Lorena Gibson


Doctor of Philosophy, Social Anthropology, Massey University (2011) Postgraduate Diploma (Distinction), Development Studies, Massey University (2005) Master of Arts, Social Anthropology, Massey University (2004) Bachelor of Arts (Hons First Class), Social Anthropology, Massey University (2004) Graduate Diploma in Arts, Music, Victoria University (2002) Bachelor of Arts, English and Social Anthropology, Massey University (2000)


My PhD thesis, entitled “Hope, agency and the ‘side effects’ of development in India and Papua New Guinea”, is a comparative study of exceptional women organising for social change through grassroots-level development initiatives in urban poor areas of Kolkata (India) and Lae (Papua New Guinea).
I have longstanding research interests in public anthropology; the anthropology of hope; gender; culture and development; qualitative methodologies; and ethnographic writing.

Recent publications

Gibson, L. (2017). Pedagogical Experiments in an Anthropology for Liberation. Commoning Ethnography, 1(1), 1-13. doi:10.26686/ce.v1i1.4131

Gibson, L., & Fabish, R. (2017). Moving toward collective responsibility: Beyond Pākehā as ‘punisher’. Counterfutures, 4, 229-240

Farrelly, T., Stewart-Withers, R., McLennan, S., & Gibson, L. (2017). Collective memory-work as method and resistance. SITES: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, New Series, 14(2), 1-26. doi:10.11157/sites-vol14iss2id330

Gibson, Lorena. (2016). Bastis as "Forgotten Places" in Howrah, West Bengal. In Globalisation and the Challenges of Development in Contemporary India (pp. 187-208). Springer.

Lorena Gibson (2014) The Interview: An Ethnographic Approach, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 15:5, 490-493.

Gibson, Lorena. 2014. Guest Editorial: Anthropology and Imagination. SITES: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, New Series, 11 (1): 3-14.

Gibson, Lorena. (2014). Teaching Mr Pip. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 55, 402-404

Gibson, Lorena, From Crisis to Epiphany: what firing a research assistant helped me appreciate about agency and Muslim women in Howrah, West Bengal, India. Sites New Series, 9, 2, (2012) pp. 114-141.

Ramaswamy, V., Gibson, Lorena, and Venkateswar, Sita. (2010). Field report: The right to education and the pedagogy for hope. Critical Asian Studies, 42(2), 289-310.

Gibson, Lorena and Barcham, Manuhuia, with Beatty, Bronwyn and Farrelly, Trisia. (2010). Valuing Culture in Oceania: Methodology and indicators for valuing culture, including traditional knowledge, in Oceania. Noumea, New Caledonia: Human Development Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Gibson, Lorena. (2009). Institutional Ethics Requirements and Anthropological Research Techniques, or, why I want to join a university ethics committee (Reflection). Ex Plus Ultra, 1, online publication.

Gibson, Lorena. (2007). Landscapes in Music: Space, Place and Time in the World’s Great Music (book review). New Zealand Geographer, 63 (1): 75-76.

Gibson, Lorena. (2006).Contemporary feminist perspectives on activism, globalisation and development: a review essay. Women’s Studies Journal, 20 (1): 81-86.

Conference papers

Gibson, L. (2017). Anthropology Under my Skin. Anthropology in Aotearoa Symposium. Celebrating 50 Years of Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington

Gibson, L. (2017). Collaborative ethnographic filmmaking with young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Shifting States 2017 Conference of the Australian Anthropological Society, the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth and the Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand. University of Adelaide. 

Bonisch-Brednich, B., Trundle, C., & Gibson, L. (2016). Making Care Work: Equity and feminized academic labour in Aotearoa New Zealand. University Futures. Aarhus University, Copenhagen.

Gibson, Lorena. (November 2015). The politics of comparison: Negotiating comparison in ethnographic fieldwork. Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Denver, CO.

Gibson, Lorena. (2014). Finding the road to development. Combined Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa New Zealand/Australian Anthropological Society Conference. Queenstown

Gibson, Lorena. (August 2014). Responsibilizing grassroots organisations in forgotten places in Howrah, West Bengal, India. Competing Responsibilities: The politics and ethics of responsibility in contemporary life. Wellington

Gibson, Lorena. (November 2013). Negotiating Space: Hope, Development, and a Politics of Possibility in Kolkata (India) and Lae (Papua New Guinea). American Anthropological Association Annual Conference. Chicago

Gibson, Lorena. (August, 2013). Bastis as forgotten places. Changing India: From Decolonization to Globalisation Conference. Wellington

Gibson, Lorena. (December 2011). Toward an anthropology and a sociology of hope. SAANZ Conference. Victoria University of Wellington.

Gibson, Lorena. (September 2010). ‘Please don’t bring her back’: Respecting local agency and firing research assistants in Howrah, 10th International Women in Asia Conference. Canberra.

Gibson, Lorena. (May 2009). Banking on Collective Hope. Keynote speaker at the Annual Conference of the New Zealand Women’s Loan Fund. Thames.

Gibson, Lorena. (December 2008). Projects of Hope: Women Organising for Grassroots Community Development in Kolkata (India) and Lae (Papua New Guinea). Ownership and Appropriation: Joint Annual Conference of the ASA, the ASAANZ and the AAS. Auckland.

Gibson, Lorena.( 2006). Rap and Resistance in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Proceedings of the 2004 International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) Inter Congress Conference, Kolkata, India.