John Gledhill

John Gledhill


Personal profile


I received my training in Social Anthropology at Oxford University. After teaching for twenty years at University College London, I joined the Manchester department in September 1996, and served as its Head from 1997 to 2001. I have also taught in Mexican universities.

In April 2005 I was elected Chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, to serve for a term of four years. In 2009 I was elected a Vice-President of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences at its 16th Congress in Kunming, China, with responsibility for organising the 17th IUAES World Congress, which was hosted by Manchester University in August 2013.

I was elected a member of the UK Academy of Social Sciences in 2000 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2010. 

Research interests

Although I have also published widely on broader theoretical and comparative themes, especially in political anthropology, my regional specialization is on Latin American societies and cultures. I have carried out extensive personal ethnographic research in Mexico and Brazil, on urban and rural poverty, international migration, comparative political systems, social movements, and the politics of human and indigenous rights and securitization. I have also done historical research using archival sources. I am continuing to be active in research and writing as an emeritus professor.

In 2012 Duke University Press published an edited book based on an inter-disciplinary and international project on Rethinking Histories of Resistance in Brazil and Mexico, funded by AHRC, and carried out with Patience Schell, then a colleague at Manchester, and a distinguished group of researchers from Brazil, Mexico, the UK and the USA.

In October 2010, I began a three year Major Research Fellowship funded by the Leverhulme Trust to carry out research on the securitization of social issues in Brazil and Mexico. Entitled "Security for all in the Age of Securitization?" this project took a critical look at issues such as the policing of low income neighborhoods in Brazilian cities and the policy of favela pacification, taking into account how issues of security are seen by residents of such neighborhoods in cities whose development is shaped by real estate and construction interests; how securitization affects migrants crossing Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and northern border with the United States; and the social and political consequences of counter-insurgency operations conducted against dissident groups that have become ever more entangled in paramilitary violence that serves a variety of interests and the parallel political power of mafias. I now have published various papers in English, Portuguese and Spanish on this research, but the principal English language publication from the project is The New War on the Poor: The Production of Insecurity in Latin America (Zed Books, 2015).

Further information

I am co-managing editor of the journal Critique of Anthropology, and on the editorial boards of Anthropological Theory, Development Studies ResearchIdentities, The Journal of Political Power, and Urbanities.

 For more information on my current activities please visit my new personal website and blog.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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