Environment, society and development in Latin America; global development goals and sustainability discourses; expert knowledge and non-modern knowledge systems; interdisciplinary approaches to Value, values and valuation.
Laura Rival works on a number of interrelated projects that together illustrate her distinctive approach to the Anthropology of Nature, Society and Development.
Her empirically grounded, theoretically oriented and policy-relevant research aims to renew our thinking about the relationship between environment and society. Empirically, her work is grounded in ethnographic research with the Huaorani (Ecuadorian Amazon), inter-disciplinary research with the Makushi (central Guyana), and policy-oriented research with a number of Latin American indigenous and peasant communities, both in Central and South America. Theoretically, she has engaged critically with a range of deterministic assumptions associated with modernist ideologies , as well as with various theories that reify the nature/ culture divide, or perpetuate dubious interpretations of indigenous and peasant livelihoods and their historical dynamics. She has also contributed to political economic analyses of development policies, as well as to discussions surrounding policy instruments aimed at reconciling human development and the conservation of biological and cultural diversity.
Her current research builds on this expertise to address burning issues of development in the face of severe environmental degradation and accelerating climate change.
Laura Rival teaches the Anthropology Foundation Course for the MPhil in Development Studies, as well as contributing to the Core Course and research methods training. For the second-year of the MPhil in Development Studies, she teaches an option on sustainable development while also working on developing, with several ODID colleagues, new courses on climate change and international development.
For the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, she contributes to the ethnography course on lowland South America and the option course on environmental anthropology. She also teaches and supervises for the Institute of Human Sciences.
Books and monographsRival, Laura (2016) 'Huaorani transformations in 21st century Ecuador. Treks into the future of time ', Tucson: University of Arizona PressRival, Laura (2015) 'Transformaciones Huaoranis. Frontera, Cultura y Tensión ', Quito: Abya YalaRival, Laura (with R Muradian )(2011) 'Governing the Provision of Ecosystem Services ', Dordrecht: SpringerRival, Laura (2002) 'Trekking Through History - The Huaorani of Amazonian Ecuador ', Columbia University Press : 256 ppsRival, Laura (with N Whitehead )(2001) 'Beyond the Visible and the Material: The Amerindianization of Society in the Work of Peter Riviere ', Oxford: Oxford University PressRival, Laura (1998) 'The Social Life of Trees: Anthropological Perspectives on Tree Symbolism ', Oxford: Berg : pps 315
Journal articles and special issuesRival, Laura (2021) ' Anthropocene and the dawn of a planetary civilization ', Anthropology Today 37 (6) : 13-16Rival, Laura (2020) ' Arguing for system change in the Anthropocene ', St Antony’s International Review 15 (2) : 109-19Rival, Laura (2017) 'GDAT debate 2016: Attention to infrastructure offers a welcome reconfiguration of anthropological approaches to the political ', Critique of Anthropology 37 : 1-50Rival, Laura (2015) 'Quegoki Cönwi: Resiliencia huaorani resilience y el futuro de la biósfera Yasuní. ', Bulletin de la Société Suisse des Américanistes 76 : 183-96Rival, Laura (with R Muradian, C Larrea )(2015) 'New trends confronting old structures or old threats frustrating new hopes? ECLAC’s compacts for equality. ', Development and Change 46 (4) : 961-78Rival, Laura (2015) 'Huaorani peace. Cultural continuity and negotiated alterity in the Ecuadorian Amazon ', Common Knowledge 21 (2) : 270-304Rival, Laura (2014) 'Encountering nature through fieldwork experiments: Indigenous knowledge, local creativity and modes of reasoning ', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20 (2) : 218-36Rival, Laura (2013) ' From Carbon Projects to Better