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Peter Lockwood (2015)

Peter Lockwood (2015)

Research Title: The Promise of Prosperity: Households, Generations and the Moral Economy of Wealth in Central Kenya

Supervisor: Prof Harri Englund


I am an anthropologist from Essex in the UK. My undergraduate studies were in History (Clare College, University of Cambridge) and I converted to Anthropology in 2013 when I attended University College London for an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology. It was there that I wrote a masters thesis on boxing and gym culture in my home town that I later published as an article in Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society

 My doctoral research has seen me return to Kenya, where I worked briefly for UNHCR and then UNESCO between 2011 and 2012. I returned again as a Graduate Attaché at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) in 2015, where I later affiliated for my fieldwork (November 2016 – July 2018). My research primarily took place on the peri-urban outskirts of Nairobi in southern Kiambu County and explores the social effects of  an ongoing and sustained process of urbanisation. In particular, I am interested in the sale of “ancestral land” and moral discourses about “good” and “bad” economic behaviour and, indeed, the various types of “good” and “bad” money that can be acquired. 

Pursuing fieldwork in the midst of the 2017 elections has also allowed me to develop insights into local and national politics, and I am planning further publications that engage with the rich regional literature on Kenyan politics from an anthropological perspective. In 2018 I will be supervising anthropology students in the department, and also on a module in Comparative Politics, looking at the political histories of Kenya and Tanzania from the colonial period to the present day. 

Key Publications

2019. The Buffalo and the Squirrel: moral authority and the limits of patronage in Kiambu County’s 2017 gubernatorial race. Journal of Eastern African Studies 13 (2). doi: 10.1080/17531055.2019.1592332  

2017. Book review: The politics of distinction: African elites from colonialism to liberation in a Namibian frontier town by Mattia Fumanti. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23 (2): 422-451.

2017.“A year of two elections”, Allegra Lab: Anthropology, Law, Art, World 23 March 2018)  

2015. 'The Solitude of the Stance: The Bodily Autology of Gym-work and Boxing in an Essex Town'. Suomen Antropologi: The Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 40 (4): 5-28.