By Katy Gardner, David Lewis
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Extra info for Anthropology, Development and the Post-Modern Challenge
Barnett, 1956: 37). ). However, although it is clear that anthropologists in the US had begun to adopt a sense of responsibility towards addressing some of the issues of wider society, as an editorial pointed out some 15 years later, applied work in the early 1940s still tended towards a static perspective, with anthropologists rarely seeking to try to explain social change (Human Organisation, 1956: 1–3). This idea led anthropologists to examine change in terms of contacts between cultures, which led to such new ideas as 'syncretism', where old features blended with the new, or 'deculturation', where aspects of culture were lost altogether.
One of RadcliffeBrown's main motivations was the reduction of conflict between whites and blacks in South Africa and he emphasised a potential role for anthropology in con Page 30 tributing to better cultural understanding between communities (Kuper, 1983). Some anthropologists were commissioned to undertake specific research on prescribed areas of government interest, others provided information and suggestions on a regular or haphazard basis and out of a variety of motivations, ranging from critical support for colonial administrations to the attempted subversion of the 'system' from within.
An interesting example of this trait (and one which we discuss later, in Chapter 5) is anthropology's lateness in contributing to recent debates in the social sciences about what have been termed the 'new social movements' and particularly to questions about people's political and cultural struggles in pursuit of social and economic goals (Escobar, 1992: 397). A second obstacle which stood in the way of developing an applied anthropology was the issue of cultural relativism, which was stronger in the US than in Britain.