Search type

Social Anthropology

Current research

Manchester Anthropology is renowned for cutting-edge research that takes a critical approach to social change and, using fine-grained ethnography, teases out the intersections of people’s everyday experiences with the broader contexts of their lives, shaped by the dynamics of capitalism and state politics.

Members of academic staff work in many areas of the world, including the United Kingdom, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific, Russia, Siberia and Central Asia, Japan, India, and the United States.

Our research covers a very diverse set of topics including poverty, inequality, social class, race and racism; gender, kinship and the body; infrastructures, materiality and state projects; borders, mobilities and migration; labour, value and moral economy; development and humanitarianism; biotechnology and science;  visual and sensory anthropology; expertise and learning; and medical anthropology, illness and death.


We organise this diversity into four broad and overlapping themes:

Critical Political and Moral Economy

This set of concerns encompasses work on:

States, Cities, Borders and Mobilities

Under this umbrella comes research on:

Visual, Sensory and Material Anthropology

This area of research includes the following topics:

  • the political ecology of noise, sound art practice and the anthropology of sound (Rupert Cox)
  • media practices, imaginative lifeworlds and social inclusion (Andrew Irving)
  • ecological perception, learning expertise and audio-visual technologies (Lorenzo Ferrarini)
  • ethnographic film and the development of anthropological knowledge (Angela Torresan)
  • the agency of objects, ritual knowledge and social change (Soumhya Venkatesan)
  • history, theory and practice of ethnographic documentary film-making (Paul Henley)
  • filmmaking for fieldwork (Andy Lawrence)
  • anthropology of architecture, materials and urban landscape in Africa and the UK (Constance Smith)

Anthropology of Science, Technology and Medicine

These themes include the following topics: