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H2027 ( Universitetsveien 25, Kristiansand )

Vito is Associate Professor in the Department of Global Development and Planning, University of Agder, Norway. In Agder, he is also a member of the Centre for Digital Transformation (CeDiT). He is Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation, University of Johannesburg.

He received a BSc in Employment Relations & Human Resource Management from LSE, and an MPhil in Social Anthropological Research and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Vito is an anthropologist, development scholar and political analyst with an interdisciplinary orientation spanning two main areas: political economy & ecology, and communication studies. His work focuses on higher education, digital technologies, environment & climate change, labour & organisations, socio-economic inequalities, and social and political mobilisation.

His approach is characterised by a systemic integration of ethnography, macro-level structural analysis, and epistemological & reflexive inquiry, in the tradition of “big ideas” social science and social theory.

His early career was characterised by a specialism in southern and central Africa, which over the years has grown into a sustained comparison between Africa and the West.

He held research and teaching positions at the University of Cambridge, University of Oslo, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, University of Mauritius, Bristol UWE, and University of Worcester (UK).

Vito's work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Jisc (UK), the National Institute of Health Research (UK), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (US), the Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences, the National Research Foundation (South Africa), the Tertiary Education Commission (Mauritius), the SAHEE Foundation (Switzerland) and the Cambridge Newton Trust.

His doctoral research in Cambridge (2005-2011) was an ethnography of timber workers in the Kingdom of Eswatini. He studied in a former asbestos mining town, redeveloped as a social enterprise by white southern African and North American Pentecostal Christian missionaries. For-profit economic activities in the forestry industry were carried out in tandem with orphan care services. The study was extended to the adjacent rural community. Vito developed a grounded approach to foreign investment and donor aid that takes into account labour relations and company’s interactions with local communities, and brings together political economy, political ecology and phenomenological anthropology.

His current work comprises three streams: 

1) Socio-economic inequalities, economic development, digitalisation and organisational change in higher education in Africa and the Nordic countries, with an ongoing project on academics’ and institutional responses to recent university student protests in South Africa.

2) New forms of social and political mobilisation in Africa and the West, including spontaneous protests, right-wing populism, digital democracy, and environmental activism.

3) The political economy of African development and underdevelopment from a North-South perspective, with a focus on: race, class and capital; land, labour and migration; and enclave development.

4) The role of academic knowledge production and engaged scholarship in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vito worked with local governments, NGOs, trade unions, social movements, and community organisations in Norway, Europe and southern Africa on issues of digital communications, labour, socio-economic development, organisational change and green economy.

He writes regularly for national and international media, such as Al Jazeera English, Boston Review, Foreign Affairs, Africa Is A Country, and Daily Maverick. He has been a guest speaker on South African national radio for SAfm, Cape Talk, Radio 702, and Voice of the Cape. In Norway, he has been interviewed by Dagens Næringsliv, and wrote for Fædrelandsvennen.

I am chief editor and founder of the blog Corona Times, a public engagement project of the University of Cape Town.

Selected publications


Laterza, V., Sharp, J. and Beresford, A. eds. (2017) Extraction and Beyond: People’s Economic Responses to Restructuring in Southern and Central Africa. Review of African Political Economy, 44(152).

Larmer, M. and Laterza, V. eds. (2017) Contested Wealth: Social and Political Mobilisation in Extractive Communities in Africa. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(4).

Sharp, J., Powers, T. and Laterza, V. eds. (2013) The Human Economy Project: First Steps. Anthropology Southern Africa, 36(3&4).



Laterza, V. (2018) ‘Cambridge Analytica, Independent Research and the National Interest’. Anthropology Today, 34(3): 1-2.

Laterza, V. and Sharp, J. (2017) 'Extraction and Beyond: People’s Economic Responses to Restructuring in Southern and Central Africa'. Review of African Political Economy, 44(152): 173-188.