Land-Use Planning: Three Latin American Initiatives ', Ecology and Society 18 (3)Rival, Laura (with Roldan Muradian et al )(2013) 'Payments for Ecosystem Services and the Fatal Attraction of Win-win Solutions ', Conservation Letters 6 (4) : 274-9Rival, Laura (with Roldan Muradian )(2012) 'Between Markets and Hierarchies: The Challenge of Governing Ecosystem Services ', Ecosystem Services 1(1) : 93-100Rival, Laura (2012) 'Sustainable Development through Policy Integration in Latin America: A Comparative Approach ', Development 55 (1) : 63-70Rival, Laura (2010) 'Ecuador's Yasuni-ITT Initiative: The Old and New Values of Petroleum ', Ecological Economics 70 : 358-65Rival, Laura (2008) 'Domestication and Diversity in Manioc (Manihot esculenta Crantz ssp. esculenta, Euphorbiaceae) ', Current Anthropology 49(6) : pp 1119-28Rival, Laura (2006) 'Amazonian Historical Ecologies ', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12(s1) : s79-s94Rival, Laura (2003) 'The Meanings of Forest Governance in Esmeraldas, Ecuador ', Oxford Development Studies 31(4) : 479-501Rival, Laura (2001) 'Society, Culture and Environmental Adaptability in Central and South America ', Reviews in Anthropology 30 : 375-86Rival, Laura (with M Elias, D McKey )(2000) 'Perception and Management of Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) Diversity Among Makushi Amerindians of Guyana (South America) ', The Journal of Ethnobiology 20(2) : 239-65Rival, Laura (with D Miller, D Slater )(1998) 'Sex and Sociality: Comparative Ethnographies of Sexual Objectification ', Theory, Culture and Society (Special Issue on Love, Eroticism and Sexuality) 15(3-4) : 294-321Rival, Laura (1998) 'The Right to Life, or the Right to a Way of Life? ', Resurgence 198(10-12)Rival, Laura (1998) 'Androgynous Parents and Guest Children: The Huaorani Couvade (Curl Essay Prize) ', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 5(4) : 619-42Rival, Laura (1997) 'Oil and Sustainable Development in the Latin American Humid Tropics ', Anthropology Today 13(6) : 1-3
ChaptersRival, Laura (2018) 'An anthropological lens on property and access: Gudeman’s dialectics of community and market ', The Commons, Plant Breeding and Agricultural Research: Challenges for Food Security and Agrobiodiversity RoutledgeRival, Laura (2017) 'Anthropology and the nature-society-development nexus ', The Anthropology of Sustainability: Beyond development and progress PalgraveRival, Laura (2016) 'Anthropology and the nature-society-development nexus ', Anthropological visions of sustainable futures London: RoutledgeRival, Laura (with Roldan Muradian )(2012) 'Ecosystem Services and Environmental Governance: Some Concluding Remarks ', Governing the Provision of Ecosystem Services Dordrecht: Springer : 465-472Rival, Laura (with Roldan Muradian )(2012) 'Introduction: Governing the Provision of Ecosystem Services ', Governing the Provision of Ecosystem Services Dordrecht: Springer : 1-20Rival, Laura (2012) 'Biodiversity and Development ', The ASA Handbook of Social Anthropology London: Sage : 282-92Rival, Laura (2011) 'Planning Development Futures in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The Expanding Oil Frontier and the Yasuni-ITT Initiative ', Social conflict, Economic Development and Extractive Industry. Evidence from South America London: RoutledgeRival, Laura (2010) 'What Sort of Anthropologist Was Paul Rivet? ', Out of the Study, Into the Field: Ethnographic Theory and Practice in French Anthropology Oxford: Berghahn Books : 164-204Rival, Laura (2010) 'Old and New Carbon Values: Oil Development and Alternative Forms of Welath Making in the Ecuadorian Amazon ', Making Sense of the Global: Anthropological Perspectives on Interconnections and Processes Cambridge Scholars Publishing : pp 40-62Rival, Laura (2009) 'Huaorani Ways of Naming Trees ', The Ethnobiology of Mobility, Displacement and Migration in Indigenous Lowland South America Oxford: Berghahn Books : pp 47-68Rival, Laura (2009) 'Comments on M Strathern's Oxford Amnesty Lecture 'Land - Tangible of Intangible Property' ', Land Rights: Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2005 Oxford: Oxford