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BLitt, BA, DPhil
Department of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483951
My present research students work on: social dimensions of the red kite reintroduction programme in Oxfordshire, and of the rise of wild boar numbers in the Forest of Dean; post-disaster reconstruction, via the anthropology of food, in Tohoku province, Japan; anthropological aspects of the work of Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza.
Previous research students have worked on: the effects of EU grants on sociopolitical leadership in Donegal, north Ireland; Oxford homeless and their receiving organisations; the reception to and evolving uses of Japanese lacquerware in Western Europe since the 15th century; folk museumlife in Wales.
My interests are broad: I have written, do research, and supervise on: anthropologies of sport, art, and food; island Melanesia and Western Europe (especially Vanuatu, the Basque Country, Spain, and the West of Ireland); popular anthropology; history of anthropology; nationalism; research methods and ethics; the interface of social and biological anthropologies. I am ready to supervise research students on most of these topics.
NB: much of my work can be accessed via my page on academia.edu: https://oxfordbrookes.academia.edu/JMacClancy
Lifestyle migration is a now-established section within the anthropology of migration, and interdisciplinary migration studies, usually justified by its extensive and increasing spread, globally. Yet, bar a few exceptions, the political behaviour of lifestyle migrants has been relatively neglected. I redress this imbalance by critically comparing two overlapping processes where British migrants to Spain act politically: elected councillors in town-halls; campaigning anti-Brexit activists. This pair is as comparable as it is contrastive. In theoretical terms, I argue that modern versions of practice theory are a useful mode for analysing municipal activity by foreign agents, while the Brexit process, because novel, fast-paced, and open-ended, is better understood via Isin’s ‘enactment of citizenship’ approach. Both explanatory modes are powerful, have perspectival slants, and are best applied to different contexts and styles of contest: practice theorists research how people work with change; Isinians, how they produce it. The paper also furthers the anthropology of citizenship by investigating a case where the link between citizenship of a country as a prerequisite for legitimate political activity in it is broken.
Diffusionism has had a bad press, for dark reasons: time for a revaluation. Via an analysis of the productive yet neglected career of that incisive hyperdiffusionist, Lord Raglan, I investigate why would-be hegemons in postwar British anthropology misrepresented or dismissed the power of this paradigm. In fact diffusionism, though declared moribund, did not die but remained a potent explanatory mode for decades, especially in anthropological circles outside Academe. I conclude questioning the life of theory in our discipline, and the conventional historiography of British anthropology.
Anthropologists of ethnographic museums have neglected to study how the items in their collections have been altered. I here investigate one telling variant: the loinclothing or emasculation of male figures, by whom, when, where, why, to what consequence. The results of my survey indicate that especially curators had complex relationships with their objects. Yet they have tended to remain silent about these changes. I discuss internal reasons for the neglect of this topic and for this silence, which uncovers a broader, previously neglected side to museum studies yet to be illuminated.
My aim is to introduce prosopography to the history of anthropology, by comparing the trajectories of two cohorts of taught anthropology postgraduates who started at the Institute in Oxford in the mid-1970s and the late 1980s. My objectives are to see what this comparison might tell us about students’ initial hopes and their subsequent career paths. This should give us an at least reasonable idea of what effect, where relevant, the Thatcherite cuts of the 1980s did, and did not have on the fulfillment of their aspirations. As far as I am aware, this is the first attempt to apply prosopography, even a rudimentary version, to a department of anthropology.