Django Jazz Guitar
Recent Notes:                                                      Cousin Alex Online Busking
°Recent Poems - Covid Ripped the Covers Off & Strange New World (with Shivji Response)
°Special Issue on Theory of Access now out with Peluso and Ribot Postscript
°Bella Ciao sang by Marc Ribot

My current research is on the social and political-economic causes of precarity and social suffering in natural-resource-dependent communities. I explore these problems through case studies of struggles over natural resource access, attempts to establish local democracy, and communities at risk in the face of climate stress. My fieldwork has been in the West African Sahel – mostly in Eastern Senegal. I have also conducted comparative studies across Africa and in Asia and Latin America. I like to recount the findings of my research through books, articles, films, policy briefs, editorials, rhyming stories, sculpture, teaching and lectures. 

I come to this work with a background in physics and linguistics, followed by training in energy and environmental policy, and then in human geography. I have served on faculties of geography, anthropology and environmental studies. I draw mostly on the methods of sociology, anthropology and geography. Since August 2018 I am on the faculty in the School of International Service at American University in DC.  

This web page provides access to my main works.


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Climate of Anxiety in the Sahel: Emigration in Xenophobic Times

Jesse Ribot, Papa Faye, Matthew D. Turner

Public Culture



Social Causality of our Common Climate Crisis: Toward a Sociodicy for the Anthropocene

Ribot, Jesse



A Theory of Access Revisited

Peluso, Nancy and Jesse Ribot

Society & Natural Resources


Trends in research on forestry decentralization policies

Lund, Jens Friis, Rebecca Rutt and Jesse Ribot

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability


Children of another land: social disarticulation, access to natural resources and the reconfiguration of authority in post resettlement

Milgroom, Jessica and Jesse Ribot

Society & Natural Resources


Ontologies of Occlusion in the Anthropocene

Ribot, Jesse

Current Anthropology


I study decentralization and democratic local government; natural resource tenure and access; distribution along natural resource commodity chains; household vulnerability in the face of climate change; and the relation between causality and responsibility, blame, liability and response.


Through my research I have developed in-situ research-based education programs that I call ‘Higher Education through Comparative Research’. My programs have trained over eighty young scholars in their own countries to conduct in-depth policy research and to translate that research into scholarly writing and policy-relevant briefs and seminars.


This page contains recent ongoing and completed research and research-related initiatives. For a full listing of research initiatives and outcomes, see Curriculum Vitae

Guggenheim Project: Cause and Blame in the Anthropocene

How the causes and causal analytics of climate crises become problematic and contested due to their links to responsibility, blame and possible response.

Migration: Local Democracy and Migration Risk in Africa
Migration, Climate and Local Democracy in Africa: Political Representation under a Changing Sky

Local government’s role – the function of political representation – in generating or reducing the current trends in which vulnerable people are migrating out of areas where climate variability is viewed as a driver of outmigration.

ICARUS -- Initiative for Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences
Initiative for Climate Action Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences

Vulnerability and adaptation theory in order to improve understanding of the inter-related concepts of vulnerability and adaptation.



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