About us

Marco Gardini

Marco GardiniIn 2013, Marco Gardini earned his PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, with a co-partnership with the University of Bayreuth. His research interests included land access, labour exploitation, conflict resolution, and witchcraft accusations in Togo. In 2014, he was recruited as a post-doctoral fellow in the SWAB project. His current research explores continuities and discontinuities in the forms of labour exploitation on the highlands of Madagascar. He is member of MEBAO (Ethnological Mission in Benin and West Africa) and ASAI (Italian Association of African Studies).





Research Project: “Old and New Forms of Exploitation of Agricultural and Urban Labour in Madagascar.”

This research investigates continuities and discontinuities between old and new forms of labour exploitation on the highlands of Madagascar. The project will bridge the gap between historical studies on slavery (which, in the case of Madagascar, rarely go beyond abolition in 1896) and studies on contemporary forms of exploitation. A number of historians and anthropologists have analyzed the material, political and ideological factors that have influenced, after abolition, the strengthening or the weakening of the rigid social hierarchy typical of Madagascar highlands communities. Land access and national policies have played a crucial role in the redefinition of the status of slaves and their descendants. Fieldwork in urban highly populated areas, as well as in contexts where land has been relatively abundant, will allow me to develop a comparative framework that grasps the relation between resources availability, the renegotiation of social status and labour exploitation. Broadly, this project will analyze the metaphorical use of slavery in colonial and postcolonial political struggles, the political and economic conditions that over time have influenced more or less successful trajectories of individual emancipation; and the changes in the structures and ideologies of labour exploitation.




Working Papers

SWAB-WPS 1/2016

Title: Political Claims and the Legacies of Slavery in Madagascar: An Interview and Some Notes

Author: Marco Gardini

Number of pages: 24

Download: SWAB-WPS 1/2016

This working paper explores how the legacies of slavery inform the social and political landscape of contemporary Madagascar. In particular, it investigates how impoverished people of noble descent have invested statutory distinctions with new political values linked to the colonial and postcolonial political trajectories of the country. I will argue that, far from being a simple reproduction of the pre-colonial past, the contemporary use of statutory distinctions can only be fully understood if we take into account the role they have played historically in the local and national political struggle.