Some information about me
I am a social anthropologist and co-convenor of the CRESC theme 'Infrastructures of Social Change'.
My research looks at how anthropology, and in particular ethnographic methods can contribute to a critical understanding of attempts to bring about the social and economic transformation of organizations, cities, regions and nations. I am particularly interested in how ethnography can produce more nuanced and politicised accounts of how technical projects come to produce their varied social effects. To this ends, my research builds upon on work on the history and sociology of expertise to understand the sociality and materiality of contemporary knowledge practices. I have written on: the cultural salience of the network to critique connectivity as a model for social relatedness; on the ways in which self-proclaimed ‘experts’ derive their legitimacy through a capacity to transform phenomena; and on the ways in which ethnography holds the potential to dismantle a separation between formal, rational, technical ways of understanding the world, and more textured, affective modes of being, in order to subject the practice of these separations to analytical attention. My research has included: An ethnography of the development of a new media industry in Manchester, UK; a study of the implementation and use of knowledge management software programs in large organisations including an international airport in the UK, a global manufacturing company and a utilities firm; and an ethnography of road construction in Peru. I am currently conducting a new research project looking at the cultural politics of climate change through an ethnographic study of mitigation and adaptation projects in Manchester, UK. Key Areas of Interest: Anthropology of Engineering, Anthropology of the Information Society, Imaginaries of the Future, Comparative Anthropology of Expertise, Britain and Latin America.
During the 2011-12 academic year I ran the seminar series: Political Materials: Excavation, Transformation, Incorporation and co-convened the Social Life of Methods Theme for 2011-12 on The Visual.
I am currently coordinating the CRESC Encounters Collaborative, a new CRESC initiative on collaboration, interdisciplinarity and impact.
Hannah Knox, Damian O'Doherty, Theo Vurdubakis and Chris Westrup (2008), 'Screenworlds: Information Technology and the Performance of Business Knowledge in The Evolution of Business Knowledge Ed. Oxford Oxford University Press: 273-294.', 273-294, The Evolution of Business Knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Refereed Journal Papers
Social life of methods
Socialising Big Data is a recently awarded ESRC strategic investment and collaboration between colleagues at CRESC and Cesagen and the Goldsmiths, Warwick and Northwest DTCs...
The Social Life of Methods theme for 2011-12 is The Visual.
In taking the visual as our focus we aim to draw together work across CRESC to ask what role the visual plays in the...
Infrastructures of Social Change
This research sets out to explore the social and cultural implications of recent moves to make climate change a central component of projects of planned urban change. Focusing on the city of...
Research on the construction and use of digital models in projects of urban change.
Under this heading I draw together several years of anthropological research into the cultural promise of new information technologies and their implications for knowledge practices associated...
Roads to Development: Uneven Modernities and the Politics of Knowledge was an anthropological study of road building in Peru, based upon ethnographic fieldwork which was funded by the ESRC (Award...
Cultural Values and Politics: Social Cohesion and Expertise
A major integrating interest has been in how various social network approaches and methods can be used to develop new insights into social cohesion. We have conducted a literature review to...
Tue, May 29th 2012
'Powers of the Hoard: Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter'
Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins University
Wed, May 5th 2010 - Fri, Jun 25th 2010
This seminar will scrutinise the relationship between digital visualisation and power.
Convened by Andrew Hill and Hannah Knox.
This seminar series brings together key thinkers from across the social sciences and humanities to explore the contemporary politics of materiality and the materiality of politics from a range of different philosophical and disciplinary perspectives.
Tue, Nov 8th 2011
'Flood Apprentices: An Exercise in Making Things Public',
Sarah Whatmore, University of Oxford
Wed, Feb 8th 2012
'Winds of Desire: Energopolitics and Renewable Power in Southern Mexico',
Dominic Boyer and Cymene Howe, Rice University
The Social Life of Methods workshop: 'Depicting change: experiments in photography and social science'Wed, May 23rd 2012 - Thu, May 24th 2012
This workshop brings together photographers and social scientists to explore the challenges they face, and the techniques they are developing to overcome the problems associated with the practice of describing change.
Fri, Jan 13th 2012
Join CRESC for a gallery visit to the Dark Matters exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
Wed, Mar 7th 2012
Professor Kath Weston - University of Virginia, and visiting Leverhulme Professor at Cambridge University
will present her book Traveling Light: on the road with America's poor .
Thu, Jul 18th 2013
This workshop will interrogate processes of social/infrastructural change by bringing together papers that draw attention to the multiple and complex ways in which change emerges in relation to infrastructural interventions, through an interplay between technologies, materials and social imaginaries.