Youth employment and politics

Over 40 percent of global populations are under 25 yet young people cannot secure work and increasingly face a crisis of citizenship. Youth Employment and Politics at IDS builds on decades of research to develop knowledge and evidence that contributes to effective interventions that supports,...


Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture (ACHA) is a seven-year research programme supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) that started in January 2020. The aim of the programme is to build evidence on: the forms, drivers, and experiences of...



Hope and uncertainty in contemporary African migration

Even before pandemic-related border closures, African migration has been shaped by restrictive migration policies for decades. How does such a situation shape hope and ways of coping with uncertainty? The book Hope and Uncertainty in Contemporary African Migration (now in open access) offers...

Nauja Kleist

19 May 2021


Cocoa Ethics: Questions about Child Labour and Social Sustainability

Over the past twenty years, much work has been dedicated to improving labour standards in cocoa production, with the aim of weeding out child labour. Nevertheless, the latest survey of child labour in cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, comparing data from 2008/09, 2013/14 and 2018/19, shows...

22 February 2021


Journal Article

Negotiating Gender Roles and Power Relations Through the Management of International Migrant Remittances in a Patriarchal Community in Ghana

This paper draws on a feminist poststructural perspective to examine gendered dimensions of sending and managing international migrant remittances in a patriarchal community in Ghana. It relies on primary data collected through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and observation in...

12 May 2023

Journal Article

Feminist Africa: African Women’s Lives in the Time of a Pandemic

This issue of Feminist Africa reflects on both the impact of COVID-19 on African women and African women’s responses to the pandemic. As a continent, Africa has endured decades of economic, political and social crises. Since the colonial period, the continent has been a primary commodity...

Dorte Thorsen
Dorte Thorsen & 2 others

23 May 2022


Country Reviews of Social Assistance in Crises: A Compendium of Rapid Assessments of the Nexus Between Social Protection and Humanitarian Assistance in Crisis Settings

This collection brings together brief overviews of the social assistance landscape in eight fragile and conflict-affected settings in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East: Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. These overviews were prepared as part of Better...

24 June 2021

Dorte Thorsen’s recent work

Past Event

Kids in charge? Age and power in Peru’s movement of working children

In this IDS-CIRCY seminar, Professor Jessica Taft traces the complex dynamics of age-based power in children’s movements. Unpacking ideas about ‘kids being in charge’ it explores the possibilities and challenges for contesting the accumulation of power and authority in the hands of older...

14 March 2022