Dr Anthony Howarth

anthony howarth


Research Affiliate

Research interests: Travellers, Gypsies, and Roma; the anthropology of the state, bureaucratisation, and policy; space, placemaking, and the environment; time, temporality, and memory; family life, affect, and care; social/political theory, phenomenology, and epistemology.

I have a long-term interest in ‘nomads’ and the broader socio-political conditions in which they live. After conducting sociological research in this area, I then pursued this anthropologically, undertaking an MA at the University of Bristol (2009). My master’s thesis focused on the relationship between artisan skill, aesthetics, and the agency of horse-drawn Traveller material culture. After this, I undertook a PhD in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge (2012-2018). My doctoral thesis brought together the unlikely bedfellows of phenomenology and political anthropology, in order to examine the senses of place and time of a family of Irish Travellers in London. This centred on an analysis of the relationship between Travellers’ life-building practices and the political, economic, and legal environment of the late-liberal metropolis. Since completing my PhD, I have supervised Cambridge undergraduate students on a broad range of anthropological topics and have been engaged in preparing several journal articles and a book chapter for publication.

My current research is concerned with the social and political life of recently introduced policy and legislation that affects Travellers and Gypsies. Its main focus is on how these policies move between the offices of state-administrations and third sector organisations, into assembly committees and court rooms, and onto Traveller and Gypsy encampments. The aim, therefore, is to examine the inner workings of these organisations, in order to shed light on why Traveller/Gypsy policy and legislation is usually incompatible with the lives of those it affects.

I have also conducted fieldwork with the Humli-Khyampa, a group of peripatetic pastoralist/traders of Tibetan derivation in Far-West Nepal, and still maintain a strong interest in Himalayan anthropology/ethnography. Additionally, I have worked with a number of Traveller, Gypsy, and Roma NGOs in London.