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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Penny Harvey

Penny Harvey is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She has carried out ethnographic research in Peru, Spain and the UK and published widely on politics and power, on language, information and communications technologies, and on knowledge practices with a particular focus on engineering practice and technical expertise. Although her own research is grounded in anthropological theory and methods. She worked for six years at the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Liverpool, before moving to Manchester in 1991. For the past ten years she has worked in the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), latterly as the Convening Director.

Her key publications include Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (with Hannah Knox), Cornell University Press, 2015. Objects and Materials: A Routledge Companion (edited with Hannah Knox and CRESC colleagues) Routledge, 2013. Roads and Anthropology: Ethnography, Infrastructures, (Im)mobility (edited with Dimitris Dalakoglou), Routledge: 2014. Technologized Images, Technologized Bodies: anthropological approaches to a new politics of vision, edited with J. Edwards and P. Wade. Berghahn Books (2010).

Professor Harvey’s other key contribution has been her on-going work on the anthropology of the state. Her most recent research project, “Experimental States”, is a collaborative ethnographic study of expert knowledge and regional government in Cusco, Peru. The research looks at contemporary (neoliberal) state form, focusing on two main issues: firstly how government experiments with, and constructs moral legitimacy in relation to new forms of regulatory authority and technical expertise; and secondly how the normative imaginaries of nature, resources, territory and law that inform cultural understandings of the nation state are articulated with respect to newly formed instances of the state, in this case the regional government of Cusco.

Since 2012 Professor Harvey has been Professor II at the University of Oslo, and she has also previously held a similar position at the University of Bergen (2004-2006). With Professor Tony Bennett (University of Western Sydney) and Professor Kevin Hetherington (Open University) she is editor of the Routledge book series, Culture, Economy and the Social. She has twice served as Chair of the Anthropology Review Panel for the Danish Council for Independent Research, and she was also a member of the review committee for Cultural Anthropology in the Netherlands in 2013.