Paul Clough


It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely death of Paul Clough, Professor of Anthropological Sciences at the University of Malta, at the age of 70. Paul died whilst swimming close to his home in St Paul’s Bay, Malta, on 25th July 2019.

He was an active and enthusiastic EASA member, regularly attending the biennial Conference to present papers in economic anthropology, the anthropology of morality, rural peasant societies, transnational migration and methodology. He was also an active and founder member of MedNet – the EASA Mediterraneanist Network:

Paul played a leading role in developing the discipline of anthropology in Malta. He joined the fledgling Anthropology Department at the University of Malta in 1993, and went on to become Head of Department for thirteen years. During that time, he helped to nurture countless students at undergraduate and Masters’ levels, many of whom saw him as a mentor. Many went on to do a PhD, and followed their own careers as anthropologists. Paul was also general editor of the Journal of Mediterranean Studies from 1999-2013.

Paul’s own doctorate (Oxford, 1996) was based on long-term fieldwork in northern Nigeria among Hausa traders, and fed in to the book Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa (Berghahn 2014). The book is of exceptional calibre and established a new theory of accumulation, based on an understanding of the interface of economy and morality of rural peasant societies. This understanding of the economic ethnography of rural Hausaland in Nigeria has been described as a ‘new gold standard of anthropological field research on African economies’ (Ifeka 2016). The relationship between economy and morality preoccupied Paul’s thinking – and was the theme of an earlier edited volume (with Jon Mitchell), Powers of Good and Evil (Berghahn 2002).

From 2005, Paul began research in Malta, looking at the lives and livelihoods of irregular migrants from West Africa. At the time of his death, he had begun to put down the foundations for a book on migration and migrants in Malta.

Those who knew him will remember Paul as an inquisitive and insightful scholar, with a warmth and generosity of spirit that made him a pleasure to be with. He drew people towards him, and had the exceptional capability of gathering people together. EASA, and anthropology, have lost a great colleague and friend. He will be sorely missed.

Caroline Ifeka, 2016, Book Review, Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa, Review of African Political Economy, 43(sup1), pp.187–189.