I am an anthropologist, labour expert and political analyst interested in politics, economy and society in Africa and the West, from a global geopolitical perspective. I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, a visiting researcher at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town. I received my undergraduate degree from the LSE and my PhD from Cambridge.
I held research and lecturing positions at the University of Cambridge, University of Oslo, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, Bristol UWE and University of Worcester. I write regularly for international media such as Al Jazeera English, Boston Review, The Independent, Foreign Affairs, Truthout, GlobalPost, Africa Is A Country, Daily Maverick, Mail & Guardian and Analyze Greece. I have published in Italian-speaking media like Left, Blitz Quotidiano, Affaritaliani.it and filosofia.it. I am the editor of the Human Economy Blog and former features editor of Basic Income News. I am a regular guest on the TV programmes Africa This Week and The Report, both broadcast by Islam Channel.
My academic work has been published in several top-ranking international journals and focuses on basic and applied research in the areas of labour, anthropology, political economy, development studies, critical race studies, technology, health sciences and public engagement. Since 2001 I have been doing ethnographic research on labour, rural livelihoods, racial inequalities, local development and democracy in Swaziland.
My current research is organised around three streams:
1) social and political forms of protest and unrest, and new social movements in southern and central Africa;
2) whiteness and racism in knowledge production, especially academia and the media, with an ongoing research project on South African higher education and academics’ responses to the university student protests (with Ayanda Manqoyi, University of Cape Town, and Divine Fuh, CODESRIA);
2) private investment, state-capital relations, geopolitics and clean development in the energy sector of southern and central Africa, with a focus on a Zambian energy corporation with significant local private capital, and the company’s investments in multiple sources of energy (renewables & fossil fuels) in Zambia and other African countries.
While the African continent remains my main base and area of expertise, over time I have developed a global comparative perspective on systemic issues of contemporary capitalism. I follow closely the crisis of capitalism in Europe and North America, the rise of technocracy and austerity in the eurozone, and the political developments around welfare reform – I published commentary & analysis on Italy, Greece, Finland and the United States.
I worked with NGOs, trade unions and community organisations in the areas of labour relations, social development, organisational change, workforce training and development, green economy, and print and online publishing.
COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS
Neoliberalism, big capital and the Zambian crisis (Al Jazeera English, 16/06/2017)
We are all Helen Zille. Or, why the West thinks that colonialism was not all bad (Africa Is A Country, 16/03/2017)
The Italian referendum and the crisis of the left (Wildcat Dispatches, 8/12/2016)
The myth of Donald Trump’s white working-class support (Africa Is A Country, 17/11/2016) [with Louis Philippe Römer]
How did the main parties do in the 2016 South African municipal elections? ANC, DA and EFF in numbers (Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, 23/08/16) [with Stephan van Wyk]
Zambia: democratic victory or vote snatching? (Al Jazeera English, 17/08/16)
Bernie Sanders’ new task is to convince his supporters to back Hillary Clinton (The Independent, 20/06/16)
Can the Sanders campaign build a progressive alternative to the US establishment? (Truthout, 20/06/16)
The future of the Sanders campaign: grassroots democracy beyond social media and mass rallies (Daily Maverick, 01/06/16)
Democracy after Sanders: building a progressive alternative, beyond social media and mass rallies (openDemocracy, 26/5/16)
What future for South African Democracy? (Boston Review, 5/1/16) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
Finland: basic income experiment – what we know (Basic Income News, 9/12/15)
