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Dr Michael Crawley

Assistant Professor

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology  


I am a social anthropologist specialising in the study of sport, development and self-tracking. 

My doctoral thesis is the first ever ethnographic account of the emic regimes of subjectification adopted by Ethiopian runners. Its overall argument is that an awareness of the energetic quality of human existence can give rise to distinct ways of relating to oneself and others. 

My first book, Out of Thin Air: Running Wisdom and Magic From Above the Clouds in Ethiopia (Bloomsbury, 2020) was longlisted for the Ondaatje Prize. 

Research interests

  • Ethiopia
  • Running
  • Competition
  • Economic Anthropology
  • Energy
  • Co-operation
  • Sport
  • Migration

Esteem Indicators

  • 2022: Winner of the Margaret Mead Award: The Margaret Mead Award is presented to a younger scholar for a particular accomplishment such as a book, film, monograph, or service, which interprets anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful and accessible to a broadly concerned public. ;
  • 0000: : 'Out of Thin Air' nominated for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize. ;


Authored book

  • Crawley, M. (2020). Out of Thin Air: Running Wisdom and Magic From Above the Clouds in Ethiopia. Bloomsbury.

Chapter in book

  • (2022). 'Enduring Influence': The Work of Social Media for Elite Endurance Athletes. In Contemporary Meanings of Endurance: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Routledge.
  • (2021). "This is Business!" Ethiopian Runners in a Global Market Place. In Sport, Migration and Gender in the Neoliberal Age. Routledge.

Journal Article

Supervision students