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Research at St Andrews

Mattia Fumanti


Mattia Fumanti
Postal address:
School of Philosophical
Anthropological & Film Studies
Edgecliffe, 5 The Scores
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 462990

Research overview

I conducted ethnographic research in Rundu, a middle-range town in northern Namibia since 1999. In the course of several visits, I explored processes of elite formation and the making of a moral public space in the context of a booming town. Further, I consider how the Rundu research begins to fill a major gap in the literature on the much neglected topic of middle-range towns in Africa, and particularly on their youth and upwardly mobile elites. Over the years one of my interests has been to explore the role of popular culture in the process of youthful self-making and its role in the creation of alternatives and competing notions of modernity.

Most recently, my research responds to the growing recognition of the significant presence of African migrants in Britain. The ESRC-funded project ‘New African Migrants in the Gateway City: Ethnicity, Religion, Citizenship’, directed by Professor Pnina Werbner, in which I was the main researcher, aimed to understand the role of the African diaspora in civil society and of African churches in particular in the making of a British multicultural public sphere. The research illuminates African ethnicity as it is currently evolving in contemporary Britain, with particular emphasis on the incorporative role of churches and religious identities in creating the ground for active citizenship. In the course of the research I explored the centrality of church networks in mediating civil society and the role of family, gender and ongoing transnational relations among a group of first generation Ghanaian Methodists. As hypothesised, for Ghanaian Methodists in London, citizenship is mediated by the church. Part of this research aimed to explore the significance of transnational and religious networks between Ghana and the diaspora. For this reason in 2007 I conducted ethnographic research in Kumasi and Accra among different generations of Methodists. 

Research overview

Regional focus: Namibia, Ghana and African Diaspora in Britain, London. Topical interests include postcolonial studies, the state, citizenship, governance, elites and education, youth and popular culture, masculinities and femininities, morality, civil society and public spaces, religion, diaspora and transnationalism. 

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