Anthony Pickles


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Personal profile

Academic Background

I am a political and economic anthropologist working on capitalism, 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.

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

My ethnographic and historical expertise is in Oceania (the Western Pacific), primarily in Papua New Guinea. My written work has covered topics including cash, cash transfers, corruption, cultural escalation, denomination, 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. 

Teaching Interests

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

DEV4001A - Introduction to Development Studies

DEV4005B - Introduction to Social Anthropology

DEV5009B - Research Methods in Social Anthropology

DEV6008Y - Engaging Anthropology in Development (Module Organiser)



I am also 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)

Professional Activities

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

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


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or