Theodoros Rakopoulos

Associate Professor - Department of Social Anthropology
Image of Theodoros Rakopoulos
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Phone +47-22855875
Mobile phone +47 93026562, 228555875
Room 616
Available hours Tuesday 14.00-16.00
Visiting address Moltke Moes vei 31 Eilert Sundts hus blokk A 0851 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1091 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Academic interests


Economic Anthropology, Political Anthropology, cooperatives, mafia/antimafia, labour, agrarian change, solidarity, food, activism, silence and talk, egalitarianism, austerity.


Sicily/Italy, Greece.


Theo Rakopoulos has done fieldwork on agrarian production anti-mafia cooperatives that work on land confiscated from Cosa Nostra in rural Sicily (2008-9) and on food co-ops and alternative food distribution movements during the Greek crisis (2013-2016), both researches funded by Wenner-Gren grants.

His book, based on a RAI/Sutasoma-awarded thesis (PhD Goldsmiths) is an ethnography of a mafia-influenced village, that examines social relations in and around Sicilian cooperatives, as well as the apparent 'opposites' where members are entangled in (as per mafia/antimafia). He argues that cooperatives are constituted from dynamics taking place outside cooperative systems of work, including kinship practices and ideologies, reputation and informal labour.

Theo is particularly interested in the grey zones between nested categories where the political formulates: formal and informal, mafia and antimafia, silence and talk, law and ethics, home and workplace, betrayal and commitment. In recent work, he has explored the liminality of concepts such as neighbourhood, confession and omertà, arguing that they unsettle instituted understandings of separation, while elsewhere he focused on how concepts reshape in the midst of social change (such as “flexible kinship”, or “hidden welfare”).

Following that line, Theo has examined “bridging” concepts, that inform activist practices (including solidarity and solidarity economies, on which he has extensively worked on in the context of Greek co-ops). His interest in the contradictions of egalitarianism as practice and ideology has yielded work appraising food activism’s hierarchies, exploring co-op/mafia dangerous liaisons, and critically revisiting the idea of “community participation” in industrial democracy institutions.

Forthcoming work includes edited collections exploring: firstly, the global ramifications of austerity in an attempt to think of this seemingly “European” problem in a non-Eurocentric way; secondly, the intellectual, historical and political genealogies of an Anthropology of wealth; and thirdly, what do we talk about when we talk about the mafia.

Other work in preparation tries to problematize: how we go about doing research in institutions in which we are members ourselves; how the infrastructural life of solidarity might look like; how ideas of masculinity articulate with silence and betrayal; what we mean by “ethical capitalism”; and finally, how we revisit the longstanding relationship of anthropological and fictional writing.

Theo teaches Economic Anthropology, as well as a range of courses including The Anthropology of Mafia, and The Anthropology of the "Mediterranean".


Before joining SAI, Theo was a post-doctoral fellow in the universities of Bergen ('Egalitarianism' project) and Pretoria (Human Economy programme). Aside Anthropology, he has degrees in Law and Politics. He often contributes opinion pieces in the Greek press and has won the Greek national prize for debut author (2012). He has published 4 books of fiction in Greek. 


Tags: Economic Anthropology, cooperatives, mafia/antimafia, labour, solidarity, food, activism, silence/talk, egalitarianism, austerity




2018 The global life of austerity: Comparing beyond Europe(editor). New York and London: Berghahn, Critical Interventions series.

2017 From clans to co-ops: Confiscated mafia land in SicilyNew York and London: Berghahn, Human Economy series.

Special issues

2018 Co-editor (with Knut Rio). Reimagining wealth: Anthropological explorations. History & Anthropology 29(3).

2016 Co-editor (with Heath Cabot). The other side of crisis: Solidarity networks in Greece. Social Anthropology 24(2). 

Refereed journal articles 

2018 The social life of mafia confession: Between talk and silence in Sicily. Current Anthropology 59(2): 167-190. 

2018 Introduction to an anthropology of wealth. History and Anthropology 29(3): 1-17. (Co-authored with Knut Rio, open access).

2018 Show me the money: Conspiracy theories and distant wealth. History and Anthropology 29(3): 376-391. 

2018 Solidarity bridges: Alternative food economies in urban Greece. The Greek Review of Social Research 149(B): 1-21.

2017 Façade egalitarianism: Mafia and cooperative in Sicily. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 40(1): 104-121

2017 Antimafia families: Cooperative work and flexible kinship in Sicily. Critique of Anthropology 36(2): 115-131

2016 Solidarity: The egalitarian tensions of a bridge-concept. Introduction to the special issue The other side of crisis: Solidarity networks in Greece”, eds. Cabot, H. and T. Rakopoulos. Social Anthropology 24(2): 142-151.

