Pierre Lienard has conducted in-depth ethnographic research amongst pastoralists of East Africa on their collective rituals, political systems, and institutions. Lienard has focused part of his research agenda on the study of individual and collective ritualized behavior — and the latter’s role in the process of symbolic evocation and the establishment of leadership and authority. He is also investigating precaution psychology, cooperation, coalitional dynamics, coordination, and trust exchange in conditions of environmental and political uncertainty in decentralized or weakly centralized systems.
Lienard’s research has systematically addressed three major topics: the study of informal institutional designs for social complexity, precaution and trust allocation in an uncertain world, and coalitional dynamics and coordination. The investigation of those research questions has required a particular framework involving ethnographic comparison between developing and developed worlds, oscillation between ethnography and experimental method, and consilience of disciplines (anthropology, evolutionary and cognitive psychologies, behavioral ecology, and institutional studies).
Lienard has been published in high-profile publications and first-tier journals (e.g., Behavioral and Brain Sciences, American Anthropologist, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review, Oxford University Press, and PLoS ONE).
Ph.D. : Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, Social Sciences, Anthropology (2003)
Cultural anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, social complexity, cultural evolution, decentralized social and political systems, cooperation, trust and social capital, precaution psychology, ecology of decision-making, cognition, ritualized behavior, East Africa.