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

By Katy Gardner, David Lewis

Through unique case reports and the problems raised by means of 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 by Gardner, Katy, Lewis, David (1996) Paperback

Sample text

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.

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.

3 Evans­Pritchard, in an article written in 1946, bemoaned the fact that in the previous 15 years of work in the Sudan he had never once been asked his opinion about anything by the authorities there. ).  This was a different type of anthropology from that which most practitioners were prepared to undertake.  Gulliver's comments, particularly towards the end of the passage quoted above, also reflect continuing tensions within the discipline between theory and practice and illustrate the dilemma which still haunts many anthropologists considering working in development today.

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