School of Social and Political Science

Dr Juli Huang

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology of Development

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Building (Address)

18 Buccleuch Place, Flat 3F1

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Research interests

Research interests

Topics interested in supervising

Social enterprise, technology and development, data (big and small), anthropology of money, alternative currencies, economic anthropology, International development, South Asia, Bangladesh, Iran.

If you are interested in being supervised by Juli Huang, please see the links below for more information:


I am an economic anthropologist whose research focuses on social enterprise and the use of new technologies, approaches to data and markets, and moral logics for money's circulation in the pursuit of social and environmental aims. I teach courses on the anthropology of international development and economic anthropology.

I am Founding Programme co-Director of the new MSc Data, Inequality & Society programme, part of the Edinburgh Futures Institute's 'Data Futures' portfolio.

As a British Academy / Wolfson Foundation Fellow (2022-25), I am conducting a comparative and interdisciplinary research project on the everyday data practices of social enterprises in Bangladesh and Scotland in collaboration with data scientists and social enterprise practitioners and policy makers.

Mary Michel (Ostrero), Tom Flint (Edinburgh Napier University), and I have developed an exploratory research project called Creative Cred, funded by Creative Horizons (AHRC). The project works with data and technology to design a special-purpose currency as an experimental collaborative research method for understanding how multiple societal and environmental values are expressed and circulated within the creative industries and how these can build a circular economy.



2020. To Be an Entrepreneur: Social Enterprise and Disruptive Development in Bangladesh. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2014 (2009) Tribeswomen of Iran: Weaving Memories among Qashqa’i Nomads. International Library of Iranian Studies, No. 15. London: I. B. Tauris. Latifeh Yarshater Award recipient for best book on women in Iran published in 2008 and 2009.

Peer-reviewed articles and chapters

n.d.  'Entrepreneurship as Struggle: Confronting Enduring Crises in Bangladesh' (with Grace Mueller, Paige Chisholm, Jacqui Bassett, and Hanna Geary). Under review.

2022 ‘Uncomfortable Comparisons: Anthropology, Development, and Mixed Feelings’ (with Katy Gardner). In How People Compare. Mathijs Pelkmans and Harry Walker, eds., p. 153-171. London: Routledge. (LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology).

2021 ‘A University Model of Social Finance: Reflections on the University of Edinburgh’s Social Investment Fund’ (with Dave Gorman). In Innovations in Social Finance, Thomas Walker, Jane McGaughey, Sherif Goubran, and Nadia Wagdy, eds., pp. 173-192. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

2021 ‘The Ambiguity of Mutuality: Discourse and Power in Corporate Value Regimes’ (with Catherine Dolan and Claire Gordon). Dialectical Anthropology 45(1): 9-27.

2020 ‘Transient Assemblages, Ephemeral Encounters, and the “Beautiful Story” of a Japanese Social Enterprise in Rural Bangladesh.’ Critique of Anthropology 40(1): 125-145.

2018 ‘Digital Aspirations: “Wrong-Number” Mobile-Phone Relationships and Experimental Ethics among Women Entrepreneurs in Rural Bangladesh.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 24(1): 107-125.

2017 ‘The Ambiguous Figures of Social Enterprise: Gendered Flexibility and Relational Work among the iAgents of Bangladesh.’ American Ethnologist 44(4): 603-616.

2011 ‘Risk and Resilience among Contemporary Pastoralists in Southwestern Iran’ (with Lois Beck). In Sustainable Lifeways: Cultural Persistence in an Ever-changing Environment. Naomi Miller et al., eds. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2006 ‘Integration, Modernization, and Resistance: Qashqa’i Nomads in Iran Since the Revolution of 1978-1979.’ In Nomadic Societies in the Middle East and North Africa: Entering the 21st Century. Dawn Chatty, ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers.

2006 ‘Manipulating Private Lives and Public Spaces in Qashqa’i Society in Iran’ (with Lois Beck). In Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Duke University Press, 26(2): 303-325.

PhD Students Supervised

Manabika Mandal (Writing up) - What do electricity access programmes do for internally displaced populations in North East India?

Silvia Pergetti (Writing up) - Charged: Imagined Futures and Distributed Generation in the Sundarbans, India

Kirsten Campbell (Completed, 2020)- Impacts and Implications of Energy Access on Rural Communities in East India


Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

Guidance and feedback hours by appointment.

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Gardner K, Huang JQ. Uncomfortable comparisons: Anthropology, development and mixed feelings. In Pelkmans M, Walker H, editors, How People Compare. 1st ed. London: Routledge. 2022. p. 153-171. (LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology). Epub 2022 Dec 12. doi: 10.4324/9781003283669-10
Gorman D, Huang JQ. A university model of social finance: Reflections on the University of Edinburgh’s social investment fund. In Walker T, McGaughey J, Goubran S, Wagdy N, editors, Innovations in Social Finance: Transitioning Beyond Economic Value. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 2021. p. 173-192 doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-72535-8_8
Dolan C, Huang J, Gordon C. The ambiguity of mutuality: Discourse and power in corporate value regimes. Dialectical Anthropology. 2021 Mar;45(1):9-27. Epub 2019 Oct 24. doi: 10.1007/s10624-019-09569-y
Huang J. To Be an Entrepreneur: Social Enterprise and Disruptive Development in Bangladesh. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020. 324 p.
Huang J. Transient assemblages, ephemeral encounters, and the ‘beautiful story’ of a Japanese social enterprise in rural Bangladesh. Critique of Anthropology. 2020 Mar 1. Epub 2020 Jan 16. doi: 10.1177/0308275X19899448
Huang J. Digital aspirations: 'Wrong number' mobile-phone relationships and experimental ethics among women entrepreneurs in rural Bangladesh. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2018 Mar 31;24(1):107-125. Epub 2017 Dec 19. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12754
Huang J. The ambiguous figures of social enterprise: Gendered flexibility and relational work among the iAgents of Bangladesh. American Ethnologist. 2017 Nov 30;44(4):603-616. Epub 2017 Nov 13. doi: 10.1111/amet.12560
Huang J. Dependent Contractors Public Books. 2017.