Larmer, M. and Laterza, V. (2017) 'Contested Wealth: Social and Political Mobilisation in Extractive Communities in Africa'. The Extractive Industries and Society, 4(4): 701-706.

Laterza, V. (2017) 'African Social Sciences and the Study of the Economy: Building an Independent Pan-African Infrastructure'. CODESRIA BULLETIN, 2017(1&2): 27-28.

Laterza, V. (2017) 'Resilient Labour: Workplace Regimes, Globalisation and Enclave Development in Swaziland'. In: Kate Meagher, Laura Mann and Maxim Bolt (eds) Globalisation, Economic Inclusion and African Workers: making the right connections. London: Routledge.

Laterza, V. (2016) 'Resilient Labour: Workplace Regimes, Globalisation and Enclave Development in Swaziland'. Journal of Development Studies, 52(4): 576-590.

Laterza, V., Evans, D., Davies, R., Donald, C. and Rice, C. (2016) ‘What’s in a “Research Passport”? A Collaborative Autoethnography of Institutional Approvals in Public Involvement in Research’. Research Involvement and Engagement, 2(24).

Laterza, V. (2015) 'Waves of Unrest: Wildcat Strikes and Possible Democratic Change in Swaziland'. In: Keith Hart (ed.) Economy For and Against Democracy. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 137-158.

Laterza, V. (2015) ‘Entangled In/Equalities in African Societies: a Response to Harri Englund's Human Rights and African Airwaves’. Suomen Antropologi, 40(1): 66-69.

Sharp, J., Hart, K. and Laterza, V. (2014) 'South Africa in World Development: Prospects for a Human Economy'. Anthropology Today, 30(6): 13-17.

Forrester, B. and Laterza, V. (2014) Development in Swaziland: Myths and Realities. Pretoria: sahee Foundation.

Evans, D., Coad, J., Cottrell, K., Dalrymple, J., Davies, R., Donald, C., Laterza, V., Long, A., Longley, A., Moule, P., Pollard, K., Powell, J., Puddicombe, A., Rice, C. and Sayers, R. (2014) 'Public Involvement in Research: Assessing Impact through a Realist Evaluation'. Health Services and Delivery Research, 2(36).

Laterza, V. (2014) ‘Tra Stato, Mercato e Società: la Crisi Italiana e l’Economia Umana [Between State, Market and Society: the Italian Crisis and the Human Economy]’. Critica Liberale, 22(220): 146-149.

Laterza, V., Forrester, B. and Mususa, P. (2013) 'Bringing Wood to Life: Lines, Flows and Materials in a Swazi Sawmill'. In: Tim Ingold and Gísli Pálsson (eds) Biosocial Becomings: integrating social and biological anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.162-190.

Laterza, V. (2013) ‘Some Notes towards a Human Economy Approach’. Anthropology Southern Africa, 36(3&4): 135-138.

Sharp, J., Powers, T. and Laterza, V. (2013) ‘The Human Economy Project: First Steps’. Anthropology Southern Africa, 36(3&4): 99-101.

Procter, R., Carmichael, P. and Laterza, V. (2008) ‘Co-Interpretation of Usage Data: a Mixed-Methods Approach to the Evaluation of Online Environments’. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 2(1): 44-56.

Laterza. V. (2007) 'The Ethnographic Novel: Another Literary Skeleton in the Anthropological Closet?'. Suomen Antropologi, 32(2): 124-134.

Laterza, V., Carmichael, P., and Procter, R. (2007) 'The Doubtful Guest? A Virtual Research Environment for Education'. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 16(3): 249-267.

Carmichael, P., Procter, R., Laterza, V. and Rimpilainen, S. (2006) 'Sakai: A Virtual Research Environment for Education'. Research Intelligence, 96(August): 18-19.

