Dr Theodoros Rakopoulos


     LLB (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) 

     M.A. International Relations (Goldsmiths)

     PhD Anthropology (Goldsmiths)



Dr Theodoros Rakopouloswas a postdoctoral fellow with the Human Economy Programme in 2013. Contact: [email protected].

Theo is a social anthropologist with a multidisciplinary background. He has also acquired titles (LLB and MA) in different fields: he studied Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Theo focuses on economic and political matters and most specifically the anthropology of cooperatives as institutions where claims and ideologies on market, state and civil society converge. His PhD thesis (Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London, 2012), was based on 18-month ethnographic fieldwork research and funded by Wingate and a Wenner-Gren fieldwork grant. It explores the social, political and economic relations constituted in relation to agrarian cooperatives that work land confiscated by the state from mafiosi owners in the Alto Belice valley, Sicily. The thesis argues that the state’s intervention entailed the promotion of values (‘legality’) and relationships antithetical to those obtained locally. Publications tha have come out of this thesis have explored issues such as the interaction of claims to community and the divisions of labour within co-ops, the categorisation of land property according to state views on kinship, food activism and the social hierarchies it informs and the idea of livelihoods and labour as an enduring pursuit of cooperativism in Italian history.

Building on such findings on politicised cooperatives, Theo’s main postdoctoral project at the Human Economy Programme explores the Greek crisis as a Maussian total fact, in the anthropological sense. The project is funded by a Wenner-Gren post-PhD grant. It focuses specifically on grassroots social economy initiatives in Athens, especially on informal or nascent consumer cooperatives, for the distribution of agrarian produce. These mobilise on the premise of ‘solidarity’ discourses, in the distribution of food that develop in the midst of the state debt crisis. The project’s specific objectives are to assess the relationship of new livelihood practices to the debt crisis and to, therefore, examine the importance, in these practices, of actors’ community allegiances, networks, and relations, investigate the political ideas and affiliations informing them and explore the meaning of ‘sovereign debt’ for these actors. A Polanyian tradition recently renewed can help update the concept of the moral economy in the light of data from European cooperativism. Publications coming out of this project examine the role of work and labour in the constitution of the solidarity economy, problematise the idea of 'exception' in relation to the Greek crisis, and illuminate the native idea of 'solidarity' overall.

Theodoros has written and published on legality, food activism, cooperatives, the solidarity economy and crisis. Outside academia, he has written extensively for journals in Greece on issues of politics and political economy. Finally, Theo has taught social anthropology (mainly economic and political anthropology) for 5 years in three different institutions. Some recent peer-reviewed publications include:



2015 (forthcoming). The Solidarity Economy in the Greek Crisis: Movementality, Economic Democracy and Social Reproduction. Invited contribution to ‘Economy for and against Democracy’. Edited by Keith Hart and Sharp, John. Berghahn, Human Economy Series, vol 2.

2014 (January). Cooperative Modulations: The Antimafia Movement and Struggles over Land and Cooperativism in Eight Sicilian Municipalities. Journal of Modern Italian Studies 19(1): 15-33.

2014. The Informal Solidarity Economy and the Greek 'Submerged' Welfare. Synchrona Themata 124 (In Greek).

2014. The Crisis Seen from Below, Within and Against: From Solidarity Economy to Food Distribution Cooperatives in Greece. Dialectical Anthropology 38(2).

2014 (forthcoming). What Community for Cooperatives: Peasant Mobilisations, Mafia and the Problem of Community Participation in Sicilian Co-ops. Focaal 68.
2013. Food Activism and Antimafia Cooperatives in Contemporary Sicily. Invited contribution to 'Food Activism: Agency, Democracy and Economy'. Edited by Valeria Siniscalchi and Counihan, Caroline. Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 123-42.

2013. Responding to the Crisis: Food Cooperatives and the Solidarity Economy in Greece. Anthropology Southern Africa 36 (3&4): 102-197.

2012. The Land as a Right: Law, Community, Confiscations and Proximities in the Case of the ‘Antimafia Cooperatives’, Sicily. Synchrona Themata 116: 41-51 (in Greek).

2011. From the ‘Moral Question’ of the Communists to ‘Legalità’ of the NGOs: Transparency and Anti-mafia Rhetoric in Contemporary Italian activism. Re-Public, Contested Transparencies issue 11, at: http://www.republic.gr/en/?p=4260.



To be submitted 2014. The Vicissitudes of Solidarity: Cooperativism as Work and Social Change in Greece. Critique of Anthropology.

Special issue: “New Approaches to Work, New Meanings of Labour”. Critique of Anthropology. Co-edited with Elaine Forde (Goldsmiths).

2014. Why the Greek Crisis Matters: beyond the ‘Exceptionality’ Paradigm. In: Crisis Observatory, ELIAMEP: Athens.

2014 (forthcoming). Exploring the Invisible Aspects of the Political. Review for the book “Greek Paradoxes: Patronage, Civil Society and Violence”. Edited by Katerina Rozakou and Gara, Eleni, Alexandria: Athens, 2013. The Books Journal 42. (In Greek).

Last edited by Lena Gronbach

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