Keir James Cecil Martin

Image of Keir James Cecil Martin
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22856603
Visiting address Gullhaug torg 1 0484 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1091 Blindern 0317 Oslo

Academic interests

Political Economy, psychotherapy, Papua New Guinea, China, social class.

Courses taught


Keir Martin is Professor in Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and was formerly a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.  He is a recipient of the Royal Anthropological Institute's Sutasoma Award for work likely to make an outstanding contribution to social anthropology.   His original fieldwork was on emerging forms of socio-economic inequality in Papua New Guinea.  He is a previous Political Economy Research Fellow with the Independent Social Research Foundation who have supported ongoing research into the changing nature of the corporation in the 21st century.  He is currently working on the growth of psychotherapy among new middle class populations globally and is Principle Investigator on a Norwegian Research Council funded project, Shrinking the Planet, that explores this issue.  He is also a practicing psychotherapist and member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy -

Tags: Political Economy, Psychotherapy

Selected publications


2013. The Death of the Big Men and the Rise of the Big Shots: Custom and Conflict in East New Britain. Berghahn Books.  ‘A fascinating, plainspoken new ethnography… the start of a new Melanesian sociology’, American Anthropologist. ‘A groundbreaking ethnography: brilliantly conceived, clearly written and utterly convincing’, Pacific Affairs.

Edited collections.

2021. Generating Dependence: New Configurations of Gender, Kinship and Labor. Special Issue of Focaal. Co-edited with Ståle Wig and Sylvia Yanagisako.

2021. Dependence in Oceania.  Special Issue of Oceania. Co-edited with Tom Bratrud and Ingjerd Hoëm.

2020. States of Dependence. Special Issue of Social Anthropology. Co-edited with Sylvia Yanagisako.

2019. The Ambiguities of Ritual. Special Issue of Ethnos. Co-edited with Jon Henrik Remme.

2019. Psychotherapy, Anthropology and the work of Culture. London. Routledge/Karnac Books.

2008. Tourism as Social Contest. Special Issue of Tourism, Culture and Communication.

Journal articles.

2021. 'Dams and Flows': Boundary Formation and Dislocation in the Financialised Firm. Review of Evolutionary Political Economy. 2:403-429. Co-authored with Adam Leaver.

2021. Wars of dependence: Contested histories among Tolai people of Papua New Guinea. Oceania. 91(2):296-309

2021. Introduction: Dependence in Oceania. Oceania. 91(2):139-164.

2021. Battlegrounds of Dependence: Reconfiguring Labor, Kinship and Relational Obligation. Focaal. 90:1-10. Co-authored with Ståle Wig and Sylvia Yanagisako.

2020. Subaltern perspectives in post-human theory. Anthropological Theory. 20(3):357-382.

2020. States of dependence. Social Anthropology. 28(3):646-656. Co-authored with Sylvia Yanagisako.

2020. Do you want us to feed you like a baby? Ascriptions of dependence in East New Britain. Social Anthropology. 28(3):714-728.

2019. The ambiguities of ritual. Ethnos. Co-authored with Jon Henrik Remme.

2019. Ritual and ambiguities of social (dis)order in East New Britain. Ethnos.

2019. Hierarchy and Stratification in East New Britain. Anthropological Forum. 29(3):302-318.

2018. Tolai tabu as wealth and money: a shifting and unstable distinction. History and Anthropology. 29(3):392-406.

2018. Wage-labour and a double separation in Papua New Guinea and beyond. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 24(1):89-101.

2018. Transcultural histories of psychotherapy. European Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy. 20(1):1-16.

2017. Trump; transacting trickster. Anthropology Today. Co-authored with Jakob Krause-Jensen.

2016. Creating and dissolving social groups from New Guinea to New York: on the overheating of bounded corporate entities in contemporary global capitalism. History and Anthropology. 27(4):1-17. Co-authored with Adam Leaver.

2016. Statistics, Sneers and Fears. Social Anthropology. 24(4):494-5.

2015. Taking neoliberalism seriously. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 21(4):920-923.

2015. Public Anthropology and Anthropological Theory: A zero-sum game?  Anthropology Today. 31(1):12-14. Co-authored with Alex Flynn.

2014. Knot work not networks: or anti-anti-anti fetishism and the ANT-i politics machine. Hau: The Journal of Ethnographic Theory. 4(3):99-115.

