Anthony Pickles


  • 1.18 ZICER Building

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome students who plan ethnographic research and who have an interest in qualitative approaches to economic topics.

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Personal profile

Academic Background

I am a political and economic anthropologist working on capitalism, economic innovation, risk, colonisation, development and globalisation through its local collisions. I focus on economic life as experienced by people on the ground, most notably on gambling activity as a crucible for examining wider experiences of socio-economic and political rupture.

I am currently conducting research into political gambling and prediction markets, as a global phenomena at the cutting edge of shaping contemporary political understanding.

My ethnographic fieldwork in urban and rural Papua New Guinea began in 2009 during my PhD (University of St Andrews, 2013). I joined the University of East Anglia as a Lecturer in Social Anthropology and International Development in 2020. In ther interim, I held research fellowships, one from Trinity College, Cambridge and then one from The British Academy (held in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge). 

Areas of Expertise

Locations: Oceania (the Western Pacific), Papua New Guinea, the UK, online ethnography.

Topics: cash/money, cash transfers, corruption, socio-cultural escalations, ethnomathematics, experimental ethnographic methods, gambling, gifts, history of anthropology, informal economy, intra- and extra- family transfers, markets, pocket-use, sports, social change, technological adoption, the theory of economic transfers, new technologies, forecasting, prediction. 

Teaching Interests

I have been Course Director for the BA in International Development with Social Anthropology. I teach on core social anthropology modules covering each year of the undergraduate degree:

DEV4001A - Introduction to Development Studies (discontinued)

DEV5009B - Ethnography and Beyond

DEV6008Y - Engaging Anthropology in Development (Module Organiser)



I am Course Director for the MA in International Social Development, and teach on one of it's core modules:

DEV7021A - Social Analysis for International Development (Module Organiser)


I supervise UG and PGT dissertations and PhD students.

Professional Activities

I am on the Conference Liason Officer for the Association of Social Anthropologists.

I have sat on the board of the European Society for Oceanists since 2015.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Social Science, University of St Andrews


Award Date: 21 Jun 2013

External positions

Conference Officer, Association of Social Anthropology

1 Sep 2021 → …


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