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Department of Social Anthropology



Before coming to the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge as a PhD student, I completed an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology (University College London) and a BA in Sociology (P. Universidad Católica de Chile).  I also worked in Chile as a research assistant at the P. Universidad Católica, and a policy consultant in projects for UNESCO and the Chilean government.

For my doctoral thesis, I conducted 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Santiago, the capital of Chile, with Haitian women, and their everyday encounters with state agents and Chilean employers.  I looked at how migrant women’s efforts to live and work in a new country reconfigured political and economic institutions underpinned by postcolonial hierarchies and neoliberal power dynamics. 

I am interested in exploring how experiences of difference bring to the fore novel ways of understanding the processes and relations that constitute states and markets, and how economic and political imaginaries are constructed in and through intimate subjectivities and encounters. I focus on the intersections between the anthropology of gender and racism and its convergence with anthropological debates about state-formation and economic practices in postcolonial contexts. I am also interested in the way historical legacies of racial and gender hierarchies in Latin America configure senses of belonging among mobile and displaced populations within the region.


Political economy; states and bureaucracies; capitalism; labour; gender and sexuality; racism; migration; decolonial methods; Chile and Latin America.


Key publications: 

Articles and Book Chapters

Ugarte, S. (in press). Searching for Migrant Legality at the Margins of the State: Haitian women, black markets, and Chilean bureaucracy. Chapter in edited book Red de Estudios Migratorios. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Chile.

Ugarte, S. (2018). ‘What if the Worst Happened?’ Life insurance in London as a two-faced technology.  Journal of Consumer Culture, 18(1), 43–59.

Book Reviews

Ugarte, S. (in press). Shoaff, Jennifer L. Borders of Visibility: Haitian Migrant Women and the Dominican Nation-state. University of Alabama Press, 2017. In the Journal of Latin American Studies. Invited.

Ugarte, S. (2018). Louis, Bertin M., My Soul is in Haiti: Protestantism in the Haitian Diaspora of the Bahamas.  New York: New York University Press, 2015. In Religion and Society 9(1). Invited.


Ugarte, S. (2015).  Modes of uncertainty on Isla Grande.  Beyond the End: Ensayos Periodical.

Ugarte, S. (2013). Life Insurance as ‘Technology of Care.’ Charisma: Consumer Market Studies. In

Teaching and Supervisions


Undergraduate Supervision

SAN1 – Social Anthropology: The Comparative Perspective

SAN2 – The Foundations of Social Life

SAN6 – Power, Economy and Social Transformation

SAN13 – Anthropology of Gender, Kinship and Care

Postgraduate Teaching

MPhil Paper 4 – Ethnography and Research Design

ESRC Fellow
Affiliated Lecturer
 Sofía  Ugarte

Contact Details

Email address: