Anthony Pickles


Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge

At the moment my time is shared between preparing publications based on my original research and embarking on a new research frontier. My first research project is on money and value as it is manipulated and redefined in the process of transactions. I envision a theory of economy that factors in the conscious recognition of value manipulation that is part of Melanesian trade and exchange. The primary vehicle I use to examine this is through gambling, an introduced but wildly popular activity that forefronts monetary value and hones peoples manipulatory skills in daily life. I have also written on the reimagining of other one-time-exogenous economic materials, practices or terms.

My new research project traces the history of the adoption of gambling across Papua New Guinea and parts of Melanesia from the late Nineteenth Century to the present, examining the myriad adaptations and innovations. I use these as an axis for the comparison of peoples’ economies and the kinds of inventiveness and creativity that are valued, as well as conceptualising a means of making comparisons that do not hark back to an assumed pre-contact stability.

​Research Interests: Gambling, money, cards, slot machines, pockets, economic anthropology, history of anthropology, Melanesia, leadership, comparison, change.

For further information, please see Dr Pickle's faculty website.