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Anthropology, Development and the Post-Modern Challenge by Katy Gardner, David Lewis

By Katy Gardner, David Lewis

Through particular case experiences and the problems raised via them, Gardner and Lewis define key social matters and difficulties of improvement, and finish that anthropological views can give a contribution certainly to improvement coverage and practice.

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Extra info for Anthropology, Development and the Post-Modern Challenge

Sample text

Eric Wolf has pointed out that: 'Applied anthropology, by definition, represents a reaction against cultural relativism, since it does not regard the culture that is applying anthropology as the equal of the culture to which anthropology is to be applied' (1964: 24). The implications of this debate are still being felt among many anthropologists in academic departments around the world: between those who favour a more open­ ended theoretical development of the discipline through prolonged fieldwork, and those who, crudely speaking, might see anthropology as a tool for social engineering or, as we ourselves might prefer to put it, are trying to help raise living standards – not only in material terms, but with regard Page 29 to legal rights, freedom of expression, quality of life – for the poorer sections of the world's population.

In the US, opportunities for applied anthropology originated through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which became a sponsoring body for research into local customs, political institutions and landholding patterns and rights.  The gradual professionalisation and institutionalisation of development after the Second World War led to the creation of formal opportunities for applied anthropologists to work in development agencies or as private development consultants.  We conclude by considering the various ways in which anthropologists have been deployed within development (as consultants, advisors and researchers) and we suggest the direction that applied anthropology might take in the future.

We suggest that another is the politics of poverty.  We assume that these are inherently problematic; indeed, some aspects of development are actively destructive and disempowering.  Before discussing how this might be done, let us turn to the history of applied anthropology.  Others sought careers outside academia in sectors where their skills could be utilised on a longer­term basis, working in fields as diverse as industry, agriculture, conservation and defence.  In the US, opportunities for applied anthropology originated through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which became a sponsoring body for research into local customs, political institutions and landholding patterns and rights.

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