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headshot of Douglas R. Holmes

Douglas R. Holmes

Distinguished Professor



For many years Douglas Holmes has investigated the emergence of contemporary fascism across Europe, a fascism that unfolds in our midst, at “eye-level.” Broadly, his work addresses how and why the most discredited ideas and sensibilities of the modern era—ideas that yielded the indelible horrors of the twentieth century—have become persuasive, compelling even, in the new century. More recently, he has turned his attention to the operations of central banks and the design of a distinctive monetary policy regime. In Stockholm, London, Wellington, and two venues in Frankfurt, he has spoken to bank personnel and to policy makers examining how they model the economy and the financial system with language, establishing a radically communicative and relational dynamic at the center of monetary affairs. Holmes is the author of an ethnographic trilogy: Cultural Disenchantments: Worker Peasantries in Northeast Italy (Princeton 1989); Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism(Princeton 2000); and Economy of Words: Communicative Imperatives in Central Banks (Chicago 2014). He has also authored with George E. Marcus a series of texts exploring experiments in ethnographic collaboration particularly as they are achieved within cultures of expertise.


"What is an Anthropologist Doing in a Central Bank?’ A conversation with Anna-Riikki Kauppinen and Anthony Risk. Episode 1: Centre for Finance and Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva. (2023)

Recent Publications

2023. Holmes, Douglas R. ‘Quelling Inflation: The Role of the Public,’ Anthropology Today (Royal Anthropological Institute) Vol. 39(2): 6-11.

2022. Myhre, Knut Christian and Douglas R. Holmes. “Reframing Welfare: Expectations, Collaboration and Ownership at the World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth-Fund,’ Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, Volume 32, 2: 158-180.

2021a. Holmes, Douglas R. ‘Money Troubles: Designing a Bridge to the Ephemera of Expectations,’ Designs and Anthropologies, Keith M. Murphy & Eitan Wilf (eds.) Santa Fe: School of American Research Press.

2021b. Holmes, Douglas R. and George E. Marcus. How Do We Collaborate: An updated Manifesto, Collaborative Anthropology Today: A Collection of Exceptions, Dominic Boyer and George Marcus (eds.) Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2020. Tuckett, David; Holmes, Douglas, Pearson, Alice. and Chaplin, Graeme. ‘Monetary policy and the management of uncertainty: a narrative approach,’ Bank of England, Staff Working Papers. No. 870: 1-28.

Current Research Activities

2025. ‘Agentive Publics and Responsive Knowledge: Intermediation between Markets and Society.’ AxPo Observatory of Market and Society Polarization. Sciences Po, Paris.

2023.‘Defending Democracy in the European Union: A Socio-Legal Approach to the European Institutions,’ Swiss National Science Foundation, Scientific Project – Division of Social Sciences. Grégoire Mallard (PI), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (IHEID).

2023. ‘F-Word: The world behind a word. An anthropological exploration of fascist practices and meanings among European youth.’ ERC. Maddalena Gretel Cammelli (PI), University of Turin.

2018-2021. ‘What do Economic Actors Know: Can Tracking Their Changing Economic Narratives Help to Fine Tune Monetary and Financial Policy?’ David Tuckett (PI), University College London, funded by “Rebuilding Macroeconomics,” National Institute Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

2017-2022 ‘Forms of Ethics, Shapes of Finance: Ethnographic Explorations of the Limits of Contemporary Capital,’ The Norwegian Research Council (Forskningsrådet), Knut Christian Myhre (PI), Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.

Recent Academic Appointments

2025 Visiting Scholar, AxPo Observatory of Market and Society Polarization. Sciences Po, Paris.

2023 Visiting Professor, Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement) (IHEID), Geneva.

2019-2020 Research Associate. Monetary Policy Division. Bank of England.

2018-2023 Visiting Professor, Psychology and Language Science, University College London (UCL).

2017 Simon and Hallsworth Visiting Professor, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester.

Research Interests

  • Contemporary fascism
  • Central banks and monetary policy
  • Technologies of money
  • Sovereign wealth funds
  • Experimental ethnography