Dr John Loewenthal

john loewenthal


Email: tutor.anthropology@conted.ox.ac.uk / jl.loewenthal@gmail.com

I am a social and psychological anthropologist, working mainly on the themes of aspiration and searches for meaning in life. I am interested in adjacent research themes concerning educational and work transitions, and existential deliberations across the life course. Since 2017 I have been teaching the online course ‘Social Anthropology: An Introduction’ at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. I also teach Social Anthropology as an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and am an Examiner in Social and Cultural Anthropology for the International Baccalaureate. I obtained my PhD in Education from Oxford Brookes University (150th Anniversary PhD Studentship) with a thesis entitled ‘Aspirations of university graduates: an ethnography in New York and Los Angeles’. I initially studied Archaeology and Anthropology at St Hugh’s College, Oxford (BA: First), then Anthropology and Education as a Margaret Mead Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University (MA). I am currently (2021) a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico, where I was previously a visiting doctoral student. I am a member of the Commission on Anthropology and Education (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences) and of the European Network for Psychological Anthropology. 


Broughton, J. and Loewenthal, J. 2020. Youth Culture. In Cook, D. (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies. London: Sage Publications Ltd, pp. 1711-1716.

Alexander, P., Loewenthal, J., and Butt, G. 2019. ‘F*ck It, Shit Happens (FISH)’: a social generations approach to understanding young people’s imaginings of life after school in 2016-2017. Journal of Youth Studies. 23 (1). pp. 109-126.

Loewenthal, J., Alexander, P., and Butt, G. 2019. Fateful aspects of aspiration among graduates in New York and Los Angeles. International Studies in Sociology of Education. 28 (03-04). pp. 345-361. 

Loewenthal, J. and Broughton, J. 2019. Travel imaginaries of youth in New York City: history, ethnicity and the politics of mobility. In Habib, S., and Ward, M. R. M. Youth, Place and Theories of Belonging. London: Routledge, pp. 66-79.

Loewenthal, J. 2019. Review of Aspiring adults adrift: tentative transitions of college graduates by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa. Educational Review. 71 (6). p. 800 

Loewenthal, J. 2018. Review of The art of life and death: radical aesthetics and ethnographic practice by Andrew Irving. Anthropology and Aging. 39 (1). pp. 112-114. 

Loewenthal, J. 2018. Talking about race in text and in person: Is hiding behind a screen helpful? – Teaching Anthropology: A Blog of The Royal Anthropological Institute.

Loewenthal, J. 2017. Solitude in NYC [Snapshot]. North American Dialogue. 20 (2). p. 31. 

Loewenthal, J. 2017. Between Categories and Cosmopolitanism: On the Subtleties of Voters’ Persuasions – The Sociological Review – UK General Election 2017 Blog Series.

Loewenthal, J. 2017. Dismantling a Bedroom of Youth: How Space and Material Culture Mediate the Life Course – Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course – Life Course Blog.