University Press : 39-46Rival, Laura (2009) 'The Resilience of Indigenous Intelligence ', The Question of Resilience: Social Responses to Climate Change Copenhagen: The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters : pp 293-313Rival, Laura (with C Clement, D Cole )(2009) 'Domestication of Peach Palm (Bactris gasipaes Kunth): The role of Human Mobility and Migration ', The Ethnobiology of Mobility, Displacement and Migration in Indigenous Lowland South America Oxford: Berghahn Books : pp 117-40Rival, Laura (2007) 'Domesticating the Landscape, Producing Crops and Reproducing Society in Amazonia ', Convergence and Emergence: Towards a New Holistic Anthropology? Oxford: Berghahn Books : pp 72-90Rival, Laura (2005) 'Alliances for Sustainable Forest Management: Lessons from the Ecuadorian Choco ', Partnerships in Sustainable Forest Resource Management: Learning from Latin America Amsterdam: CEDLA : pp 37-62Rival, Laura (2005) 'From Global Forest Governance to Privatised Social Forestry: Company-Community Partnerships in the Ecuadorian Choco ', Privatising Development: Transnational Law, Infrastructure and Human Rights Brill Academic PublishingRival, Laura (2001) 'Forty Years of Amazonian Anthropology, the Contribution of Peter Riviere ', Beyond the Visible and the Material: The Amerindianization of Society in the Work of Peter Riviere Oxford: Oxford University Press : pp 1-18Rival, Laura (2001) 'Seed and Clone. A Preliminary Note on Manioc Domestication and its Implications for Symbolic and Social Analysis ', Beyond the Visible and the Material: The Amerindianization of Society in the Work of Peter Riviere Oxford: Oxford University Press : pp 57-80Rival, Laura (1999) 'Marginality with a Difference: How the Huaorani Remain Autonomous, Preserve their Sharing Relations and Naturalize Outside Economic Powers ', Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World: Conflict, Resistance and Self-Determination Providence, RI: Berghahn BooksRival, Laura (1999) 'Trees and the Symbolism of Life in Indigenous Cosmologies ', Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity UNEP : pp 358-62Rival, Laura (1998) 'Trees, from Symbols of Life and Regeneration to Political Artefacts ', The Social Life of Trees. Anthropological Perspectives on Tree Symbolism Oxford: Berg : pp 1-36Rival, Laura (1998) 'Preys at the Centre: Resistance and Marginality in Amazonia ', Lilies of the Field: Marginal People who Live for the Moment Boulder, CO: Westview Press : pp 61-79Rival, Laura (1998) 'Domestication as a Historical and Symbolic Process: Wild Gardens and Cultivated Forests in the Ecuadorian Amazon ', Principles of Historical Ecology New York: Columbia University Press : pp 232-50
Working papersRival, Laura (2012) 'Sustainable Development through Policy Integration in Latin America: A Comparative Approach ', UNRISD Occasional Paper Seven, Social Dimensions of Green Economy and Sustainable Development UNRISDRival, Laura (2009) 'The Yasuni-ITT Initiative; Oil Development and Alternative Forms of Wealth Making in the Ecuadorian Amazon ', QEH Working Paper 180
Encyclopedia entriesRival, Laura (1999) 'Introductory Essay on South American Hunters-and-Gatherers and The Huaorani ', The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University PressRival, Laura (1999) 'Article on the Huaorani ', The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press : 101-4Rival, Laura (1999) 'Introductory Essay on South American Hunters-and-Gatherers ', The Cambridge Encylopedia of Hunters and Gatherers Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press : pp 77-85
Other publicationsRival, Laura (2021) 'Claudia Andujar’s solidarity with the Yanomami people ', The Lancet 398 July 31 : 379-80Rival, Laura (2019) 'How will temporary possessions make us happier? ', Temporary Possessions. Theorizing the ContemporaryRival, Laura (2018) 'Environmental anthropology ', Companion to Environmental Studies RoutledgeRival, Laura (2015) 'Comment (pp 21-22) on Trawick, Paul & Alf Hornborg, Revisiting the image of limited good. On sustainability, thermodynamics, and the illusion of creating wealth ', Current Anthropology 56 (1) : 1-27