Eric Thrift

Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) in Indigenous Development

Eric ThriftEric Thrift is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose interests include environmental governance, social-ecological resilience, and the role of cultural diversity in development. Eric initially became involved in culture and development policy research while serving as a VSO volunteer at the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture. Inspired by his colleagues’ attempts to renegotiate cultural identities and Indigenous development trajectories in the post-socialist period, Eric contributed to a wide range of local and internationally-led projects in Mongolia, including the preparation of nomination dossiers and site management plans for Mongolia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites and intangible heritage properties.

Eric's ongoing research addresses mobile pastoralists’ ability to accommodate social and ecological change and uncertainty. By investigating the ways that small-scale adaptive practices are affected by governance policies or development interventions, this research engages practitioners and policymakers in promoting social-ecological resilience, biocultural diversity, and well-being as governable development goals.

Eric also works to promote the applications of collaborative ethnographic research in development practice and public discourse. Since 2011, Eric and his collaborators have produced over 100 hours of audiovisual records documenting resilient local knowledge and practices among mobile pastoralists in Inner Asia, partly in an effort to address knowledge gaps in current policy research. As curator of the Mongolian Digital Ethnography Archive, affiliated with the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge, Eric has been contributing to the development of software tools, guidelines, and standards for collecting and appropriately sharing open ethnographic research.