UCL Anthropology


Aleksi Knuutila

Aleksi Knuutila

Email: a.knuutila.11@ucl.ac.uk

Year of start: 2011

Research Topic/Provisional Dissertation Title:

Intimacy, agency and social change: An ethnography of active participants in an inner-city community development programme in Austin, Texas


As part of the Digital Anthropology programme, my doctoral work explores local conceptions of the social order and people's agency within it through fieldwork conducted with community development activists in Austin, Texas. My ethnography focused on the participants efforts to relocate to a deprived neighbourhood, to influence local governance structures to the favour of inhabitants and to develop interpersonal relationships that span social boundaries. These efforts are understood to be not only an expression of values but generative of a social imaginary. My thesis aims to contribute to thinking about effective structures for participation in civic programmes through an analysis of the role that internal organisation, personal experiences as well as interaction and intimacy play in effective participation in civic programmes.

Research interests

  • Conceptions of social and economic reality
  • Use of digital tools in civic engagement
  • Anthropological study of social change andpolitical participation
  • Intimacy and interpersonal mutuality
  • Anthropology of ethics and normative practice


Daniel Miller
Charles Stewart

Academic Background/Education

Bachelor of Social Science in Sociology at University of Helsinki, 2006
Master of Science in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy at Oxford University, 2008


Nuoren tutkijan apuraha from Kone Foundation, 2012