Professor Victoria Goddard BSc PhD

Victoria has worked in the fields of economic and political anthropology, with an emphasis on gender and class.

Staff details

Professor Victoria Goddard BSc PhD


Emeritus Professor of Anthropology




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Professor Goddard has worked in the fields of economic and political anthropology, with a particular emphasis on gender and class. A critical perspective on work and labour links her early research on outwork, factories and families in Naples (Gender, Family and Work in Naples, Oxford: Berg, 1996) with her current work as part of an interdisciplinary team that is researching work, skills and models of development in the steel industry (MEDEA – Models and their effects on Development Paths). A very different perspective is explored through her current writing on the work of the political and the production of alternative publics in Argentina.

Completed MPhil/PhD Students:

  • Emma Felber, "From centre to margin: memory, mobility and social change in a Bolivian town"
  • Theodoros Rakopoulos, "Anti-mafia Livelihoods: production and social change around workers' cooperatives in Sicily"
  • Michael Paganopoulos, "Land of the Virgin: An ethnographic study of monastic life on Mount Athos"
  • Gerti Wilford, "Contested Memories: Divided and United in Berlin"

Publications and research outputs


Goddard, Victoria. 1996. Gender, Family and Work in Naples. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1859730393

Edited Book

Goddard, Victoria and Narotzky, Susana, eds. 2018. Work and Livelihoods. History, Ethnography and Models in Times of Crisis. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138813984

Goddard, Victoria and Narotzky, Susana, eds. 2015. Industry and Work in Contemporary Capitalism. Global models, local lives? Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138014640

Goddard, Victoria, ed. 2000. Gender, Agency and Social Change. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415228282

Edited Journal

Donner, Henrike and Goddard, Victoria, eds. 2023. Special Issue: Kinship and the Politics of Responsibility, Critique of Anthropology, 43(4). 0308-275X

Book Section

Goddard, Victoria. 2019. From ‘the people’ to ‘the citizens’: the possibilities and limitations of populist discourse in Argentina. In: Dimitrios Theodossopoulos and Bruce Kapferer, eds. Democracy's Paradox. Populism and its Contemporary Crisis. Oxford; New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781789201550

Goddard, Victoria. 2018. Debt, Vultures, and Austerity in Argentina. In: Theodoros Rakopoulos, ed. The Global Life of Austerity. Comparing Beyond Europe. 17 New York, Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 60-73. ISBN 9781785338700

Goddard, Victoria. 2018. Appropriate kinship, legitimate nationhood: shifting registers of gender and state. In: Tatjana Thelen and Erdmute Alber, eds. Reconnecting State and Kinship. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812249514


Donner, Henrike and Goddard, Victoria. 2023. Kinship and the Politics of Responsibility: An Introduction. Critique of Anthropology, 43(4), pp. 331-364. ISSN 0308-275X

Goddard, Victoria. 2020. Trabajo y la Buena Vida o Vida Digna. Reflexiones y Críticas desde un análisis feminista. Work and the Pursuit of a Good Life or a Life Worth Living/ Reflections from a Feminist Perspective. Quaderns de l’ ICA(35), pp. 5-22. ISSN 2385-4472

Goddard, Victoria A.. 2018. Discomforting ethnography and contentious biographies: the case of Argentina. Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 26(1), pp. 44-59. ISSN 0964-0282


Goddard, Victoria. 2000. The Virile Nation: gender and ethnicity in the construction of Argentinian Pasts. GARP4. Other. Goldsmiths Anthropology Research Papers., London, UK.

Research Interests

Professor Goddard has a long-standing interest in the study of gender, in particular with regard to work and activism. Her work on subcontracting in Naples and the questions arising regarding work and production at the boundaries of the formal and informal areas of the economy has a strong focus on gender and kinship, including household divisions of labour and the transmission of skills.

In the Neapolitan research she explored the relationships between families, households and networks in relation to the activities of outworkers, factory workers and small-scale enterprises in the shoe and garments industries ("Gender, Family and Work in Naples", 1996; ‘Genere, donna e lavoro a Napoli’ in ‘Cultura Popolare a Napoli e in Campania nel Novecento' (ed.) A. Signorelli in "Napoli e la Campania nel Novecento, Diario di un Secolo", 2003).

The themes of the Neapolitan research are central to the EU FP7 project that is coordinated by Professor Goddard. MEDEA ("Models and their Effects on Development Paths: an Ethnographic and Comparative Approach to Knowledge Transmission and Livelihood Strategies") focuses on the steel industry in four countries (Argentina, Brazil, Slovakia and Spain), tracing the trajectories of the industry in these four cases and providing ethnographic detail regarding the continuities and discontinuities of the experience of work, the transmission of skills and knowledge, as well as perceptions of security and insecurity in relation to the labour market.

This interdisciplinary project combines the theoretical and methodological approaches of anthropologists, sociologists, economists and mathematicians based in universities and research centres in Italy, Spain, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Brazil, to explore the effects of discursive and abstract models through qualitative analysis and computer simulation modelling.

A different approach to work is pursued in her current writing on informal politics in Argentina that focuses particularly on forms of action that emerged and developed in the context of human rights activism and the politics of memory (‘New beginnings between public and private: Arendt and ethnographies of activism’, in "Cultural Dynamics 2010", with Sophie Day; ‘Demonstrating resistance: politics and participation in the marches of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo’, in "Focaal", 2007) .

This interest feeds into and has been extended through her participation in an international research network on language and new technologies funded by the CNRS and coordinated by the University of Le Havre and the University of Rouen. This collaboration has encouraged an exploration of the uses of the internet as a site for the production of meaningful action (’Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me: the power of words in the making of a new public sphere’, in Foued Laroussi (ed.) "Code-switching. Languages in Conflict and Electronic Writings", 2011; ‘The paradoxes of belonging in the age of the internet. Time and feeling in cyberspace’, in Fabien Liénard and Sami Zlitni (eds) "La communication électronique: enjeux de langues" , 2011.

Professor Goddard has pursued research on learning and the acquisition of skills in both academic and non-academic environments. This research was carried out as part of an EU Leonardo project (with Mara Benetti, 'Donne ed Informatica - report teorico', Leonardo da Vinci programme (RTF format, download) on Women and Computer Science: Access to the Information Society and, with Dr Bonnie Vandesteeg, through research funded by the LSTN Centre for Learning and Teaching – Sociology, Anthropology and Politics and an HEA special subject area (C-SAP) and an HEA award for research on the transition from A level to University. 

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