Department of Social Anthropology
bsas seminar

Department seminar: Vito Laterza

The Department of Social Anthropology is happy to announce the upcoming seminar with Dr. Vito Laterza at the University of Agder. The title of the lecture is "Towards an anthropological theory of wealthy enclaves: reflections from fieldwork in Eswatini, South Africa and Mauritius".

Wall proto in San Diego
Border wall prototypes outside San Diego, US.
Elliott Spagat

Main content

Seminar paper

From gated communities to company towns, securitised universities and shopping malls, wealthy enclaves are growing throughout the African continent. There are a number of theories in political economy and development studies that help explain some of the economic dynamics at play, but conceptual work that focuses on an anthropological understanding of these phenomena is still in its infancy.

What can a concrete engagement with everyday life in wealthy enclaves tell us about the political economy of inequality and uneven development in Africa? How are elites and exploited classes produced in the social and material interactions sustaining enclaves? How do global and local forces interact or clash in these locales? What can anthropology contribute to key issues of political economy and development?

I will sketch the contours of what a comparative anthropology of wealthy enclaves might look like, building on ethnographic illustrations from Eswatini (a Christian company town), South Africa (securitised public universities) and Mauritius (smart city plans focused on business, residentials and higher education).

About the lecturer

Vito Laterza is associate professor of development studies in the Department of Global Development and Planning, University of Agder, and a visiting research fellow at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town. He is an anthropologist and development scholar working on political economy, political ecology, higher education studies, and communication studies in Africa and the West. His work has been published in leading international journals and publishing outlets, including the Journal of Development Studies, Review of African Political Economy, and Cambridge University Press. He writes regularly for international media such as Al Jazeera English and Africa Is A Country.

Light refreshments will be served in the Corner Room after the seminar. All interested are welcome!