Alberto Corsin Jimenez
Extracted from Alberto Corsín Jimenez's website
I have long been fascinated by the organization of ethnography and anthropological knowledge as descriptive and theoretical forms. A recent book, An anthropological trompe l’oeil for a common world: an essay on the economy of knowledge (Oxford: Berghahn), explores these issues by placing description at perpendicular angles vis-a-vis emerging forms of ‘global public knowledge’.
I have written and continue to be interested in the political and economic anthropology of knowledge as a public good, and its intersections in science / management / policy encounters. Arguments about the relevance and importance of certain modes of organising knowledge are often expressed in terms of ‘open innovation’, ‘public value’, ‘social responsibility’, ‘distributive justice’, even ‘political ethics’. So I have found myself writing about these things too.
My doctoral fieldwork involved two years of fieldwork (1997-1999) in the mining town of Antofagasta, in the Atacama Desert, Chile. The ethnography that ensued described the historical geography and political economy of nitrate mining in the desert, and developed a theoretical argument about the anthropology of space. I have since remained interested in the place of space in anthropological forms of knowledge, and in anthropological theory itself as a spatial form.
My current work examines the rise of an urban commons movement and the development of open-source urban hardware projects by architects, artists and engineers. I am also curious about the affordances that such ‘prototyping cultures’ may have for anthropological theory at large.
I studied social anthropology at Oxford University (PhD / D.Phil 2001) and the London School of Economics (MSc 1996). However, I first read for an Economics degree in Madrid and London, where upon graduating I worked for a couple of years as an economic analyst before switching to anthropology.
Between 2001 and 2003, I held a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and did another 6 months of fieldwork in Chile, this time between Antofagasta and Maria Elena (a desert mining community). At St Hugh’s I was also College Tutor in Social Anthropology.
In September 2003 I joined the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.
In 2009 I moved from Manchester to Madrid, as Dean at Spain’s School for Industrial Organisation. As of June 2009 I am a Senior Scientist at Spain’s National Research Council (CSIC).
In November 2010 I was seconded part-time to the Spanish National Agency for the Evaluation of Science (ANEP – Agencia Nacional de Evaluación y Prospectiva) as Head of the Social Sciences Committee.
On February 2013 I am taking office as Secretary of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).