Felix Stein

Image of Felix Stein
Norwegian version of this page
Mobile phone +33 682672837
Visiting address Sandakerveien 130 Bygg 2 0484 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1116 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Academic interests

  • Economic anthropology
  • Global health as part of development theory 
  • Research methods
  • Geographical focus: Latin America and Western Europe

My research is concerned with the intersection of economics and global health. This intersection is particularly fascinating since it is where the values and logics of markets meet alternative values and logics derived from human dignity.

At UiO I will draw on my past research on development, economics and pandemic preparedness to work with the Global Health Politics research group. Here I will study how public-private cooperation for pandemic preparedness works in the field of COVID-19 vaccine financing. In doing this, I am interested in developing mixed research methods.

For my PhD at the University of Cambridge I studied the working lives of German management consultants, who were mostly operating in the fields of healthcare and finance. I published a book about their work, entitled “Work sleep repeat”, arguing that much of what consultants do can be explained with reference to the abstract nature of their labour. The book won the LSE Monographs/2016 Bloomsbury First Book Competition and it includes chapters on power, epistemology, commodification, temporality, uncertainty and critique. 

During a first year of postdoctoral research in the UK I studied what we mean by “impact”, a question that both consultants and UK academics were very concerned with. Both groups of people need to ensure, measure and prove the impact of their work, either to the clients who hire them or to government administrators who control their budgets. The question of what impact may be continues to matter in my current writing on global health.

Subsequently, I spent three years living between Edinburgh and Port-au-Prince, to learn about the fight against cholera in Haiti and the role of the World Bank within that. I will publish some of the material from this time while at the University of Oslo. 

When COVID-19 struck in early 2020, I spent another six months at the University of Edinburgh, to work for the TIBA research programme, where I investigated how SARS-CoV-2 affects Sub-Saharan Africa, and what international aid agencies do to control the pandemic.


I hold an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and an MPhil and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge (2016). I spent one year as postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (2016-2017). Thereafter, I joined the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh for three years (2017-2019) as part of a Global Health Governance research project, led by Prof. Devi Sridhar and funded by the Wellcome Trust. In 2020 I spent 6 months with the TIBA research programme at the University of Edinburgh before moving to the Centre University of Oslo.

Since 2019 I have been Affiliated Lecturer at the Social Anthropology Department at the University of Cambridge. There, I serve as the managing editor of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology, an open-access encyclopedia that I had co-founded as a PhD student.


  • 2019 Usher Institute Recognition Award “For Excellence in External Engagement and creating a respectful, inclusive working environment”.

  • 2016 Winner of the LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology/Bloomsbury First Book Competition.

  • 2015 Winner of ‘Best Graduate Essay in Political and Legal Anthropology’, by the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology.


I have taught Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (2014-2016) and the Université d’État d’Haïti (2019). I have also given lectures on Global Health at the University of Edinburgh (2017-2019), and been a guest lecturer on political economy at the University of Warwick (2015).


Tags: Global health, anthropology, governance, Global South, finance, economics, pandemics



Stein, F., Work, sleep, repeat. The Abstract Labour of German Management Consultants. London School of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology. Bloomsbury: London. (2017)

Stein F. et al. (eds.) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology. On-line at: www.anthroencyclopedia.com. (2017)

Peer reviewed articles & book chapters

Stein F (forthcoming 2020). ‘Blinded by the slide: Ignorance and the commodification of services’. Critique of Anthropology.

Stein, F., M. Perry, G. Banda, M. Woolhouse, and F. Mutapi 2020 "Oxygen Provision in Sub-Saharan Africa to Fight Covid-19" BMJ Global Health 5:e002786.

Stein, F. & D. Sridhar. ‘Back to the future? Health and the World Bank’s Human Capital Index’. The British Medical Journal. 367: 15706. (2019)

Stein F. 'Research directions on states and markets'. In Research Agenda in Economic Anthropology (ed) J. Carrier: 25-39. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, UK. (2019)

Stein, F. 'Selling speed - management consultants, acceleration and temporal angst'. PolAR - The Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 40(S1): 103-1017. (2018)

Stein, F. & D. Sridhar. 2018. 'The financialisation of global health'. Wellcome Open Research 3(17): 1-4.

Stein, F. 2018 'Boundary work – power and liminality in management consulting'. In New Directions in Elite Studies. (eds) Korsnes Olaf, Johan Heilbron, Felix Bühlmann and Mike Savage: 280-296. Routledge: London.

Stein, F. 2017. 'Anthropology’s “impact” – a comment on audit and the unmeasurable nature of critique'. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 24(1): 10-29.

Stein, F. & D. Sridhar 2017 'Health as ‘global public good’: Creating a market for pandemic risk?'. The British Medical Journal.358: j3397.

Eriksen, T. H. and F. Stein 2017 'Anthropology as counter-culture: an interview with Thomas Hylland Eriksen'Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23(1): 233-238.

Stein, F. 2016 '"Anthropology needs to go mainstream" - An interview with Gillian Tett'. Anthropology Today 32(6): 27-29.

Helfrich, S. and F. Stein 2011 'Was sind Gemeingüter? [What are common goods?]'. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 61: 9-15.

Book reviews

Stein, F. 2019. ‘Neoliberalism from Below: Popular Pragmatics and Baroque Economies. Verónica Gago. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017, 288 pp., $25.95, paper. ISBN 978-0-8223-6912-7.’ Journal of Anthropological Research.

Stein, F. 2017 'Stephen Gudeman, Anthropology and Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 233, 2016.’. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 35(1): 147-148.

Stein, F. 2016 'James, Deborah. 2015. Money from nothing. Indebtedness and aspiration in South Africa. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 304pp. Pb.: US$25.95. ISBN: 9780804792677.’ Social Anthropology 24(1): 123-124.

Policy reports

TIBA COVID-19 Pandemic Response Unit. 2020 Data sources for national COVID-19 responses in WHO Africa Region [Oversaw the production of the section entitled ‘Brief summary of COVID-19 testing data in the WHO Africa region’].

Stein, F., M. Perry, G. Banda, M. Woolhouse, F. Mutapi. 2020. Oxygen provision in Sub-Saharan Africa to fight COVID-19. Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA) Bulletin. 1-9.

Selected public writing

Stein, F. 2018 Editing Wikipedia as part of teaching public health?.globalhealthgovernance.org

Stein, F. 2018 'UK universities under siege'. Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Review: Politicalandlegalanthro.org.

Stein, F. 2018 ‘Human Capital and Global Health’. globalhealthgovernance.org

Stark, F. 2018 'Die Welt ist nie so profitabel wie sie sein könnte [The world is never as profitable as it could be]'. Tonic: Das Magazin für *.

Stein F & D. Sridhar 2017 ‘The World Bank reinvents itself – and puts poverty reduction at risk’. The Conversation.

Stein, F. 2017 ‘The World Bank’s new pandemic insurance: A wise use of donor money?globalhealthgovernance.org

Stein, F. 2017 'So, what is the World Bank's business model?'. globalhealthgovernance.org

Stein, F. 2017 'On the equal validity of methods in Global Health research'. globalhealthgovernance.org

Stein, F. 2017 '“Post-truth” and the social sciences'globalhealthgovernance.org 

Stein, F. 2016 'Anthropology, Brexit and Xenophobia in Europe'. Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Review: Politicalandlegalanthro.org (reprint in Allegralab).

Published Sep. 28, 2020 2:33 PM - Last modified May 26, 2021 11:55 AM