Daniel Miller: “A Comparative Anthropology of the New Middle Age”

Welcome to a departmental seminar featuring Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology at University College London.

After the seminar, coffee and snacks are served in our lunch room. The event is open to all, no registration required.

Atttention: The Faculty of Social Sciences has invited Professor Miller for the Autumn 2017 Eilert Sundt lecture on 21 November. 

Copyright: UCL London


Almost all studies of the anthropology of age and ageing focus either upon those designated as young or as old. In this talk I suggest that we may gain more insights into the cultural experience of ageing by focusing upon those who are neither. Traditional ideas of ageing are derived from a lifespan of `three score and ten’ (70) and still today in vast populations, such as China, people expect to retire in their 50s. But a child born today in Norway may be expected to live to nearly 100. I will outline a plan for 12 simultaneous comparative 15 month ethnographies that will examine how different societies are starting to respond to these changes and the contribution that anthropology might make to ensure the cultural and social sensitivities of practical interventions, such as the rise of mobile health apps. In doing so I want to challenge two things: first the relationship between anthropology and nostalgia and secondly the current practice of applied anthropology.

Research profile

Professor Daniel Miller was originally trained in anthropology and archaeology at the University of Cambridge but has spent his entire professional life at the Department of Anthropology at the University College London which has become a research center for the study of material culture and where more recently, he established the world's first programme dedicated to the study of digital anthropology.  

Currently Professor Miller directs the ERC-funded project “The Anthropology of Smartphones and Smart Ageing”. His prior ERC-funded project “Why We Post”, investigated the uses and consequences of social media world-wide. The results of this project includes amongst 12 Open access volumes, a free online course and a website with 100 films and stories from the field sites.

Published Aug. 2, 2017 10:02 AM - Last modified Nov. 13, 2017 2:33 PM