ABOUT

I am Reader in Social Anthropology in the Department of the History of Science at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid.

My main areas of research and writing are the anthropology of science and the anthropology of cities. In particular I am interested in informal, guerrilla and frontier urban processes in Latin America and Europe. I have also a larger interest in the anthropology of  knowledge, with particular attention to certain undercurrents or “traps” in the representation of modernity, such as baroque aesthetics and sensibilities.

For the past ten years years I have been studying the work of “free culture” urban activists in Madrid. I am interested in how such expressions of “free urbanism” compare with other accounts of informality in the city (auto-construction, makeshift urbanism, slum urbanism, etc.), as well as in the socio-technical assemblages through which such free and open-source projects problematize anew the forms of urban complexity.
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Brief Bio

I studied social anthropology at Oxford University (PhD / D.Phil 2001) and the London School of Economics (MSc 1996). However, I first read for an Economics degree in Madrid and London, where upon graduating I worked for a couple of years as an economic analyst before switching to anthropology.

For my doctoral work I worked with nitrate mining communities in the Atacama Desert, Chile, looking at the ways in which the historical geography and political economy of desert mining shaped urban space, politics and everyday life in Antofagasta.

Between 2001 and 2003, I held a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at ISCA and St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and did another 6 months of fieldwork in Chile, this time between Antofagasta and Maria Elena (a nitrate mining community). At St Hugh’s I was also College Tutor in Social Anthropology.

In September 2003 I joined the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.

In 2009 I moved from Manchester to Madrid to join the Department of the History of Science at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Once I arrived in Madrid I was temporarily seconded for a year as Dean at Spain’s School for Industrial Organisation.

From 2010-2013 I was Head of the Social Sciences Board at the Spanish National Agency for the Evaluation of Science (ANEP – Agencia Nacional de Evaluación y Prospectiva).

On February 2013 I took office as Secretary of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).

On November 2014, I joined the Executive Board of the Society for Cultural Anthropology to advise on the society’s Open Access strategy.

I am a proud founding member of Ciudad Escuela, the world’s first open-source infrastructure of urban apprenticeships.

Libraria, a cooperative alternative for a future Open Access ecology of scholarly publishing, takes an increasing amount of my time – to my delight and enthusiasm!

 

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