Matthew Alexander Halkes Carey

Matthew Alexander Halkes Carey

Associate Professor

Primary Research Areas

The main thrust of my research revolves around Tachelhit-Berber speaking communities in Southern Morocco, principally the Central High Atlas mountains. I have also conducted some fieldwork in Odessa, Ukraine.

Thematic Interests and Objectives

My research can be roughly divided into three main streams:

1) My early work focused on questions of political organisation, institutionality and anarchism. The main thrust of this work was to suggest that real-world anarchism is best thought of not as a deliberate political strategy, but as an emergent product of personal dispositions. This is a pragmatic, rather than an ideological view of anarchy. I also sought to contribute to theoretical understanding of the institution.

2) My postdoctoral research explored subjectivity, intimacy and emotions in the Moroccan High Atlas,addressing topics such as pre-marital sexuality, mental illness, domestic violence, infant mortality and religious change. This work stressed the socially productive nature of doubt and ambiguity.

3) Most recently, I have turned my attention to lying and mistrust, which I explore in a forthcoming book. Writing against the tidal wave of trust literature, in which mistrust is seen as a purely corrosive phenomenon that eats away at social ties, I seek to show how mistrust in fact gives rise to particular social forms and practices that are both interesting and, at times, admirable.


I am one of the principle translators of French anthropology into English, having translated, inter alia, Philippe Descola, Carlo Severi and Jeanne Favret-Saada. In my research, publications and other activities, I seek to build bridges between the different national traditions.

Research Groups

I am currently coordinator of the Religion and Subjectivity research group, as well as a member of the Conflict, Power and Politics group.

Other Roles

I am a member of the editorial boards of the journals HAU and Terrain.

Selected Publications

2012. “'The Rules' in Morocco: Pragmatic Approaches to Flirtation and Lying”, HAU 2(2)

2012. “La Folie Mise en Marge : genre et aliénation chez les Berbères du Maroc”, Cahier d’Etudes Africaines 205. pp. 217-236

2013. “Apolitical ‘Islamisation’ ? on the limits of religiosity in montane Morocco”, in M. Marsden and K. Retsikas (eds.)Articulating Islam: Anthropological Approaches to Muslim Worlds. Springer Press. pp. 193-208.

ID: 32362491