Dr Jason Hickel

Staff details

Position Lecturer
Department Anthropology
Email j.hickel (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Jason Hickel

Dr Jason Hickel specializes in development, finance, democracy, violence, and global political economy. His most recent book, "The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions" (Penguin 2017) explores why the income gap between North and South has grown so dramatically since the 1980s. The book argues that the global economy has been organized, from the onset of colonialism to the modern trade system, in a way that benefits a handful of rich nations at the expense of most of the rest of the world.

Jason's ethnographic research focuses on politics in South Africa. His first book "Democracy as Death: The Moral Order of Anti-Liberal Politics in South Africa" (University of California Press, 2015) looks at why many migrant workers from rural Zululand regard certain liberal elements of democracy as morally repulsive and socially destructive. It argues that this trend can only be understood with reference to popular conceptions of collective well-being and healing that hinge on the hierarchical order of domestic space in rural areas.

Jason's present ethnographic work looks at how the South African Reserve Bank manages monetary through public communication that masks the political and distributional entailments of changes in the value of money. The research also explores growing political conflict between the ANC government and an emergent left movement over interest rates and foreign capital flows - a conflict that hinges on competing conceptions of democracy and sovereignty.

In addition to his academic research, Jason writes regularly for The Guardian and Al Jazeera, and contributes to a number of other online outlets. He sits on the board of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP) and is a founding member of /The Rules.


Jason is convening the MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics.

In the past he has taught courses on development, labour, globalization, economics, and Africa. He has received five teaching awards for his work in the classroom, and in 2013 won the ASA/HEA National Award for Excellence in Teaching Anthropology.

Research Interests

Jason completed his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Virginia. His dissertation work was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation. He moved to Britain in 2011 for a postdoctoral fellowship at the London School of Economics, and from 2014-2017 he held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the LSE.



Hickel, Jason. 2017. The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions. London: Penguin Random House UK. ISBN 978-1785151125

Hickel, Jason. 2015. Democracy as Death: The Moral Order of Anti-Liberal Politics in South Africa. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520284234

Edited Book

Hickel, Jason and Healy, Meghan, eds. 2014. Ekhaya: The Politics of Home in KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. ISBN 9781869142544

Book Section

Hickel, Jason. 2017. Afterword (On the Imperative of Deschooling Society). In: , ed. The Other Hundred Educators. OneWorld, pp. 211-213. ISBN 9781786070784

Kirk, Martin; Hickel, Jason and Brewer, Joe. 2017. All Change or No Change? Culture, Power, and Activism in an Unquiet World. In: Nick Buxton and Deborah Eade, eds. State of Power 2017. Transnational Institute.

Hickel, Jason. 2017. International Development. In: , ed. 2017 Election Manifesto Poverty Audit. London: Academics Stand Against Poverty.

Hickel, Jason. 2017. Addressing the Structural Drivers of World Suffering. In: Ronald Anderson, ed. Alleviating World Suffering: The Challenge of Negative Quality of Life. Cham: Springer, pp. 199-215. ISBN 978-3-319-51391-1

Hickel, Jason. 2016. Neoliberalism and the End of Democracy. In: Simon Springer; Kean Birch and Julie MacLeavy, eds. The Handbook of Neoliberalism. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138844001

Hickel, Jason. 2016. The Contradictions of Economic Growth in an Era of Ecological Limits. In: , ed. Engineering a Better World. London: Royal Academy of Engineering.

Hickel, Jason and Ladha, Alnoor. 2016. The Age of Inequality: Causes, Discontents, and a Radical Way Forward. In: Chris Oestereich, ed. What Do We Do about Inequality? The Journal Review Foundation. ISBN 978-1530305421

Hickel, Jason. 2015. Beyond Aid. In: , ed. 2015 Political Manifesto Poverty Audit: The Flourishing Life Narrative. London: Academics Stand Against Poverty, pp. 50-52.

Hickel, Jason. 2014. Aid in Reverse: How Poor Countries Develop Rich Countries. In: Andy Sumner and Tom Kirk, eds. The Donors’ Dilemma: Emergence, Convergence, and the Future of Aid. London: Global Policy. ISBN 9781310031625

Hickel, Jason. 2014. Engineering the Township Home: Domestic Transformations and Urban Revolutionary Consciousness. In: Meghan Healy and Jason Hickel, eds. Ekhaya: The Politics of Home in KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg: KwaZulu-Natal Press. ISBN 9781869142544

Hickel, Jason and Healy, Meghan. 2014. On the Politics of Home. In: Meghan Healy and Jason Hickel, eds. Ekhaya: The Politics of Home in KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg: KwaZulu-Natal Press. ISBN 9781869142544

Hickel, Jason. 2012. Constituting the Commons: Oil and Development in Post-Independence South Sudan. In: Karl Widerquist and Michael Howard, eds. Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for Reform Around the World. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 9781137006592


Hickel, Jason. 2017. Is Global Inequality Getting Better or Worse?: A Critique of the World Bank’s Convergence Narrative. Third World Quarterly, 38(10), pp. 2208-2222. ISSN 0143-6597

Hickel, Jason. 2017. The Development Delusion: Foreign Aid and Inequality. American Affairs, 1(3), pp. 160-173. ISSN 2475-8809

Hickel, Jason and Haynes, Naomi. 2016. Hierarchy, Value, and the Value of Hierarchy. Social Analysis, 60(4), pp. 1-20. ISSN 0155-977X

Hickel, Jason. 2016. The True Extent of Global Poverty and Hunger: Questioning the Good-News Narrative of the Millennium Development Goals. Third World Quarterly, 37(5), pp. 749-767. ISSN 0143-6597

Hickel, Jason. 2014. ’The Girl Effect’: Liberalism, Empowerment, and the Contradictions of Development. Third World Quarterly, 35(8), pp. 1355-1373. ISSN 0143-6597

Hickel, Jason. 2014. ’Xenophobia’ in South Africa: Order, Chaos, and the Moral Economy of Witchcraft. Cultural Anthropology, 29(1), pp. 103-127. ISSN 0886-7356

Hickel, Jason. 2013. The ‘Real Experience’ Industry: Student Development Projects and the Depoliticization of Poverty. Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences, 6(2), pp. 11-32. ISSN 1755-2273

Hickel, Jason. 2012. Subaltern Consciousness in South Africa’s Labor Movement: ‘Workerism’ in the KwaZulu-Natal Sugar Industry. South African Historical Journal, 64(3), pp. 664-684. ISSN 0258-2473

Hickel, Jason. 2012. Social Engineering and Revolutionary Consciousness: Domestic Transformations in Colonial South Africa. History and Anthropology, 23(3), pp. 301-322. ISSN 0275-7206

Hickel, Jason. 2012. Neoliberal Plague: The Political Economy of HIV Transmission in Swaziland. Journal of Southern African Studies, 38(3), pp. 513-529. ISSN 0305-7070

Hickel, Jason and Khan, Arsalan. 2012. The Culture of Capitalism and the Crisis of Critique. Anthropological Quarterly, 85(1), pp. 203-227. ISSN 0003-5491

Hickel, Jason. 2012. Liberalism and the Politics of Occupy Wall Street. Anthropology of This Century, 4, ISSN 2047-6345

Hickel, Jason. 2009. Not So Sweet History of Sugar Unions in South Africa. South African Labour Bulletin, 33(3), ISSN 0377-5429

Arnold, Robert; Gionet, Elisha; Hickel, Jason; Owen, Michael and Armitage, M Diane. 2004. Duration and Effect of Single-Dose Atropine. Binocular Vision and Strabismus Quarterly, 19(2), pp. 81-86. ISSN 1088-6281