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Kregg Hetherington, PhD

Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Kregg Hetherington, PhD

Research interests

Dr. Kregg Hetherington is the Concordia University Research Chair in Environmental Ethnography. His research specializes in experimental ethnographic practices and the politics of environment, infrastructure and the bureaucratic state. His recent book, The Government of Beans (Duke 2020) won three awards, including the Rachel Carson Book Prize from the Society for the Social Study of Science.

Kregg's long-term ethnographic work in Paraguay chronicles how small farmers caught in a sweeping agrarian transition have experienced that country's halting transition to democracy, showing how activists create new ways of thinking and practising government, which has led to two books, Guerrilla Auditors and the Government of Beans.

Kregg is also director of the Concordia Ethnography Lab, where he runs a collaborative project called Montreal Waterways, which aims to understand Montreal’s changing relationship with water as a defining feature of its environment and infrastructure. Since 2022, the lab leads a larger matrix of similar collaborative initiatives around North America, aiming to promote experimental and collaborative methods in anthropology and adjacent disciplines. 

He supervises graduate students working ethnographically in a wide range of areas, including environment and infrastructure studies, Science and Technology Studies, Latin American agrarian politics, and the ethnography of bureaucracy.

Primary research and teaching foci

  • Environment and Infrastructure
  • Politics of scientific and expert knowledge and government regulation
  • Social movements, international development and the state
  • Corruption, transparency and bureaucracy
  • Paraguayan and Latin American history and politics
  • Agriculture and food politics
  • Water Infrastructure

2020 The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of Monocrops. Durham: Duke University Press
2011. Guerrilla Auditors: The Politics of Transparency in Neoliberal Paraguay. Durham: Duke University Press

Teaching activities


Kregg teaches undergraduate classes in anthropological theory, post-humanism and environment, the anthropology of science and technology, and ethnographic writing.

At the graduate level, he teaches ethnographic form, decolonial anthropology, and the professional development seminar


Selected publications


2020 The Government of Beans: Regulating Life in the Age of monocrops. Durham: Duke University Press.

2019 Infrastructure, Environment and Life in the Anthropocene. Edited volume with Duke University Press.

2015 Auditores Campesinos: transparencia, democracia y neoliberalismo en Paraguay. Asunción: CERI y ServiLibro. (Translation of Guerrilla Auditors, with a new Epilogue.Translation by Carolina Castillo).

2011 Guerrilla Auditors: The Politics of Transparency in neoliberal Paraguay. Durham: Duke University Press.

2005 Cultivating Utopia: Organic Farmers in a Conventional Landscape. Halifax: Fernwood Press.


Articles and Book Chapters

2020 "Agribiopolitics: Plant and Human Health in the Age of Monocrops," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

2019 “How do Environmental Harms Become Political?” For Routledge Companion to Actor Network Theory, eds Celia Roberts,Ignacio Farras and Anders Blok.

2019 “A Monopoly on Killing: Soy, Labour and the Long Green Revolution.” In How Nature Works, eds Alexandre Blanchette and Sarah Besky. Santa Fe: University of New Mexico Press.

2019“Keywords for the Anthropocene.” For Infrastructure, Environment and Life in theAnthropocene. Editedvolume under contract with Duke University Press.

2018 “Peasants, Experts, Clients, and Soybeans: The Fixing of Paraguay’sCivil Service,” Current Anthropology (49: 18S)

2016 “La Soja ante la Ley: Prácticas deconocimiento, responsabilidad y el boom de la soja en Paraguay.” Revista Paraguay desde las Ciencias Sociales7: 177-203. (translation by Alejandra Estigarribia)

2016 “Surveying the Future Perfect: Anthropology,Development and the Promise of Infrastructure,” in Infrastructures and Social Complexity: ARoutledge Companion. Eds. Penny Harvey, Casper Bruun Jensen & AtsuroMorita. Pgs 40-50. London: Routledge.

2014 “Nature,Infrastructure and the State: Rethinking development in Latin America” withJeremy Campbell. Journal of LatinAmerican and Caribbean Anthropology 19(2).

2014 “Regular Soybeans: Translation and framingin the regulation of a mega-crop.” Indiana Journal ofGlobal Legal Studies, 21(1): 55-78.

2014 “La contra-reforma agraria en el Paraguay” in Capitalismo: terra e poder na America Latina(1982-2012). Vol.1, Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay.  Edited by Guillermo Almeyra, João MárcioMendes Pereira, Luciano Concheiro, Carlos Walter Porto-Gonçalves.  Buenos Aires: Peña Lillo Continente y CLACSO.

2013 “Beans Before theLaw: Knowledge Practices, Responsibility, and the Paraguayan soy boom.” Cultural Anthropology 28(1): 65-85.

2012 “Tierra malhabida y el engaño de lainstitucionalidad.” NovaPolis 5: 31-54.

2012 “Agency, Scaleand Information.” Political and LegalAnthropology Review, 35(2): 241-246.

2012 “Promising Information: Democracy,Development and the Remapping of Latin America.” Economy and Society 41(2):127-150.

2009 “The strategic incoherence of development:Marketing expertise in the World Development Report.” Journal of PeasantStudies 36(3): 665-673.

2009 “Privatizing the Private in Rural Paraguay:Precarious Lots and the Materiality of Rights.” American Ethnologist36(2): 224-241.

2008 “Populist Transparency: the Documentationof Reality in Rural Paraguay.” Journal of Legal Anthropology 1(1):45-69.

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