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Email: vito.laterza@cantab.net

I am an anthropologist, development scholar and political analyst interested in politics, economy and society in Africa and the West, from a global geopolitical perspective.

I am Associate Professor in Development Studies in the Department of Global Development and Planning at the University of Agder, Norway. I am also a visiting research fellow at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, and a research associate at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg. 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, University of Mauritius, Bristol UWE and University of Worcester.

I write regularly for national and international media such as Al Jazeera English, Boston ReviewThe Independent, Foreign Affairs, openDemocracy, Africa Is A Country, TruthoutGlobalPost, Daily Maverick (South Africa), Mail & Guardian (South Africa), and Analyze Greece. I have published in Italian-speaking media such as TPI, Left, Blitz Quotidiano, and filosofia.it. I was the founding editor of the Human Economy Blog and features editor of Basic Income News. I have been a regular guest on the TV programmes Africa This Week and The Report, broadcast by Islam Channel; and on South African national radio for SAfmCape Talk, Radio 702 and Voice of the Cape.

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, political ecology, development studies, technology, critical race studies, health sciences, and public engagement.

Since 2001 I have been doing qualitative research on labour, rural livelihoods, racial inequalities, local development and democracy in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).

My current research comprises three streams:

1) Socio-economic inequalities, economic development, digitalisation and organisational change in higher education from a North-South perspective, with an ongoing project on academics’ and institutional responses to recent university student protests in South Africa.

2) New forms of social and political mobilisation in Africa and the West, including spontaneous protests, right-wing populism, digital democracy, and environmental activism.

3) The political economy of African development and underdevelopment from a North-South perspective, with a focus on: race, class and capital; land, labour and migration; and enclave development.

My early career was characterised by a specialism in southern and central Africa, which over the years has grown into a sustained comparison between Africa and the West.

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 right-wing populism, and the political developments around welfare reform, technocracy, austerity and immigration – I published commentary & analysis on Italy, the United States, Greece and Finland.

I worked with NGOs, trade unions, social movements, and community organisations on issues of labour relations, social and economic development, elections and democratic governance, communication strategy, organisational change, workforce training and development, green economy, and print and online publishing.

Full List of Publications     Academia.edu Profile


English-speaking media

Is China really to blame for Zambia’s debt problems? (Al Jazeera English, 11/10/2018) [with Patience Mususa]
Italy: the new anti-migrant national consensus (Africa Is A Country, 13/07/2018; republished in Daily Maverick, 17/07/2018)
Italy’s dystopian social contract is born (Daily Maverick, 24/05/2018)
The populism and dystopia of Italy’s new government (Al Jazeera English, 22/05/2018)
Cambridge Analytica, African elections and Western double standards
(Inside Education, 28/03/2018)
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, 08/12/2016)
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, 23/08/2016) [with Stephan van Wyk]
Zambia: democratic victory or vote snatching? (Al Jazeera English, 17/08/2016)
Bernie Sanders’ new task is to convince his supporters to back Hillary Clinton (The Independent, 20/06/2016)
Can the Sanders campaign build a progressive alternative to the US establishment? (Truthout, 20/06/2016)
The future of the Sanders campaign: grassroots democracy beyond social media and mass rallies (Daily Maverick, 01/06/2016)
Democracy after Sanders: building a progressive alternative, beyond social media and mass rallies (openDemocracy, 26/05/2016)
What future for South African Democracy? (Boston Review, 05/01/2016) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
Finland: basic income experiment – what we know (Basic Income News, 09/12/2015)
Government oversight of university transformation should not be taboo (Daily Maverick, 19/11/2015)
Looking for leaders: student protests and the future of South African democracy (Daily Maverick, 06/11/2015) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
The student uprisings in South Africa (Africa Is A Country, 21/10/2015)
Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100, she endorsed city-level universal basic income (Basic Income News, 18/10/2015)
Greek elections: winners and losers in numbers (Analyze Greece, 23/09/2015)
Greece: government to roll out a Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme
(Basic Income News, 22/08/2015)
What will happen if Greeks vote ‘oxi’ in Sunday’s referendum? (Ricochet, 03/07/2015; republished by Analyze Greece, 05/07/2015)
Zambia’s uncertain future: political rifts and economic challenges in Lusaka (Foreign Affairs, 04/03/2015) [with Patience Mususa]
Swaziland: liberal democracy and its discontents (Al Jazeera English, 12/10/2013)
Italy’s new government and the perpetuation of minority rule (Al Jazeera English,  03/05/2013)
The Iron Lady is gone, but Thatcherism is alive and well (GlobalPost, 21/04/2013)
Berlusconi’s new prominence casts shadows over Italy’s future (GlobalPost, 02/04/2013)
Technocracy’s new bet: Mario Monti runs for premiership (Al Jazeera English, 04/01/2013)
Innocence of Muslims: how fiction creates reality (Al Jazeera English, 19/09/2012)
Lost opportunity for Zambian democracy (Mail & Guardian, 05/11/2008)

Italian media

Lega e Movimento 5 Stelle hanno già vinto la “guerra culturale” contro le istituzioni italiane ed europee (TPI, 26/05/2018)
Islam, ideologie e rivoluzioni nell’era di Facebook: “L’innocenza dei musulmani” (Blitz Quotidiano, 24/09/2012; republished in Filosofia.it)
Quella strana coalizione contro i cattivi di Moody’s (Blitz Quotidiano, 15/07/2012) Meritocrazia? Da Monti per ora solo propaganda (Blitz Quotidiano, 09/07/2012) Europa, sconvolgenti risultati anti-sistema (Affaritaliani.it, 27/05/2012)
I veri vincitori delle elezioni? I tecnocrati europei (Affaritaliani.it, 10/05/2012)
Il “montismo” resterà, ma il suo nemico è la moltitudine (Blitz Quotidiano, 23/04/2012)
Monti non cadrà, ecco perché. Né Grillo né Vendola possono abbatterlo (Affaritaliani.it, 22/04/2012)



Interviewed by Dagens Næringsliv, leading Norwegian business newspaper, on the economic policies of South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, 23/04/2018 – read here

Interviewed by The Daily Vox, South African leading youth online newspaper, on South Africa’s free higher education plan, 19/12/2017 – read here

Interviewed by TRT World, Turkish public English-language news channel, on the crisis of Italian bank MPS, 09/12/2016 – read here


On SAfm, South African national public radio, speaking about Italy’s populist government, 24/05/2018 – listen here


Laterza, V., Sharp, J. and Beresford, A. eds. (2017) Extraction and Beyond: People’s Economic Responses to Restructuring in Southern and Central Africa. Special Issue, Review of African Political Economy 44(152).

Larmer, M. and Laterza, V. eds. (2017) Contested Wealth: Social and Political Mobilisation in Extractive Communities in Africa. Special Section, The Extractive Industries and Society 4(4).

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 AirwavesSuomen 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. eds. (2013) The Human Economy Project: First Steps. Special Section, 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.


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