Can't publish and be damned


  • Daniel Miller University College London



A premise of academic anthropology is that we work within a structure that enables the best anthropologists producing the most scholarly and important research to make that work available to the community of anthropologists. We can therefore assume that published academic research exists to a degree commensurate with its quality. This premise is false. I believe it remains slightly more true of academic publishing in the UK than in some other countries, for example the US, but it is still false. The reason is that the forces and interests that represent the structures of publishing do not exist for the sole purpose of fulfilling this premise of academic authority. They have other interests and agendas that may not coincide with that ideal. And yet we continue to work as though there was no such discrepancy between theory and practice. This self-delusion has become increasingly problematic.

Author Biography

Daniel Miller, University College London

Daniel Miller is Professor of Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University College London. His most recent books are Ed, Materiality (Duke University Press 2005) and Ed with S. K├╝chler. Clothing as Material Culture (Berg 2005). He is currently working on three collaborative projects: mobile phones and poverty in Jamaica, Slovak au pairs in London, and memory and loss in South London.