Anthony Bebbington

Anthony Bebbington


Personal profile


Tony is Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Environment and Development.  He previously led the Territory, Conflicts and Development in the Andes research programme and is currently a member of the Effective States and Inclusive Development program in which he leads research on the politics of natural resources and inclusive development.  He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and has previously been an ESRC Professorial Fellow (2007-2010), a Hewlett Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University (1998-99), a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland (2012), a Fellow of the Ibero-American Institute, Berlin (2011) among others.  

Research interests

Tony's research is conducted with development studies and geography.  His specific interests are in: Rural development, pooverty and livelihoods; nongovernmental organizations, social movements and indigenous organizations; extractive industries, social justice and territorially based rural development; policy processes within development bureaucracies; political ecology; the World Bank.  His research focuses on Latin America, in particular the Andean countries, though he has also worked in Indonesia.

Tony's recent research:

1.  Conflicts over the countryside: civil society and the political ecology of rural development in the Andes. This project, supported by an ESRC Professorial Research Fellowship (2007-2009), addresses the structure and dynamics of social conflicts around the relationships between natural resource extraction, agriculture and development strategies in the Andean region. 

2.  Social movements and poverty.  This ESRC-DfID funded research in Peru and South Africa, conducted jointly with Diana Mitlin, explores the overall significance of social movement and processes of social mobilization for poor people.  It considers the ways in which social movements frame poverty as a problem they seek to tackle, how they relate it to other problems (e.g. inequality, social justice) and how they elaborate strategies and relationships to pursue the socio-political changes they seek. 

3.  NGOs, research and the public sphere. The role of NGOs in fostering democratizing forms of development is a longstanding area of interest of mine. My current and recent work hinges around two related initiatives. The first, conducted jointly with Diana Mitlin and Sam Hickey, was brought together in the 2008 book Can NGOs Make a Difference: the Challenge of Development Alternatives.  The second, funded by the Ford Foundation and International Development Research Centre and involving a collective of Central American and Mexican research based NGOs, led to the 2007 book Investigacion y Cambio Social (Research and Social Change).

4.  Mobile livelihoods and the geographies of nongovernmental organizations in post-conflict Ayacucho, Perú. This research, supported by the British Academy, project will study the relationships between the spatial distribution of NGO interventions and livelihood strategies in post-conflict Ayacucho, a highland region at the centre of Peru's civil war.

5.  Statecraft in the South. This Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series, coordinated jointly with Willy McCourt of SED, explores that conditions leading to long run success in public policy formation and implementation in the global South.  This led to the book Development Success: Statecraft in the South.


I am interested in supervising doctoral research students working on topics related to: social movements, NGOs, civil society, natural resource extraction, environmental conflicts, poverty and livelihoods, multilateral development organizations, and culture, politics and development. 

I am especially committed to working with students whose research interests lie in Latin America, who work at the boundary of research and activism but aspire to research careers, and who work across disciplinary boundaries.

Research Students:

My recent PhD students now hold tenured/tenure track academic positions (University of California, Syracuse University, Edinburgh University) or research and teaching positions (University of Manchester, University of Colorado, Crested Butte Academy).

  • Leonith Hinojosa Valencia (Ph.D. 2006) Institutions, Markets and Economic Development in the Southern Peruvian Andes.  Became Research and Teaching Fellow, University of Manchester
  • Scott Nelson (PhD, 2006) Emerging Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Field of Agri-Biotechnology: ICRISAT and the Remaking of Indian Agriculture.
  • Elizabeth Olson (Ph.D, 2005.) 'Religion, livelihoods and development in post-conflict Peru', Became Lecturer, Department of Geography, Edinburgh University.
  • Donna Rubinoff (Ph.D, 2004) 'Cybernetworking and rural development in Latin America', Became Lecturer, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  • Jeffrey Bury (Ph.D, 2001) 'Transnational corporations and livelihood transformation', Peru, Became Assistant Professor of Geography, University of California at Santa Cruz.
  • Thomas Perreault (Ph.D. 1999) 'Cultural identity and resource management in Ecuador', Became Associate Professor of Geography, Syracuse University.
  • Jorge Castro, working on rural territorial development, armed conflict and peace in the Magdalena Medio, Colombia (supervised with Phil Woodhouse).
  • Ximena Warnaars, working on mining conflicts in lowland Ecuador (supervised with Penny Harvey).
  • George Holmes, working on resistance to protected areas in the Dominican Republic (supervised with Dan Brockington).
  • Johan Oldekop, working on conservation, sustainability and ecological modelling in Ecuador (supervised with Richard Preziosi) is now Senior Lecturer at the Global Development Institute 
  • Eric James, working on relationships between humanitarian organizations and the military in Afghanistan (supervised with Tim Jacoby).
  • Kirsten Howarth, working on post-conflict violence in El Salvador (supervised with Tim Jacoby)
  • Maura Duffy, working on Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution: Power to the People? (supervised with Tanja Mueller).
  • Rory Stanton, working on development programming and diaspora communities  (supervised with Uma Kothari) is now Programme Co-Director & Lecturer in Human Resource Development at the Global Development Institute. 
  • Jean David, sustainable agriculture in Guyana (supervised with Wendy Olsen)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor of Geography, School of Geography, University of Melbourne


Milton P. and Alice C. Higgins Professor of Environment and Society , Clark University


Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Global Development Institute


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