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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Prof Paul Sillitoe, Sc.D., F.B.A.

Personal web page

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Paul Sillitoe has a background in both anthropology and agricultural science. His research interests focus on tropical farming systems and indigenous natural resource management strategies. He specialises in development and social change, subsistence and technology, land issues, human ecology and ethno-science. His regional interests focus on the Pacific in particular.

He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, where he first championed the competitive sociability of institutionalised exchange individualism, and he is currently involved in projects in South Asia, researching local agricultural knowledge and development programmes. He seeks to further the incorporation of indigenous knowledge in development, particularly in the context of sustainable livelihood initiatives and appropriate technologies.


See a full list of Prof Sillitoe's publications below.

Research Interests

  • Development and social change
  • Economic anthropology and tribal socio-political orders
  • Environmental anthropology and natural resources management
  • Human ecology and ethnosciences
  • Indigenous knowledge and participating development
  • Livelihood and technology
  • Melanesia and South Asia

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Sillitoe, Paul (2016). The Knowing in Indigenous Knowledge: Alternative Ways to View Development, Largely from a New Guinea Highlands’ Perspective. In Ethnic and Cultural Dimensions of Knowledge. Springer. 8: 129-163.
  • Sillitoe, Paul (2015). Indigenous Knowledge. In The Ashgate Research Companion to Anthropology. Strathern, A & Stewart, P. (eds) Ashgate Publishing. 343-368.
  • Sillitoe, P & Filer, C (2014). What Local People Want with Forests: Ideologies and Attitudes in Papua New Guinea. In Natural Resource Extraction and Indigenous Livelihoods: Development Challenges in an Era of Globalisation. Gilberthorpe, E & Hilson, G Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 201-220.
  • Sillitoe, P. (2000). Indigenous knowledge development in Bangladesh: Present and future. In London: Intermediate Technology Publications & Dhaka: University Press. 3-20, 145-60, 161-177, 179-195.

Edited book

Journal Article

Show all publications

Research Groups

Research Projects

  • Contextual instantiation of indigenous domain knowledge: An e-science approach
  • Indigenous knowledge methodologies for natural resource research
  • Negotiations and mining in PNG
  • Towards an engaged anthropology: Advancing methodological approaches to indigenous knowledge research and community well-being
  • What is traditional about Piaroa traditional knowledge?

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