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Sharing among hunter-gatherers and in the global sharing economy


The Department of Social and Cultural History invites for a public lecture with anthropologist Thomas Widlok (Cologne/Germany): "Sharing among African hunter-gatherers and in the global sharing economy".

There are high hopes that through sharing we may be able to solve two of the world’s most pressing problems: less inequality through improved redistribution and less ecological pressure through improved multiple usage of items and resources. In this lecture Thomas Widlok critically investigates some of the features of the so-called “sharing economy” by contrasting them with sharing as it is extensively practiced by many hunter-gatherers, e.g. in southern Africa where he has carried out long-term ethnographic field research. What distinguishes sharing from other forms of transfer such as gift-exchange, taxation or centralized redistribution? What are the prerequisites for sharing to operate successfully in a socio-economic environment that is dominated by commercial markets? The lecture presents ethnographic case material from southern Africa and urban Europe and invites for a comparative discussion of Arctic experiences.

Professor Thomas Widlok teaches anthropology at the University of Cologne in Germany where he also is spokesperson of the research area “Cultures and Societies in Transition”. He gained his PhD from the London School of Economics and has carried out field research among Khoisan-speaking people in southern Africa, in Aboriginal Australia and most recently in Europe. His most recent publications include a translated contribution in the volume “Hvad vi deler” (Aarhus University Press) and a monograph on “Anthropology and the Economy of Sharing” (Routledge).

  • When: 13 November 2019, at 18.30 - 20.30
  • Where: auditorium at Ilisimatusarfik

The lecture will be held in English.

There will be coffee and cake and time for questions and discussion.

Everyone is welcome.


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