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Vita Peacock

Vita Peacock Email:

ESRC Future Research Leaders Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2016)

Research Interests

  • Europe
  • Hierarchy
  • Organistations
  • Politics and protest
  • Digital mediation and the public sphere
  • Historical and philosophical anthropology

Research Project

I am currently researching anti-austerity activism in its various forms across the UK, in this particular historical moment which will end (or at least be reconfigured) after the next general election of 2015. One of my thematic interests is the rise of ‘spectacular dissent’, a genre of activism which views the media as a conduit for political effect. Aside from the traditional avenues of the fourth estate, this of course includes social media, giving rise to what I call the ‘digi-politic’. Invoking the medieval notion of the ‘body-politic’, this is the contemporary situation in which the digital is not simply a technology of near-instant communication, but has become the very foundation of a new social and moral order. To reverse Deleuze and Guattari’s famous image, it is the ‘organs without a body’.

As with my doctoral thesis, which sought to explicate the hierarchical organisation of Germany’s Max Planck Society through its various historical antecedents, I am also committed to situating such 21st century activism within a much longer history of British political dissent and political thought.

I also administer the Research Reading Group ‘The Art of the Political’: exploring the ‘artistic turn’ in contemporary activism and open to anyone in or outside UCL somehow engaged with this theme.


2013 ‘Agency and the Anstoß: Max Planck Directors as Fichtean Subjects’, Special Issue on the Study of Organisations (ed. V. Peacock), Anthropology in Action, 20:2, pp. 6-16.

2013 (with Philip Kao) ‘Introduction: Transcending Structure-Agency in the Study of Organisations’, Special Issue on the Study of Organisations (ed. V. Peacock), Anthropology in Action, 20:2, pp. 1-5.

2012: 'The protest ethic and the spirit of capitalism', UCL Department of Anthropology Newsletter, Anthronews 6: Summer 2012

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