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Durham University

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Staff Profile

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

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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 Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Projects

Department of Anthropology

  • 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?

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

Edited book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Anthropology: Tribal peoples.
  • Anthropology: International development, esp natural resources
  • International development: International development, esp natural resources
  • Anthropology: Oceania - esp. New Guinea
  • Anthropology: Subsistence farming
  • Environment: Natural resources management
  • Plants & agriculture: Natural resources management
  • Environment: Sustainable development
  • Geography: Sustainable development
  • European & other international expertise:
  • Australasia & the Pacific:
  • Science & Technology:
  • People: Civilisation & land use:


Indicators of Esteem

  • 2009: Qatar Shell Professorial Chair in Sustainable Development in the Sociology Program of the Department of Social Sciences in Qatar University: