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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Dr Graham Denyer Willis has been chosen for his work on everyday patterns of political order with attention to policing and inequality, via ethnography and a focus on Brazil.


Chosen from over 400 nominations, the Trust offered five prizes in each of the following subject areas: Classics; Earth Sciences; Physics; Politics and International Relations; Psychology; Visual and Performing Arts.

Now in its twentieth year, this scheme commemorates the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip, Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of William Lever, the founder of the Trust. The prizes recognise and celebrate the achievement of exceptional researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future careers are exceptionally promising.

Each prize is now worth £100,000 and thirty are awarded annually. They may be used for any purpose that advances the prize winner’s research. Detailed citations on each of the winners will be published in due course.


Graham is a political ethnographer interested in practices and assumptions of power amidst inequality.  


He is especially motivated to identify and question forms of entrapment and escape from power and capitalism, particularly in cities of the Global South. 


He interrogates questions primarily from Brazil—a country long intertwined with the expansion of capitalism, inequality and racial order—but also in the global capillaries of Silicon Valley. 


Books he's written include The Killing Consensus: Police, Organized Crime and the Regulation of Life and Death in Urban Brazil (2015), and Keep the Bones Alive: Missing People and the Search for Life in Brazil (2022), both published by the University of California Press. 


Graham is now at work on a third ethnographic monograph, which examines the practices and logics of 'trust and safety' in Silicon Valley as vital to a global regime of security and accumulation rooted in platform capitalism. 




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