Image of Philip Proudfoot

Philip Proudfoot

Research Fellow

Philip Proudfoot is an anthropologist based in the Power and Popular Politics Cluster at IDS. His geographic interests centre on Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, as well as the United Kingdom. Philip’s work has engaged with economic inequality, forced migration, humanitarianism, intersectionality, protracted conflicts, and political movements.

Before joining IDS, Philip was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bath and Assistant Director of the British Institute in Amman, part of the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL).

At IDS, Philip has worked on a variety of humanitarian-development focused projects. Currently, he is contributing on the project, ‘BASIC’ (Better Assistance in Crises) where his research explores how social protection approaches can navigate Lebanon’s ongoing currency collapse and the state-level fragmentation. Philip also worked on the UN-commissioned Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation of the Yemen response, the first independent evaluation on the UN’s $16 billion aid operation.

Alongside this humanitarian work, Philip’s latest book, ‘Rebel Populism,’ documented the everyday lives and political aspirations of Syrian migrant labourers in Lebanon. Grounded by ethnography, each chapter describes why rural-to-urban workers came to support the anti-regime opposition. Drawing insights from analytical work on populism, the book proposes that the de-development impacts of kleptocratic market liberalisation lay the structural foundations on which an unruly mass movement took shape.

Philip also holds a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship, ‘Humanitarianism as a Social Movement.’ This project scrutinises the emergence of activist-led assistance networks in the UK and beyond. What makes these groups unique is that they conceptualise their support practices for vulnerable populations as less the product of apolitical legal obligations or amoral imperatives and more as prefigurative commitments to an alternative socio-political vision of the world, often derived from traditions of mutual aid, solidarity, and unhindered human mobility.



Humanitarian Learning Centre

The Humanitarian Learning Centre (HLC) brings together high-quality analysis, dialogue and debate with accessible, operational learning to improve humanitarian response, practice and policy.



Sportswashing and the Gulf: investments into British football

On October 7, 2021, thousands of Newcastle United football fans gathered at the entrance of St. James’ Park. Across a sea of black and white Newcastle shirts, several supporters waved green flags bearing the Islamic testimony of faith: “there is no God but God. Muhammad is his prophet.” A...

18 November 2022