Logistics has wide-ranging political, economic, social and spatial implications and consequences, and is thus a crucial topic for understanding the ways in which the contemporary capitalist world operates. Logistics, as the science of managing the movement of commodities, was originally a military technique, but since the Second World War II its rationale has moved into the corporate sector and transformed the transportation and distribution of things. Within the new context of supply chain capitalism logistics has become a powerful global industry based on calculations of circulation. Known as the “logistics revolution” this restructuring of production and distribution goes hand in hand with “just-in-time”-manufacturing, containerization, automatization and new information technologies. Amazon’s warehouses, Asian mega ports, e-commerce business models and technological logistics parks are all examples of the spaces, infrastructure and practices of contemporary logistics.

A wide range of issues

While economic anthropology has always been concerned with how circulation, from ceremonial exchange to markets, shapes social and cultural worlds, less attention has been paid to logistics despite its centrality to contemporary capitalism. By re-thinking economies of circulation through a critical analysis of the rationality, practices and politics of logistics we wish to stimulate a debate that reflects upon the consequences of the standardization and calculation of mobility in different domains. We are interested not only in the organization and management of the movement of commodities, but also that of people, ideas and information, services and capital. In order to reflect on the increasing dominance of logistics the workshop will bring together scholars working on a wide range of issues including maritime trade, transport infrastructure, humanitarian aid, migration and global finance. 

Invited Speakers

Brett Neilson, Professor at Institute of Culture and Society, Western Sydney University  

Charmaine Chua, Assistant Professor of Global Studies, University of California-Santa Barbara

Jatin Dua, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan

Manuela Bojadzijev, Junior Professor of Globalized Cultures, Leuphana University of Lüneburg and vice-director of the Berlin Institute for Research on Integration and Migration, Humboldt University

Elisabeth Schober, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo

Heather Swanson, Associate Professor of Social Anthropology, Århus University

Townsend Middleton, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina


Hege Høyer Leivestad, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, hege.leivestad@socant.su.se

Gabriella Körling, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, gabriella.korling@socant.su.se