2015 Solidarity's tensions: Informality and sociality in the Greek crisis. Social Analysis 59(3): 85-104.

2015 Which community for cooperatives: Peasant mobilisations, Mafia and the problem of community participation in Sicilian co-ops. Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 71: 57-80.

2014 Cooperative modulations: The antimafia movement and struggles over land and cooperativism in eight Sicilian municipalities. Journal of Modern Italian Studies 19(1): 15-33.

2014 The crisis seen from below, within and against: From solidarity economy to food distribution cooperatives in Greece. Dialectical Anthropology 38: 189-207.

2014 Resonance of solidarity: Anti-middleman food distribution in anti-austerity Greece. Journal of Modern Greek Studies 32(2): 95-119.

2013 Responding to the crisis: Food cooperatives and the solidarity economy in Greece. Anthropology Southern Africa 36(3&4): 102-107.

Book chapters

2018 Introduction: Austerity, measured. In The Global Life of Austerity. Edited by Rakopoulos, T. London and New York: Berghahn. Critical Interventions series. pp 1-16.

2018 70% Zapatista?: Labour’s value, valuation and evaluation in cooperatives. In: Food Values. Edited by Krista Harper and Siniscalchi, Valeria. London: Bloomsbury Academic. (forth.)

2018 The future of Solidarity: Food cooperativism as labour. In: Critical Times in Greece: Anthropological engagements with the crisis. Edited by Dimitris Dalakoglou and Agelopoulos, Giorgos. London: Routledge, pp. 202-217. 

2015 On Blasphemy: The paradoxes of mocking and protecting God. In The Event of Charlie Hebdo: Imaginaries of freedom and control. Edited by Alessandro Zagato. London and New York: Critical Interventions, Berghahn, pp. 83-92.

2015 The solidarity economy in the Greek crisis: Movementality, economic democracy and social reproduction. In 'Economy for and against Democracy'. Edited by Keith Hart. London and New York: Berghahn, pp. 161-181.

2013 Food activism and antimafia cooperatives in contemporary Sicily. In 'Food Activism: Agency, Democracy and Economy'. Edited by Valeria Siniscalchi and Counihan, Caroline. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 123-42.

Review essays (selected)

2016 On crisis and resistance: Exception, neoliberalism and two voices in the Left. Review essay for: “The age of resistance”, by C. Douzinas and “Crucible of resistance: Greece, the eurozone and the world economic crisis”, by Christos Laskos and Tsakalotos, Euclid. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice 60(1): 133-141.

2016 The poetics of diaspora: Greek US voices. Review essay. Journal of Modern Greek Studies 34(1): 159-165.

2016 The “anti-middleman” informal cooperatives of Greece. Global Dialogue: Newsletter for the international Sociological Association, 6(1).

2015 Solidarity, ethnography and the de-instituting of dissent. Occasional Papers, 6. Journal of Modern Greek Studies

Articles in languages other than English (selected)

2017 “Approaching” Sorras: “Conspiracy theories” and the social sciences. Sychrona Themata 136: 24-27. (in Greek)

2015 Responses to crisis: Food cooperativism in Greece. Mosim and Salim 6: 74-93 (in Korean).

2015 Grecia: Al de la de la excepcion y entras solidaridad. Abaco, 83/84: 114-120. (In Spanish).

2014 The informal solidarity economy in the hidden welfare of the crisis. Sychrona Themata 124: 16-24. (In Greek).

2012 The land as a right: community, confiscations and neighbourliness in the case of the ‘antimafia cooperatives’ of Sicily. Sychrona Themata 116: 41-50. (In Greek).