Government oversight of university transformation should not be taboo (Daily Maverick, 19/11/15)
Looking for leaders: student protests and the future of South African democracy (Daily Maverick, 6/11/15) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
The student uprisings in South Africa (Africa Is A Country, 21/10/15)
Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100, she endorsed city-level universal basic income (Basic Income News, 18/10/15)
Greek elections: winners and losers in numbers (Analyze Greece, 23/09/15)
Greece: government to roll out a Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme (Basic Income News, 22/08/15)
What will happen if Greeks vote ‘oxi’ in Sunday’s referendum? (Ricochet, 03/07/15; republished by Analyze Greece, 05/07/15)
Zambia’s uncertain future: political rifts and economic challenges in Lusaka (Foreign Affairs, 04/03/15) [with Patience Mususa]
Swaziland: liberal democracy and its discontents (Al Jazeera English, 12/10/13)
Italy’s new government and the perpetuation of minority rule (Al Jazeera English, 03/05/13)
The Iron Lady is gone, but Thatcherism is alive and well (GlobalPost, 21/04/13)
Berlusconi’s new prominence casts shadows over Italy’s future (GlobalPost, 02/04/13)
Technocracy’s new bet: Mario Monti runs for premiership (Al Jazeera English, 04/01/13)
Innocence of Muslims: how fiction creates reality (Al Jazeera English, 19/09/12)
Lost opportunity for Zambian democracy (Mail & Guardian, 05/11/08)
Islam, ideologie e rivoluzioni nell’era di Facebook: “L’innocenza dei musulmani” (Blitz Quotidiano, 24/09/12; republished in Filosofia.it)
Quella strana coalizione contro i cattivi di Moody’s (Blitz Quotidiano, 15/07/12) Meritocrazia? Da Monti per ora solo propaganda (Blitz Quotidiano, 09/07/12) Europa, sconvolgenti risultati anti-sistema (Affaritaliani.it, 27/05/12)
I veri vincitori delle elezioni? I tecnocrati europei (Affaritaliani.it, 10/05/12)
Il “montismo” resterà, ma il suo nemico è la moltitudine (Blitz Quotidiano, 23/04/12)
Monti non cadrà, ecco perché. Né Grillo né Vendola possono abbatterlo (Affaritaliani.it, 22/04/12)
SELECTED ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS
Laterza, V. (2016) ‘Resilient Labour: Workplace Regimes, Globalisation and Enclave Development in Swaziland’ The Journal of Development Studies 52(4): 576-590.
Laterza, V. (2015) ‘Waves of Unrest: Wildcat Strikes and Possible Democratic Change in Swaziland’. In: Keith Hart (ed.) Economy For and Against Democracy. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 137-158.
Laterza, V. (2015) ‘Entangled In/Equalities in African Societies: a Response to Harri Englund’s Human Rights and African Airwaves‘ Suomen Antropologi 40(1): 66-69.
Laterza, V. (2015) ‘From Production to Distribution: the Politics of Dependence and the Emerging Welfare State in Southern Africa [book review]’ Anthropology News, 25 May. (Republished by Basic Income News, 29 July)
Sharp, J., Hart, K. and Laterza, V. (2014) ‘South Africa in World Development: Prospects for a Human Economy’ Anthropology Today 30(6): 13-17.
Forrester, B. and Laterza, V. (2014) Development in Swaziland: Myths and Realities. Pretoria, South Africa: sahee foundation.
Evans, D., […], Laterza, V. et al (2014) ‘Public Involvement in Research: Assessing Impact through a Realist Evaluation’ Health Services and Delivery Research 2(36): 1-127. Project funded by the National Institute of Health Research, UK.
Laterza, V. (2013) ‘Some Notes towards a Human Economy Approach’ Anthropology Southern Africa 36(3&4): 135-138.
Sharp, J., Powers, T. and Laterza, V. (2013) The Human Economy Project: First Steps. Special issue, Anthropology Southern Africa 36(3&4).
Laterza, V., Forrester, B. and Mususa, P. (2013) ‘Bringing Wood to Life: Lines, Flows and Materials in a Swazi Sawmill’. In: Gísli Pálsson and Tim Ingold (eds). Biosocial Becomings: integrating biological and social anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 162-190.
Laterza. V. (2007) ‘The Ethnographic Novel: Another Literary Skeleton in the Anthropological Closet?’ Suomen Antropologi 32(2): 124-134.
Laterza, V., Carmichael, P., and Procter, R. (2007) ‘The Doubtful Guest? A Virtual Research Environment for Education’ Technology, Pedagogy and Education 16(3): 249-267.