Dr Andrea Butcher
Postdoctoral Research Associate


Research interests

My research has always been interdisciplinary in approach, with a background covering anthropology, international politics and development studies, religious studies, and more recently, human/non-human animal relationships. I have contributed research to Himalayan and South Asian anthropology; environment and development studies; climate anthropology; disaster studies; sacred landscapes and their materialities; and the durability of magic and ritual ceremony in contemporary democracies. My methodologies are influenced by Science and Technologies Studies, ontological anthropology, and approaches to wellbeing. Most recently, I have developed an interest in how vernacular geologies can influence the decisions and interventions societies make with regards to economic and sustainable development.

My doctoral thesis was funded by an AHRC Studentship and a fieldwork grant from the Frederick Williams Memorial Fund, and examines the impact of state and civil society-delivered development programmes upon Tibetan Buddhist practice in Ladakh, North-West India. It focuses upon social and institutional attempts to integrate new forms of material and sustainable development, democratic government, and contemporary economics according to the doctrinal and ethical principles of religious governance, and the impact this has upon pre-existing ritual and ceremonial performances. The research contributes to an anthropology of development by discussing the ways that religious and ethical traditions influence the choices a society makes about development and its purposes. It also contributes to anthropological discussions of climate, conservation, and disaster by examining local narratives and vernacular registers of increasing climate instability, associated impacts, and the perceived causes.

Research projects

My current project opens up a new area of research for me to pursue within the themes of development and environment: public health. I currently act as postdoctoral researcher for the ESRC-Funded project Production Without Medicalisation (2017-2019). The research seeks to address one of the contemporary challenges faced globally: antimicrobial resistance. Working collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team of academics, industry experts, and local NGO expertise the aim is to generate knowledge on the uses of and socio-economic drivers for antibiotic use in Bangladeshi aquaculture, with the purpose of working with local farmers to develop interventions for monitoring usage and developing disease management strategies that can be disseminated using a farm-based tool. Amongst other objectives, the research contributes to the global challenge to minimise antimicrobial resistance and its potential threat to human, non-human animal, and environmental health.

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