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Luke Freeman

Luke Freeman

Tel:  +44 (0)20 7679 5579 

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632


Room: 239

General Interests

  • Communication, speech and rhetoric
  • Education, teaching and knowledge
  • Power and charisma
  • Human-animal relations

Current Research

Dr Freeman’s current research examines how forms of speech such as irony, humour and self-effacement are an essential part of the political process in Madagascar. These modes of communication create and reflect a politics of ambivalence in which ambiguity and the maintenance of a shiftable position are key strategies for political success and survival.

Dr Freeman is also interested in humans’ relationships with animals, especially dogs, sheep and cattle and what these relationships can reveal about theories of mind and of co-evolution.

He also engages in research and debates around extractive industries’ relationships with indigenous and local people(s) living near extractive sites.

Media and Communication

Dr Freeman’s academic interest in communication, rhetoric and how people represent themselves means he is a regular commentator on anthropological topics in written and broadcast media.

Contributions to BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent include:

Topics addressed in national and international broadcast and written media include: dreams, droving, famine, family trees, heraldry, language, political leadership, social class and television.


Dr Freeman is responsible for the highly popular undergraduate and masters option Communication & Culture.

He is a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Education Committee.

He has previously taught for several years at the London School of Economics and at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Selected Publications

  • ‘Speech, silence, and slave descent in highland Madagascar.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Volume 9, Issue 3. (2013)
  • ‘Separation, connection and the ambiguous nature of émigré houses in rural highland Madagascar.’ Home Cultures. Volume 10, Number 2. (2013)
  • ‘Tendances, caractéristiques et impacts de la migration rurale-urbain à Antananarivo, Madagascar.’ UNICEF (2010)
  • ‘Revolts and protests in Madagascar (19th & 20th centuries)’ in International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest (ed. I. Ness). New York: Blackwell Publishing. (2009)
  • ‘Free, prior and informed consent: implications for sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin’ in Governing Africa’s forests in a globalized world (eds. German, Karsenty & Tiana). London: Earthscan (2009)
  • ‘Why are some people powerful?’ in Questions of Anthropology (eds. Astuti, Parry & Stafford), London: Berg (2007)
  • ‘Voleurs de foies, voleurs de cœurs à Madagascar’ Terrain 43:85-106 (2004)

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