Landon Yarrington

About Landon Yarrington

I am a sociocultural anthropologist with training in historical and applied anthropology. My enduring intellectual interest in anthropology can be communicated in the following question: How does structure enable and limit individuals to see symbolic dimensions of practices, relations, and processes that may be manipulated for their benefit within a locally hierarchized world? In other words, I am interested in how folks create opportunities to put feathers in their caps. What structural elements determine how folks create such opportunities? What determines the success or failure of seizing such opportunities? And what gets recognized as "feathers" in the first place? These questions can be applied to historical as well as contemporary subjects, and seem especially relevant in systems where social differentiation and stratification is not readily explained by formal economics.

I am committed to ethnography as the best mode of presenting research findings. Nothing beats a good ethnography. In this, I hope to contibute to an intellectual tradition that has established an empirical record of the role of symbols in systems of stratification.

Selected Publications


Yarrington, Landon. 2015. “The Paved and the Unpaved: Toward a Political Economy of Infrastructure, Mobility, and Urbanization in Haiti,” Economic Anthropology 2(1): 185-204.

Other publications:

“The (Im)possibility of Time Travel: Haiti’s Pre- and Post-Earthquake Futures,” New West Indian Guide 86(3&4), pp. 302-308. Review article examining three recent books on Haiti and the country’s development, from the departure of Aristide to the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake.

“The Logic of Triage in Humanitarian Action.” Published in the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) November 2011 Newsletter, and available online:

“Duvalier and the Spectacle of Sovereignty.” Published online at The Guardian, 3 February 2011:

“Port-au-Prince or Port-au-President?” Published online at The Root, 11 August 2010:

[Book Review] 1959: The Year That Inflamed the CaribbeanNew West Indian Guide 85(1&2), pp. 93-95.

Areas of Study

Haiti; Grenada; Montserrat; Caribbean; Latin America; North America

Research Interests

Social stratification; mobility; political economy; peasantries; land tenure; marketing; systems of provisioning; infrastructure; transportation; the state; modernity