  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2018). Introduction: Austerity, Measured, In Theodoros Rakopoulos (ed.),  The Global Life of Austerity:Comparing Beyond Europe.  Berghahn Books.  ISBN 978-1-78533-870-0.  Chapter 1.  s 1 - 16
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros & Rio, Knut (2018). Introduction to an anthropology of wealth. History and Anthropology.  ISSN 0275-7206.  29(3), s 275- 292 . doi: Show summary
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros & Rio, Knut (2018). Reimagining Wealth: Anthropological Explorations. History and Anthropology.  ISSN 0275-7206.  29(3), s 275- 406 Show summary
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). Antimafia families: Cooperative work and flexible kinship in Sicily. Critique of Anthropology.  ISSN 0308-275X.  37(2), s 115–131- 131 . doi: 10.1177/0308275X17694942
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). “Approaching” Sorras: “Conspiracy theories” and the social sciences. Sychrona Themata.  ISSN 1105-431X.  136, s 24- 27
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). Façade Egalitarianism? Mafia and Cooperative in Sicily. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review.  ISSN 1081-6976.  40(1), s 104- 121 . doi: 10.1111/plar.12207
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). The Future of Solidarity: Food Cooperativism as Labour in Greece, In Dimitris Dalakoglou & Georgios Agelopoulos (ed.),  Critical Times in Greece:Anthropological Engagements with the Crisis.  Routledge.  ISBN 9781138237773.  Part IV: Confronting Crisis.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). On Crisis and Resistance. Review essay for: “The Age of Resistance”, by C. Douzinas and “Crucible of Resistance: Greece, the Eurozone and the World Economic Crisis”, by Laskos, C. and E. Tsakalotos.. Social Analysis: Journal of Cultural and Social Practice.  ISSN 0155-977X.  60(1), s 133- 141
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). Responses to Crisis: Food Cooperativism in Greece. Mosim and Salim.  6, s 74- 93
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). Solidarity: The egalitarian tensions of a bridge-concept. Social Anthropology.  ISSN 0964-0282.  24(2), s 142- 151 . doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12298
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). The poetics of diaspora: Greek US voices.. Journal of modern Greek studies (Print).  ISSN 0738-1727.  34(1), s 159- 165
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). On Blasphemy: The Paradoxes of Protecting and Mocking God, In Alessandro Zagato (ed.),  The Event of Charlie Hebdo. Imaginaries of Freedom and Control.  Berghahn Books.  ISBN 978-1-78533-075-9.  Kapittel.  s 83 - 92
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). Solidarity’s tensions: Informality, sociality, and the greek crisis. Social Analysis: Journal of Cultural and Social Practice.  ISSN 0155-977X.  59(3), s 85- 104 . doi: 10.3167/sa.2015.590305
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). Tensions That Matter: Informality and Sociality in the Greek Crisis’ Solidarity Economy.. Social Analysis: Journal of Cultural and Social Practice.  ISSN 0155-977X.  59(2)
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). Which community for cooperatives? Peasant mobilizations, the Mafia, and the problem of community participation in Sicilian co-ops. Focaal: journal of global and historical anthropology.  ISSN 0920-1297.  2015(71), s 57- 70 . doi: 10.3167/fcl.2015.710106 Full text in Research Archive.

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  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (ed.) (2018). The Global Life of Austerity:Comparing Beyond Europe. Berghahn Books.  ISBN 978-1-78533-870-0.  149 s.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). From Clans to Co-ops: Confiscated Mafia Land in Sicily. Berghahn Books.  ISBN 978-1-78533-400-9.  236 s. Full text in Research Archive.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). The Solidarity Economy in the Greek Crisis: Movementality, economic democracy and social reproduction. Berghahn Books.  ISBN 978-1-78238-844-9.  20 s.

View all works in Cristin

  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). Reversing the world: Austerity from the anthropological point of view.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). “Show me the money”: Conspiracy theories and wealth.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2017). The commons and solidarity economies: Meanings in crises.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). “70% Zapatista!: Food activism in crisis”. Invited seminar, LAIOS, EHESS, Paris..
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). “Accidental’ effects and continual crisis: Engaging with austerity across social and historical lines”.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). “Co-Depending on your word: Dual personhood and mafia betrayal.” (In)Dependence Workshop, University of Oslo..
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). “Mafia land grabbing in Sicily: Gendered genealogies of property”..
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). Review for Knight, D., History, time and economic crisis in Greece, Palgrave (2015).. Anthropological Quarterly.  ISSN 0003-5491.  88(3), s 1025- 1028
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). The Anti-Middleman Movement in Greece. Global Dialogue: Newsletter for the international Sociological Association.  6(1)
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2016). “What are we talking about when we talk about the Mafia? Futures of a contested term,” Panel co-organized (with N. Ben-Yehoyada, University of Cambridge).
  • Bertelsen, Bjørn Enge; Rio, Knut; Rakopoulos, Theodoros; Korsbrekke, Mari Hanssen; Styve, Maria Dyveke; Hjortsberg, Jacob; Zagato, Alessandro & Rudi, Axel (2015). "In the Event: A Mancunian Transplant in Bergen". Collective paper presented in the Department of social anthropology's seminar series. Chaired by Edvard Hviding. 23 April 2015. Show summary
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). 2015. The future lasts a long time…or is it here already? The Left in power in Greece.. Focaalblog.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). “Another take on markets: the solidarity impromptu urban takeovers in the Greek crisis”..
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). Between event and ritual: the SYRIZA elections in Greece. Egalitarianism.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). ‘Exception’, solidarity, and conferral politics: crossroads of the ‘Greek’ crisis.. Allegra.
  • Rakopoulos, Theodoros (2015). Review for the book “Arts of the political: new openings for the Left”, by Ash Amin and Thrift, Nigel. Critique of Anthropology.  ISSN 0308-275X.  34(2)

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Published Feb. 2, 2017 10:39 AM - Last modified Oct. 12, 2018 10:07 AM