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Department of Social Anthropology



I am a social anthropologist whose research is about economy, power and working life. I also write about race and decolonisation. Prior to joining the University of Cambridge in 2016, I held teaching and research positions at the LSE, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and the University of Kent. 


I am a specialist on the anthropology of class, labour and corruption, and have conducted ethnographic fieldwork in urban India among industrial workers, trade unionists and entrepreneurs.

In 2016 I published my first book Criminal Capital: Violence, Corruption and Class in Industrial India,which considered how changing employment regimes relate to criminality in corporations and political institutions. Since then, my published work has explored a range of issues related to precarity, marginality, work, exchange, criminality, race, and anthropological theory.

I am currently writing a book about why it is in human nature to transform things, and how transformative efficacy is at the core of most major questions about political and economic life.  I am also preparing a new collection about Mixed-Race thought and politics.

You can learn more about my anthropological work here:


Research interests

Capitalism; class; corruption; economy; India; industry organised crime; urban anthropology; race; work and labour.



2019. Indeterminacy: Waste, Value and the Imagination. Berghahn (with Catherine Alexander)

2016. Criminal Capital: Violence, Corruption and Class in Industrial India, Routledge

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

2023. ‘Kill Your Ancestors: The Wars of Decolonization’ American Ethnologist 50(3):439-445

2020. ‘Transformation and the Satisfaction of Work’ Social Analysis 64(3): 68-94

2019. 'Understanding Labour Politics in an Age of Precarity' (with Sian Lazar) Dialectical Anthropology 43(1): 3-14

2019.  'Everyday Barricades: Bureaucracy and the Affect of Struggle in Trade Unions' (with Eeva Kesküla) Dialectical Anthropology 43(1): 109-125

2018.‘Canon Fire: Decolonizing the Curriculum’ The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology36 (2): 1-6

2017. ‘The Novelty of the Gift: A British Anthropologist & the Trends of Ethnography’ History and Anthropology 28 (5): 553-559

2016. ‘Profane Relations: The Irony of Offensive Jokes in India’ History and Anthropology 27 (3): 296-312

2014. ‘Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on India’s Working Classes’ (with Christian Strümpell) Modern Asian Studies 48(5): 1233-1241

2014. ‘Sons of Soil, Sons of Steel: Autochthony Descent and the Class Concept in Industrial India’ (with Christian Strümpell) Modern Asian Studies 48(5): 1276-1301

2012. ‘Deadwood and Paternalism: Rationalising Casual Labour in an Indian Company Town’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute18 (4): 808-827

2012. ‘Questioning Success: Dispossession and the Criminal Entrepreneur in Urban India’ Critique of Anthropology 32 (4): 435-457

2010. ‘Capitalism, Violence and The State: Crime, Corruption and Entrepreneurship in an Indian Company TownJournal of Legal Anthropology,1 (2):165-188

Edited Journal Issues

2019 . ’Labour Politics in an Age of Precarity’ (co-edited with Sian Lazar) Dialectical Anthropology 43(1)

2018. ‘Canon Fire: Decolonizing the Curriculum’ The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 36(2)

2017.  ‘The Indian Gift: a Critical Debate’History and Anthropology 28 (5): 553-583

2014. ‘Class Matters: New Ethnographic Perspectives on the Politics of Indian Labour’ (co-edited with Christian Strümpell) Modern Asian Studies 48(5)

Chapters in Edited Collections

2024. ‘The Alchemy of the Circular Economy’. Circular Economies in an Unequal World: Waste, Renewal and the Effects of Global Circularity. O’Hare, P and Rams, D. (eds). Bloomsbury. pp. 215-224

2022. 'Technologies of Transformation' Routledge Handbook of The Anthropology of Labor. Gill, L and Kasmir, S (eds). Routledge. pp.361-371

2022. 'Mauss and the Gift' A Handbook of Economic Anthropology (3rd Edition). Carrier, JG. ed. Edward Elgar. pp. 35-44

2021. ‘The Colour of Anthropology’. Reading Against Racism: A Berghahn Collection

2019. ‘Systemic Criminality, Work and The Politics of Labour’. The Handbook of Organised Crime and Politics. Gilmour, S & Allum, F. (eds). Edward Elgar pp.374-388

2019. ‘The Values of Indeterminacy’ (with Catherine Alexander)  Indeterminacy: Waste, Value and the Imagination. Alexander, C & Sanchez, A (eds.) Berghahn. pp. 1-30

2018. ‘The Fall and Rise of Class’. The Handbook of Political AnthropologyWydra, H & Thomassen, B. (eds.) Edward Elgar. pp. 410-422

2018. ‘Division of Labour’ International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Hilary Callan (ed.) Wiley-Blackwell

2018. ‘Piece Rates’ International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Hilary Callan (ed.) Wiley-Blackwell

2018. ‘Relative Precarity: Decline, Hope and the Politics of Work’ Industrial Labor on the Margins of Capitalism: Precarity, Class and the Neoliberal Subject. Hann, C & Parry, JP. (eds) Berghahn pp. 218-240

2017. ‘Coercion and Corporate Power: Notes on Class Struggle in an Indian City’. The Corporation: A Critical, Multidisciplinary Handbook. Grietje Baars & Andre Spicer (eds.) Cambridge University Press. pp. 470-478

2015. ‘Criminal Entrepreneurship: A political economy of corruption and organised crime in India’ Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption. Paul Heywood (ed.) Routledge pp. 67-76

Reports and Comments

2022. ‘Work is Complicated Thoughts on David Graeber's Bullshit JobsFocaalBlog March 4th 2022

2016. ‘Corruption is both a symptom of the basic structures of capitalism, and a technology that supports them’. LSE South Asia. May 12 2016

2015. ‘FT could be more critical of a company town’ Financial Times. November 12 2015

2012. ‘Corruption in India’. India: The Next Superpower? LSE IDEAS SR010 March 2012: 50-53

2011. ‘Criminal Capital’ LSE Connect, Winter 2011:12-13

2011. ‘Taking Stock: Looting and the Left in the London Riots’ City Analysis

Teaching and Supervisions


SAN1: Social Anthropology: The comparative perspective Critical issues: Politics and economic life

SAN2: The foundations of social life: Economic anthropology

SAN4: Ethnographic areas: South Asia: The Political Economy of Modern India

SAN6: Power, economy and social transformation: Organised Crime and Corruption

SAN7: Ethnographic methods & writing

SAN12: Cities and space:  Concepts & Methods in Urban Anthropology; City Life 

MPhil Paper 1: Production & reproduction: Anthropology and economics

MPhil SAR: The Anthropology of Violence

MRes/PhD First Year: Ethnographic methods

Research supervision: 

Kevin Yildirim

Xin Zhan

Rachel Kay

Lucas Zabotin

Lyndsey West

Edurne Sosa El Fakih

Mary Tate

Sumedha Chakravarty

Andrew Sanchez is accepting applications for PhD students.


Associate Professor
Outreach Coordinator for Department of Social Anthropology
Fellow and Foundation Year Director of Studies, Wolfson College
Office hours: email by appointment
Dr Andrew  Sanchez

Contact Details

Takes PhD students