2014. Stand-up for anthropology: Comedy and performing knowledge. Suomen Antropologi. 39(4):44-47.

2014. Sovereignty and Freedom in West Papua and beyond. Oceania. 84(3):342-348.

2014. UKIP and the rise of populist politics. Anthropology Today. 30(3):1-2.

2013. Introduction. Non-dualism is philosophy not ethnography. Critique of Anthropology. 33(3):300-360.

2013. The Spirit of Rabaul after the Volcano. Paideuma. 59:195–215.

2012. Big men and Business: Morality, Debt and the Corporation. Social Anthropology. 20(4):482-5.

2012. The Potlatch of Destruction: Gifting against the State. Critique of Anthropology. 32(2):125-42.

2010. Robert Macnamara and the limits of bean counting. Anthropology Today. 26(3):16-9.

2010. Living Pasts: Contested Tourism Authenticities. Annals of Tourism Research. 37(2):537-54.

2010. The Death of the Big Men: Depreciation of Elites in New Guinea. Ethnos. 75(1):1-22.

2009. Den Store Haj Jagt. Jordens Folk. 44(4):20-25.

2009. Names as Markers and Makers of Contested Identity: on Social Groups in the New Guinea Highlands. Oceania. 79(2):162-76.

2008. The work of tourism and the fight for a new economy; the case of the Papua New Guinea Mask Festival. Tourism, Culture and Communication. 8(2):97-107.

2008. Tourism as social contest. Introduction for special issue of Tourism, Culture and Communication. 8(2):59-69.

2007. Your own buai you must buy: the contested ideology of Possessive Individualism in East New Britain. Anthropological Forum. 17(3):285-98.

2007. The chairman of the clan; emerging social divisions in a Melanesian social movement. Paideuma. 53:111-125.

2006. A fish trap for custom; how nets work at Matupit. Paideuma. 52:73-90.

Book chapters.

2021. Dependence. In F. Stein (ed.) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

2020. Markets and Corporations. In S. Narotzky (ed.) The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

2019. Big Men, ceremonial exchange and lifecycle events. In E. Hirsh and W. Rollason (eds.) The Melanesian World. London. Taylor and Francis.

2019. Transcultural Histories of Psychotherapy.  In S. Shamdasani and D. Loewanthal (eds.) Exploring Transcultural Histories of Psychotherapy. London. Routledge.

2019. Tabu and Bitcoin: Fluctuating (im)materiality in two non-state media of exchange. In P. Harvey, C. Krohn-Hansen and K. Nustad (eds.) Anthropos and the Material. Durham. Duke University Press.

2019. Therapy Beyond the Multicultural. In K. Martin (ed.) Psychotherapy, Anthropology and the uses of Culture.   London. Karnac Books.

2019. Introduction. In K. Martin (ed.) Psychotherapy, Anthropology and the uses of Culture.   London. Karnac Books.

2019. Tolai tabu as wealth and money. In K. Rio and T. Rakopoulos (eds.) Towards an Anthropology of Weatlh: Imagination, Substance, Value. London. Routledge.

2018. After neoliberalism. In H. Wydra and B. Thomassen (eds.) Handbook of Political Anthropology. Cheltenham. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

2018. Communism. In H. Callan (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Hoboken. Wiley.

2018. Trickster’s Triumph: Donald Trump and the New Spirit of Capitalism.  In T. Malefyt and B. Moeran (eds.) Magical Capitalism. London. Routledge. Co-authored with Jakob Krause-Jensen.

2018. This custom from the past is no good. In C. Gregory and J. Altman (eds.) Domestic Moral Economies: The Search for the good life. Canberra. Australian National University Press.

2018. ‘It was harder before: we lived by the market’: (hopes and fears of a market-free future in East New Britain). In H Han and G Schmitz (eds). Market as Place and Space of Economic Exchange: Perspectives from Anthropology and Archaeology. OXBOW Press.

2017. Corporate groups from New Guinea to New York: on the overheating of bounded corporate entities in contemporary global capitalism. In T. Eriksen (ed.) Overheating: Towards an Anthropological History of the Twenty-First Century. London. Routledge. Co-authored with Adam Leaver.

2016. ‘We’re Far Too Far Down This Road Now to Worry about Morals’: The Destabilising of Football Fans’ Identities in an Overheated World. In T. Eriksen and E. Schober (eds.) Identity Destabilised. Pp. 205-222. London. Pluto Press.

2015. Modernity Tourism. In J. Jafari and H. Xiao (eds.) Encyclopedia of Tourism. Springer International Publishing.

2015. Exchange and Corporate Forms today. In J. Kjaerulff (ed.) Flexible Capitalism: Exchange and Ambiguity at Work. Pp. 261-276. New York. Berghahn Books.

2013. Gift Exchange. In R. McGee and R. Warms (eds.) Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Pp. 323-326. Thousand Oaks. Sage Books.

2010. Cultural Anthropology. In M. Ryan (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of Literary and Cultural Theory. Oxford. Blackwell.

2008. Custom: The Limits of Reciprocity in Village Redevelopment. In K. Sykes (ed.) Ethnographies of Moral Reasoning: Living Paradoxes of a Global Age. Pp. 93-116. New York. Palgrave.

2007. Land customary and non-customary in East New Britain. In J. Weiner and K. Glaskin (eds.) Indigenous land tenure in Papua New Guinea and Australia. Pp. 39-56. Canberra. ANU Press.

Published Nov. 11, 2014 9:42 AM - Last modified Feb. 24, 2022 10:02 AM

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