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Daniela Peluso

  • PhD
  • Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology
  • University of Kent School of Anthropology and Conservation
  • 1PublicationsNumber of items in Daniela's My Publications folder on Mendeley.
  • 9Followers


Daniela Peluso is a cultural anthropologist who received her PhD from Columbia University in 2003. Her research interests range from Amazonian to corporate environments and her teaching brings together divergent and similar aspects of the 'exotic' and ordinary, global and local for a contemporary understanding of and approach toward social anthropology. Over the last two decades she has worked in Lowland South America, mostly with Ese Eja communities in the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon, and in close collaboration with indigenous organisations. She has been involved in various local efforts on issues relating to health, gender and land-rights. She is an Associate of People and Plants International and currently manages the Lowland South Americanists listserv - LOSAN ( ) that provides an interdisciplinary network for European colleagues working in Lowland South America and neighbouring regions. Her early work as a medical anthropologist focused on indigenous health care delivery systems and medical pluralism. Since medical choices are a reflection of identity and it is mostly women who are responsible for the day-to-day healthcare of children in this region, her interests led her to examine gender, the politics of reproduction and the construction of personhood. Her dissertation, currently under contract for publication with the University of San Marcos (Lima), explores identity in terms of intermarriage, relatedness and exchange between Ese Eja and others. Her analysis offers an alternative to the usual association of Amazonian women as strongholds of 'tradition' within their communities. Although more rooted in their local regimes of production and exchange and often more marginalized by modernity than men, she shows how women are key agents in the mediation of encounters with 'others'. This transpires primarily through their marriage to 'non-Ese Eja' and their authority in creating relatedness through alternative venues such as adoption, partible paternity, and the control of the substance that in turn enables physical and social reproduction. As mediators of relatedness and its ensuing conflicts, women exert considerable social power in broadening people's ability to create new systems of exchange and production adjacent to emerging and existing ones. She has worked on several long-term advocacy and research projects relevant to Ese Eja livelihoods jointly with Dr. Miguel Alexiades ( Her current research, in Madre de Dios, Peru, is studying the relationship between the environmental economy and indigenous urbanisation and ethnogenesis. She is examining how urbanization and the intensification of global flows of information, people and capital - as they unfold within an emergent environmental service economy - are re-shaping 'indigenous' notions of social relations, including gender, as well as notions of self and place. With an experiential and academic background in business, Dr. Peluso is interested examining businesses from an anthropological perspective. As such, she challenges students to think about the social relations that found, sustain, innovate and disrupt the dynamic webs and structures within which businesses exist. She believes that ultimately – to be relevant - an anthropology of business should replace the ‘exotic’ with the ‘enigmatic’ and inspire empowerment through that demystification. Primary Research Interests: Lowland South America, indigenous urbanisation, gender, identity politics, kinship, video methodology, exchange theory and postcolonial studies. Teaching: Amazonia, Lowland South America, Kinship, The Anthropology of Business, Research Methods.

Recent publications

  • Anthropology and the Workplace (Funding Anthropology)

    • Peluso D

Professional experience

Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

School of Anthropology & Conservation, University of Kent

September 2007 - Present


PhD, Anthropology

Columbia University

November 2003

BS, Marketing and Economics; Performance Studies

New York University School of Business and Public Administration AND School of the Arts

September 1978 - February 1982(3 years)


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