Dr Tijo Salverda


     Ph.D. Anthropology (VU University Amsterdam)

     M.A. History (Erasmus University Rotterdam)



Tijo was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Economy Programme 2012. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Tijo’s interests lie especially in the study of elites and power. His PhD research (completed in 2010), titled Sugar, Sea and Power: how Franco-Mauritians balance continuity and creeping decline of their elites position, focused on the white elite of Mauritius, the Franco-Mauritians. Contrary to the widespread belief that elites use their power expansively, Tijo’s research shows that elites often use their power defensively. They react and defend their position, instead of actively attempting to increase their power base. This puts the position of elites and their uses of power in a different perspective. Subsequently, Tijo studied globally operating financial elites from an anthropological perspective in order to better understand how their practices and operations are shaped by internal elite cultures, socialisation patterns, perceptions and narratives. He also held several teaching positions at, among others, the University of Amsterdam.

In the context of the Human Economy Project Tijo will look at investors, decision-makers and other powerful actors involved in large-scale land investments. From the UN, the World Bank to the academic world and the media, issues of land acquisitions and agricultural investments have received much attention over the last years. Yet unfortunately the powerful actors seem to be underrepresented in these studies; most focus on the consequences for the local poor, nevertheless often making claims about the investors. To more fully grasp the dynamics within the investment chain, and the decision-making involved in land acquisitions, Tijo seeks to obtain a better in-depth understanding of the perceptions, practices, discourses and power-relations of the initiators, decision-makers and financiers within the land investment chain, both within the southern African region and more globally.


Some of Tijo’s recent publications include:

Salverda, Tijo and Erella Grassiani (eds). 2014 . Introduction. Special issue ‘Anxiety at the Top’, Comparative Sociology 13 (1): 1-11.

Salverda, Tijo and Iain Hay. 2013. Change, anxiety and exclusion in the postcolonial reconfiguration of Franco-Mauritian elite geographies. The Geographical Journal doi: 10.1111/geoj.12041

Salverda, Tijo. 2013. Balancing Redistribution: Franco-Mauritians Landownership in the Maintenance of an Elite Position. Journal of Contemporary African Studies 31 (1): 503-521.404.

Abbink, Jon and Tijo Salverda (eds). The anthropology of elites: power, culture and the complexities of distinction, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Salverda, Tijo. 2011. Embodied signs of elite distinction: Franco-Mauritians’ white skin colour in the face of change. Comparative Sociology 10 (4): 548-570.

Salverda, Tijo. 2010. Elite power: in defence. Journal of (Political) Power 3 (3): 385-Abbink, Jon and Tijo Salverda (eds). The anthropology of elites: power, culture and the complexities of distinction, Basingstoke: Palgrave.


Copyright © University of Pretoria 2019. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share