Background and activities

Research Interests:

- Africa, Urban Africa, East Africa, Tanzania
- Globalisation, Inequality
- Economic Anthropology, Informal Economy, Moral Economy
- Performance, Communication and Interaction
- Affect, Intersubjectivity and Morality 



Skipping early childhood, I read and wrote my way through a bachelor's degree in social sciences, majoring in African Studies and Social Anthropology, at NTNU, Trondheim - completed in 2012. I was bitten. 

Travelling to and sometimes working/volunteering in Tanzania, Canada, Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan was immensely helpful in piquing my interest in anthropological perspectives and in writing. Tanzania became my area of interest.

I completed a "Master of Science by Research in Social Anthropology" as the title goes, at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. It was a very, very formative experience.

Now, there is a Ph.D. in progress.

Current Research:

The Ph.D. project I am developing cocks its head at the word "Moral Economy" and asks when does moral meet economy? By investigating how so-called 'flycatchers' (entrepreneuring persons who 'catch' tourists' attention in order to make certain transactions happen) go about the streets of Arusha selling tourist products, paintings of Kilimanjaro, bracelets and advertise tours for tourist agencies, I hope to see how they use strategic and performative means to establishing social relations that allow such transactions to take place. I see this as a specific and urban version of a more generally important form of interaction - that of requests for money, loans, assistance - which so often happens through the language of obligation, kinship, brotherhood, equality, entitlement and words that can be similarly charged with 'moral force'. Perhaps I will ask, how are norms and ideas charged with moral content brought into interations that (hopefully) lead to transactions? In this way, such transactions become performative - they are not given but the social play or negotiation that takes place influences whether a transaction takes place or not. Thus, I ask, can the term Moral Economy - understood as 'economies that rest on certain shared values in a (usually) peasant society' - capture this intricate negotation? Can this be relevant for urban societies? What links can be find between morality, emotions or affect and transactions? We may need a rephrasing or a refocusing because this kind of 'requesting' or 'bringin of morality into transactions' are much more common and more contentious than current research indicates. I seek to understand so-called moral-transactional strategies and how they operate in human social spheres - and I start by comparing on-the-street strategies with the general tradition for 'helping each other out' in Tanzania.

Additionally, what does such a view do to our view of morality?


Do not hestitate to send an email, asking anything you like. Perhaps you need to express sheer wanton outrage at this research, or maybe you want to start a conversation on a related subject. 


Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Loeng, Martin; Cañás Bottos, Lorenzo. (2020) The foreigner and the flycatcher : an ethnographic study of stereotypes and encounters between street sellers and foreign visitors in Arusha and Moshi, Tanzania. 2020. ISBN 9788232649686.