General outreach


Is China really to blame for Zambia's debt problems? (Al Jazeera English, 11/10/2018) [with Patience Mususa]
Italy: the new anti-migrant national consensus (Africa Is A Country, 13/07/2018; republished in Daily Maverick)
Italy's dystopian social contract is born (Daily Maverick, 24/05/2018)
The populism and dystopia of Italy's new government (Al Jazeera English, 22/05/2018)
Cambridge Analytica, African elections and Western double standards (Inside Education, 28/03/2018)
Neoliberalism, big capital and the Zambian crisis (Al Jazeera English, 16/06/2017)
We are all Helen Zille. Or, why the West thinks that colonialism was not all bad (Africa Is A Country, 16/03/2017)
The Italian referendum and the crisis of the left (Wildcat Dispatches, 08/12/2016)
The myth of Donald Trump's white working-class support (Africa Is A Country, 17/11/2016) [with Louis Philippe Römer]
How did the main parties do in the 2016 South African municipal elections? ANC, DA and EFF in numbers (Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, 23/08/2016) [with Stephan van Wyk]
Zambia: democratic victory or vote snatching? (Al Jazeera English, 17/08/2016)
Bernie Sanders' new task is to convince his supporters to back Hillary Clinton (The Independent, 20/06/2016)
Can the Sanders campaign build a progressive alternative to the US establishment? (Truthout, 20/06/2016)
The future of the Sanders campaign: grassroots democracy beyond social media and mass rallies (Daily Maverick, 01/06/2016)
Democracy after Sanders: building a progressive alternative, beyond social media and mass rallies (openDemocracy, 26/05/2016)
What future for South African Democracy? (Boston Review, 05/01/2016) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
Finland: basic income experiment – what we know (Basic Income News, 09/12/2015)
Government oversight of university transformation should not be taboo (Daily Maverick, 19/11/2015)
Looking for leaders: student protests and the future of South African democracy (Daily Maverick, 06/11/2015) [with Ayanda Manqoyi]
The student uprisings in South Africa (Africa Is A Country, 21/10/2015)
Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs dies at 100, she endorsed city-level universal basic income (Basic Income News, 18/10/2015)
Greek elections: winners and losers in numbers (Analyze Greece, 23/09/2015)
Greece: government to roll out a Guaranteed Minimum Income scheme (Basic Income News, 22/08/2015)
What will happen if Greeks vote 'oxi' in Sunday's referendum? (Ricochet, 03/07/2015; republished by Analyze Greece, 05/07/2015)
Zambia's uncertain future: political rifts and economic challenges in Lusaka (Foreign Affairs, 04/03/2015) [with Patience Mususa]
Swaziland: liberal democracy and its discontents (Al Jazeera English, 12/10/2013)
Italy's new government and the perpetuation of minority rule (Al Jazeera English,  03/05/2013)
The Iron Lady is gone, but Thatcherism is alive and well (GlobalPost, 21/04/2013)
Berlusconi's new prominence casts shadows over Italy's future (GlobalPost, 02/04/2013)
Technocracy's new bet: Mario Monti runs for premiership (Al Jazeera English, 04/01/2013)
Innocence of Muslims: how fiction creates reality (Al Jazeera English, 19/09/2012)
Lost opportunity for Zambian democracy (Mail & Guardian, 05/11/2008)

