Natascha Mueller-Hirth
Title: Dr
First Name: Natascha
Surname: Mueller-Hirth
Position: Lecturer in Sociology
Telephone: 01224 263299

Academic Background

  • BA Hons
  • MRes (Master in Social Research)
  • PhD in Sociology (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Natascha is a sociologist whose research has mainly focused on three areas:

  1. Post-conflict societies, political violence and peace processes. Here, a particular focus has been on intersections of transitional justice and development, particularly as they relate to victims' experience of inequalities.
  2. The governance of development and development organisations, including the role of civil societies, NGOs and businesses in what is increasingly understood as 'inclusive' development.
  3. Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa.

Her current research project, for which she has been awarded funding from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, is a study of women's demands for sustainable peace. It examines the experiences and reparative needs of women survivors of the post-election violence in 2007/08 in Kenya.

She is also currently editing a volume on 'Time and temporality in the study of transitional and post-conflict societies (with Sandra Rios, forthcoming 2017 with Routledge). The volume will bring together original research from ten transitional or post-conflict societies in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia and demonstrate that temporal analyses can provide important insights into the social and political dynamics of societies emerging from conflict and authoritarianism.

All of her research to date has utilised qualitative, often ethnographic methodologies to work with hard-to-access populations. She has researched extensively in South Africa, with experience in developing external networks and conducting collaborative work with academic and non-academic research partners. Before joining RGU in September 2014, Natascha was a Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen (2010-2014), with responsibility for the South African project in the Leverhulme Trust-funded multi-national 'Compromise after Conflict' research programme. A snapshop of the nearly 1 million words of transcripts from interviews the research team conducted with victims / survivors of violence and conflict in Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka can be viewed here: Other research interests include:

  • The sociology of time, temporal domination and socio-temporal marginalisation
  • Governmentality approaches to the study of development and conflict


Journal Articles

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2016) Temporalities of victimhood: time in the study of post-conflict societies’. Sociological Forum.

Brewer, J., Hayes, B., Dudgeon, K., Mueller-Hirth, N., Teeney, F. & Wijesinghe, S. (2017) ‘Victims as moral beacons of humanitarianism in post-conflict societies’. International Social Science Journal.

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2012) 'If You Don’t Count You Don’t Count: Monitoring & Evaluation in South African NGOs'. Development and Change, 43 (3), 649-670.

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2009) ‘South African NGOs and the public sphere: between popular movements and partnerships for development’. Social Dynamics, 35 (2), 423-435.

Book Chapters

Mueller-Hirth, N. (forthcoming 2017) Forgiveness and the practice of compromise in post-apartheid South Africa. In J. Brewer, B. Hayes and F. Teeney (eds), The Sociology of Compromise. Palgrave Macmillan.

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2017) ‘Business and social peace processes’. In S. Idowu & S. Vertigans (eds), Corporate Social Responsibility: Academic Insights and Impacts. Springer International.

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2016) 'Corporate Social Responsibility and development in South Africa: socio-economic contexts and contemporary issues'. In S. Vertigans, S.O. Idowu & R. Schmidpeter (eds), Corporate Social Responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Springer International.

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2013) 'Racial Formations: South Africa'. In A. Doolin (ed.) Encyclopedia of Race & Racism 2nd edition, Macmillan & Co.

Mueller-Hirth, N. (2010) 'South African NGOs and the public sphere: Between popular movements and partnerships for development'. in A Fowler & CW Malunga (eds), NGO Management: the Earthscan companion. Routledge, London.

Selected Conference and Presentations

Transitions and temporalities of victimhood: a time-sensitive approach to the study of post-conflict societies. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, Glasgow, 15-17 April 2015.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Development in South Africa: socio-economic contexts and contemporary issues. Paper presented at University of Cape Coast, Ghana, 4 May 2015.

From transitional justice to transformation? Reparations and neglected socio-economic dimensions in dealing with the legacies of violent pasts. Paper presented at ECPR General Conference, Glasgow, 3-6 September 2014.

The past is the present: Temporalities of victimhood in South Africa twenty years after the transition. Paper presented at Perspectives in Conflict conference. Glasgow, 6 June 2014.

Working together to solve our problems: Responsible citizens, social cohesion and the partnership modality in South African development and beyond. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association 2014, Leeds, 23-25 April 2014

Victimhood and Uneven Development in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Paper presented at ECPR General Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, 24-27 August 2011

One foot in the shanty shack, one foot in the boardroom: corporate social responsibility and development funding in South Africa and beyond. Paper presented at Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, London, 6-8 April 2011

If you don't count you don’t count: Auditing and Governing in South African NGOs. Paper presented at Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association 2010, Glasgow, 7-9 April 2010

After the rainbow nation: Jacob Zuma, charismatic leadership and national identities in Post-Polokwane South Africa. Paper presented at 20th Annual ASEN Conference: London, 13-15 April 2010

Extending the Public Sphere: Post-Apartheid NGOs, Popular Movements and the Transnational Development Domain. Paper presented at Paradoxes of the Post-Colonial Public Sphere, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 28-31 January 2008

Grants and Awards

  • Lead Academic Supervisor, Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Robert Gordon University and Petrofac, 2017-2019, £147,275 (Innovate UK)
  • Principal Investigator, 'From transition to transformation? A victim centred study of women's demands for sustainable peace', 2016-2017, £5,901 (Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland)
  • ESRC 1+3 Scholarship, 2005-2010 (Economic and Social Research Council)


  • Social and Economic Contexts of CSR and Sustainable Development (Module Co-ordinator)
  • Violence, Crime and Conflict (Module Co-ordinator)
  • Risk, Fear and Uncertainty (Module Co-ordinator)
  • Sociology of Consumer Culture (Module Co-ordinator)
  • Social Construction of Everyday Life

PhD Supervision

I am keen to supervise students in any area of my research interests, particularly peace processes and transitions, post-conflict societies, development and CSR.

Professional Activities

Reviewer of manuscripts and research proposals for Ethnic and Racial Studies, International Journal of Transitional Justice, DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), Palgrave Macmillan, Peace and Conflict Studies, Sage and Cambridge Scholar Press.

Membership in Professional Associations:

  • Higher Education Academy
  • British Sociological Association
  • Development Studies Association
  • European Sociological Association