UCL Institute of the Americas


Professor Maxine Molyneux

Professor Maxine Molyneux


Emeritus Professor of Sociology



Maxine Molyneux is Emeritus Professor of Sociology.  She joined UCL in 2012 as founding Director of the UCL Institute of the Americas, serving two years in that role.  Prior to joining UCL in 2012 she was Professor of Sociology, and from 2008, Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the School of Advanced Study, London University. She previously held full-time posts at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), University of London, the Politics and Sociology Department of Birkbeck College and the Sociology Department of Essex University from where she gained her PhD in 1983. She was awarded a CMG for services to Latin America and international development in 2023, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House.

Maxine Molyneux has written extensively in the fields of political sociology, gender and development, human rights and social policy, and has authored books on Latin America, and state socialism in Ethiopia and South Yemen. She has acted as a senior adviser, consultant and researcher to various agencies of the UN including UNRISD and UNIFEM/UN Women on a variety of research projects with a focus on gendered inequalities, as well as to IDRC (Canada), and Oxfam.  She has undertaken and led multi-country research projects investigating the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes for the UK’s Department for International Development, CARE International, and other development policy agencies and NGOs. The most recent research project for which she served as Research Director was a five country qualitative study of the social effects of Cash Transfers, commissioned by DFID and undertaken on behalf of the Overseas Development Institute. Maxine served as the editor of Palgrave/Macmillan’s Studies of the Americas Series from 2008 – 2023, and founded UCL Press’s Modern Americas Series. She has served, inter alia, on the Editorial Board of Economy and Society, was a founding editor of Feminist Review, and is an international Editor of the Oxford Journal of Development Studies. 

Research Summary

Maxine Molyneux’s current research is on the transformations of welfare systems in Latin America, citizen participation and accountability in social protection in Latin America; and the history and politics of Latin American feminism.

Teaching Summary

Professor Molyneux is currently teaching on the Masters courses, Globalisation and Latin American Development, and Researching the Americas, and on the undergraduate Research Methods course.

Research Supervision: Professor Molyneux is currently contributing to the Masters course, the International Development of the Americas, and continues in her role as doctoral student supervisor.

Selected media appearances

More staff media appearances here.