Scientific publications

  • Laterza, Vito (2017). African social sciences and the study of the economy: building an independent pan-African infrastructure. CODESRIA Bulletin. ISSN: 0850-8712. (1&2). s 27 - 28.
  • Laterza, Vito; Larmer, Miles (2017). Contested wealth: Social and political mobilisation in extractive communities in Africa. The Extractive Industries and Society. ISSN: 2214-790X. 4 (4). s 701 - 706. doi:10.1016/j.exis.2017.11.001.
  • Laterza, Vito; Sharp, John (2017). Extraction and beyond: people’s economic responses to restructuring in southern and central Africa. Review of African Political Economy. ISSN: 0305-6244. (44(152)). s 173 - 188. doi:10.1080/03056244.2017.1345540.
  • Laterza, Vito (2017). Resilient labour: workplace regimes, globalisation and enclave development in Swaziland. Globalisation, Economic Inclusion and African Workers. ISBN: 978-1-138-21894-9. Routledge. Chapter 7.
  • Laterza, Vito (2016). Resilient labour: workplace regimes, globalisation and enclave development in Swaziland. Journal of Development Studies. ISSN: 0022-0388. 52 (4). s 576 - 590. doi:10.1080/00220388.2015.1126250.
  • Laterza, Vito; Evans, David; Davies, Rosemary; Donald, Christine; Rice, Cathy (2016). What’s in a “research passport”? A collaborative autoethnography of institutional approvals in public involvement in research. Research Involvement and Engagement. ISSN: 2056-7529. 2 (24). doi:10.1186/s40900-016-0033-z.
  • Laterza, Vito (2015). Entangled in/equalities in African societies: a response to Harri Englund's Human Rights and African Airwaves. Suomen Antropologi. ISSN: 0355-3930. 40 (1). s 66 - 69.
  • Laterza, Vito (2015). Waves of unrest: wildcat strikes and possible democratic change in Swaziland. Economy for and Against Democracy. ISBN: 978-1-78238-844-9. Berghahn Books. Chapter 7. s 137 - 158.
  • Evans, David; Coad, Jane; Cottrell, Kiera; Dalrymple, Jane; Davies, Rosemary; Donald, Christine; Laterza, Vito; Long, Amy; Longley, Amanda; Moule, Pam; Pollard, Katherine; Powell, Jane; Puddicombe, Anna; Rice, Cathy; Sayers, Ruth (2014). Public involvement in research: assessing impact through a realist evaluation. Health Services and Delivery Research. ISSN: 2050-4349. 2 (36). doi:10.3310/hsdr02360.
  • Sharp, John; Hart, Keith; Laterza, Vito (2014). South Africa in world development: prospects for a human economy. Anthropology Today. ISSN: 0268-540X. 30 (6). s 13 - 17. doi:10.1111/1467-8322.12142.
  • Laterza, Vito; Forrester, Bob; Mususa, Patience (2013). 'Bringing wood to life': lines, flows and materials in a Swazi sawmill. Biosocial becomings: integrating social and biological anthropology. ISBN: 978-1-107-02563-9. Cambridge University Press. Chapter 9. s 162 - 190.
  • Laterza, Vito (2013). Some notes towards a human economy approach. Anthropology Southern Africa. ISSN: 2332-3256. 36 (3&4). s 135 - 138. doi:10.1080/02580144.2013.10887038.
  • Sharp, John; Powers, Theodore; Laterza, Vito (2013). The Human Economy Project: first steps. Anthropology Southern Africa. ISSN: 2332-3256. 36 (3&4). s 99 - 101. doi:10.1080/23323256.2013.11500047.
  • Procter, Richard; Carmichael, Patrick; Laterza, Vito (2008). Co-interpretation of usage data: A mixed methods approach to evaluation of online environments. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches. ISSN: 1834-0806. 2 (1). s 44 - 56. doi:10.5172/mra.455.2.1.44.
  • Laterza, Vito; Carmichael, Patrick; Procter, Richard (2007). The doubtful guest? A Virtual Research Environment for education. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. ISSN: 1475-939X. 16 (3). s 249 - 267. doi:10.1080/14759390701614363.
  • Laterza, Vito (2007). The ethnographic novel: another literary skeleton in the anthropological closet?. Suomen Antropologi. ISSN: 0355-3930. 32 (2). s 124 - 134.
  • Tømte, Cathrine Edelhard; Laterza, Vito; Pinheiro, Romulo (2019). Is there a Scandinavian model for MOOCs? Studying the effects of digital transformation in higher education in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
  • Laterza, Vito (2016). ‘A king is a king by his people’: understanding popular support for the monarchy in Swaziland.
  • Laterza, Vito; Manqoyi, Ayanda (2016). Looking for leaders: tactics and agency in the 2015 South African student protests.

Last changed: 29.07.2020 21:07