I am Reader in Social Anthropology in the Department of Social Anthropology at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid. I work on cities, science, and traps. Yes, traps!

As an anthropologist of cities I am particularly interested in informal, guerrilla and frontier urban processes in Latin America and Europe. For the past ten years years I have been studying the work of “free culture” urban activism. 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 forms of urban complexity anew.

I have also an interest in the history and ethnography of science and experimentation. In particular, I have been drawn to the study of “interfaces”, understood as technical and experimental designs between nature and culture. I have studied in this context the development of open-source prototypes (linked to my interest in free culture activism). But I have also developed an interest in the comparative anthropology of traps, perhaps the paradigmatic technology of nature-culture encounters.
foto polaroidBrief 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).

From February 2013-2019 I was Secretary of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).

From November 2014-2018, I was Open Access Advisor to the Executive Board of the Society for Cultural Anthropology.

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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