Dr Magne Knudsen


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Over the last ten years, my research has broadly focused on change and continuity in livelihood, family and community relations in coastal and upland regions of Southeast Asia, and the challenge of ensuring more socially inclusive forms of environmental regulations. In 2010, I was awarded a PhD-degree in anthropology at the Australian National University. The focus of the PhD-project was on dynamics of community relations among coastal dwellers just north of Dumaguete City in the Philippines, in particular on how fishing families succeeded or failed to establish rights to land and livelihood in this urbanising context.

Before taking up the position as Assistant Professor in Sociology and Anthropology at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam in 2015, I was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Previously, I studied economics and was particularly interested in the history of economic ideas, political economy and development challenges in the Global South. Outside of academia, I have worked as consultant on environmental issues and been a livelihood and land tenure expert for a humanitarian crisis response team.


Land and sea tenure, Natural resource management
Coastal and upland livelihoods
Indigenous peoples and ethnic identities in Southeast Asia
Class, kinship and community relations in urbanising Asia
Tourism in Southeast Asia


Google Scholar Citations


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Knudsen, M. (2019) Agrarian transition in the southern Philippines: More than poverty, dispossession and violence. Critical Asian Studies 51 (2): 232-252.
Knudsen, M. (2016) Poverty and beyond: Small-scale fishing in over-exploited environments. Human Ecology 44 (3): 341-352.
Knudsen, M. (2013) Beyond clientelism: Neighbourhood leaders on a Philippine island. Anthropological Forum 23 (3): 242-265.
Knudsen, M. (2012) Fishing families and cosmopolitans in conflict over land on a Philippine island. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 43 (3): 478-499.
Fabinyi, M., Knudsen, M., Segi, S. (2010) Social Complexity, Ethnography and Coastal Research Management in the Philippines. Coastal Management 38 (6): 617-632.


2009. ‘Socioeconomic specialist’ on a bid for an Australian Government tender to develop a strategy for fisheries-related assistance to Indonesia, East Timor, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam (1 month).


Yes, provides consultancy


Has industry experience


Many development projects, humanitarian crisis response interventions and conservation initiatives fail to reach their stated goals because of poor planning and limited understanding of local social, economic and political conditions. My research engages with these issues, drawing on a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to arrive at empirically grounded understandings.