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Anthropology and Development: Reflections on Constraints & Opportunities for Social Change.

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Presentation on theme: "Anthropology and Development: Reflections on Constraints & Opportunities for Social Change."— Presentation transcript:

1 Anthropology and Development: Reflections on Constraints & Opportunities for Social Change

2 B. Malinowski (1929):  ”There is a gap between the theoretical concerns of the anthropology of the schools on the one hand, and practical interests on the other. This gap must be bridged over…” (1929:22)  ”A new branch of anthropology must sooner or later be started: the anthropology of the changing Native” (1929:36)

3 E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1946):  ”…the anthropologist should restrict his research to the investigation of scientific problems for the reason that the value of social anthropology to the arts of politics and administration must depend on its theoretical advance” (1946:93)  ”…an anthropologist who acts as adviser, or consultant, to an administration should be a full member of it. He cannot advise the administration […] unless he knows the bureaucratic machinery from the inside…”

4 Anthropology and Social Change  The tradition of ethnographers/administrators  The anthropological guilt for the colonial legacy in the 1960s  The professional branch of anthropologists in development organisations 1970s  The debate on ’development anthropology’ vis-à-vis ’anthropology of development’ in the 1980s

5 Current concerns of anthropology and development…

6 Anthropological practice as ’development anthropology’  Analysis of micro-projects –NGO-support, grassroots organisations  Sectoral projects and programmes –E.g. Forestry, land management –E.g. Participation, gender  Planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation

7 Anthropological practice as ’development anthropology’ (continued)  Policy formulation, e.g. ”poor peoples’ perspectives”, ”gender and development” and ”rights-based approaches”  Anthropological careers in development? –Socio-cultural advisors and analysts in field offices –NGOs staff on human rights and social development more generally –Consultants for various organisations –Evaluators/advisors

8 Anthropological practice as ’anthropology of development’  Focus on discourse and globalisation of development –Escobar –Ferguson  Anthropology of modernity(ies) –Long & Arce –Grillo & Stirrat  A distinction bewteen anthropological analysis and practical development work  Less focus on the ethnography of development organisations - monolithic enterprise?

9 Anthropology of development organisations…  Ethnographic analysis of development organisations –Ethnography of aid (Crewe & Harrison) –Cultivating development (Mosse) –Socially entangled logics approach (Olivier de Sardan) –The aid effect (Lewis & Mosse)

10 But… …how to combine the approaches?  A division of labour between researchers and practitioners –Status and hierarchy –Material wealth and/or access to resources  Develop strategic alliances –Actors at HQ –Actors in host countries –Actors at field offices –Consultancy firms  Temporal division of labour –Academic production and drafting policy papers

11 The Anthropological Lens  Proximity and distance –Understand organisations and actors –Importance of withdrawing (cf. participant observation) –Life-long learning – the organisations and universities  Research agenda –Research on pertinent topics (e.g. LASDEL, Point Sud) and not merely consultancy work –Foster critical research in host countries –Feed back practical experience into academia…

12 Anthropology of development in the era of budget support  Less projects and programmes – more sector and budget support  Global ’good governance’ and local legitimacy –Conditionality and the dissolution of the distinction between the state and international organisations –Universalist ambitions and solutions –Less attention paid to local contexts –Anonymous aid and the need for the success story  Bad governance, corruption and when the backlash will come - refuting culturalist arguments!

13 Anthropology of development in the era of budget support (continued)  Theory and policy –Anthropology’s ambivalent success?  Method and technique –Another questionable success?  Insider/outsider as participant observer –Knowing the organisation from within –Discourses and everyday practices

14 Local democracy and the Bretton woods institutions A case of urban development in Burkina Faso

15 Deputy mayor

16 Municipal assembly

17 Funding prospects?

18 Municipal advisors

19 Anthropology and Development  Contexts and concepts  Inside and outside  Cultural analysis – not culturalist arguments on culture and tradition  The politics of good governance, partnership and Paris Declaration  Corruption and impunity  Non-normative position  Ethical issues

20 Thank you! Sten Hagberg Uppsala University


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