Dr Magne Knudsen


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Over the last fifteen years, my research has broadly focused on change and continuity in livelihood, family and community relations in coastal and upland regions of Southeast Asia. In 2010, I was awarded a PhD-degree in anthropology at the Australian National University. The focus of the PhD-project was on livelihood transition, land tenure and dynamics of exclusion among coastal dwellers just north of Dumaguete City in the Philippines, in particular on how fishing families succeeded or failed to establish rights in land in this urbanising context. Currently, I work on several research projects, including: human uses of rivers and small-scale fishing in Brunei Darussalam; traditional knowledge and bio-cultural diversity in Southeast Asia; disaster response and reconstruction planning in the Philippines; and coastal livelihood transition in Southeast Asia.

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). 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


Knudsen, M. (2022) Changing tides: Temporal dimensions of low-cost, high-skill fisheries in the Central Visayas, Philippines. Chapter 2 in M. Franco, M. Knudsen and N. H. Hassan (eds.) Case studies in biocultural diversity from Southeast Asia: Traditional ecological calendars, folk medicine and folk names. Springer, Asia in Transition Series 19.
Franco, M., Knudsen, M. and Hassan, N. H. (2022) Case studies in biocultural diversity from Southeast Asia: Traditional ecological Calendars, folk medicine and folk names. Springer, Asia in Transition Series 19.
Fabinyi, M., Belton, B., Dressler, W. H., Knudsen, M., Adhuri, D. S., Aziz, A. A., Akber, M. A., Kittitornkool, J., Kongkaew, C., Marschke, M., Pido, M., Stacey, N., Steenbergen, D. J., & Vandergeest, P. (2022). Coastal transitions: Small-scale fisheries, livelihoods, and maritime zone developments in Southeast Asia. Journal of Rural Studies 91, 184-194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2022.02.006
Carnegie, P. J., King, V. T. and Knudsen, M. (2021) Human security, marginality and precariousness in Southeast Asia. Asia Pacific Studies 17 (1): 1–28.
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.