Dr Rebecca Ellis
Further Research Information
In broad terms, my research asks questions about the different ways in which knowledge of the environment is made and applied and has generally been ethnographic and carried out in an interdisciplinary context. My research interests and methods are shaped by my background in Social Anthropology, several years working as a Social Development Consultant for DFID and a recent growing interest developed here at Lancaster University in Science and Technology Studies (STS).
Whilst in South America, my research began with exploring the hunting, fishing and gardening practices of the Tsimane’ people of the Bolivian Amazon and their relationship to sorcery beliefs and the creation of ‘good society’ (PhD Thesis). Working for DFID I then became involved in project evaluation work, analysing the practices and politics of encounter between indigenous, scientific and policy knowledge in natural resource management programmes in the Andean and Amazonian regions of Bolivia.
Since moving to Lancaster in 2002 I have worked on 3 (completed) research projects all of which explored, in different ways, the knowledge politics at play and the innovatory approaches to the overlapping fields of technology design, ‘citizen science’ and public engagement in contemporary taxonomic and biodiversity sciences:
‘Taxonomy at a Crossroads: Science, Policy and Publics in Biodiversity’:
‘Amateurs as Experts: Harnessing New Knowledge Networks for Biodiversity’Biodiversity’:
‘Databases, Naturalists and the Convention on Biological Diversity’Biodiversity’:
This wide ranging research is all connected by my interest in observing, analysing and understanding not only how one particular knowledge system is assembled and shared amongst a community of practitioners (e.g. Linnaean Taxonomy) but also how it might be made sense of in relation to a quite alternative way of encountering and understanding the natural world (e.g. Citizen Scientists in the UK and/or indigenous communities in the Amazon and South India).
I have recently become involved in some new research collaborations. These include the following:
- “The Assemblage of Biodiversity – the Interdisciplinary Confluence of Traditional Aboriginal, Social and Natural Scientific Knowledge” Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada. 2009-2012 (PI Steven Newmaster, Guelph)
- “Imagination and Innovation in Climate Science—an interdisciplinary approach to geo-engineering” (Lead researcher Maialen Galarraga (Sociology/Philosophy) and CO-Is Rebecca Ellis, David Tyfield (Sociology/ CeMoRe), Alison Stone (Philosophy), Bron Szerszynski (Sociology/CSEC). Lancaster University Small Grant in collaboration with EPSRC project Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP)
- “Understanding and Managing Energy Usage in Future Networks” EPSRC funded (PI David Hutchison; CO-Is Rebecca Ellis, Ian Marshall (LEC) and Andreas 'Andreas Mauthe (Computing)
- Society and Environment Research Group
- Centre for the Study of Environmental Change
- Centre for Science Studies
Current PhD Supervision
Rachael Carrie: "Towards Sustainable River Management: combining biological indicators and local environmental knowledge to monitor and manage river integrity in Belize" (ESRC-NERC funding)
Jodie Chapel: “Indigenous Perspectives on the Commodification of Plant Knowledge in the Ecuadorian Amazon” (ESRC funding)
Amy Fowler: "Citizen Science and local climate change: an interdisciplinary approach to public participation and the formulation of data sets to model Urban Heat Island effects" (ESRC-NERC funding)
Emily Adams: "Understanding and Managing Honey Bee Health in the UK: Beekeeping Knowledge and Engagement with Science and Policy" (ESRC-NERC funding)
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