1932

Abstract

As complex institutions extend into and govern greater spheres of social life, ethnographers contend with policy in an ever-widening range of fieldsites. This review examines anthropology of policy as an emerging subfield of political anthropology, focusing on policy making as central to contemporary governance in English-language ethnographies. Broadening the analytical field in the study of policy to include the targets of policy and their allies is one of the central contributions of an anthropological approach to policy making. Anthropological studies of policy production, implementation, and effects face significant methodological and ethical challenges. Scholarly debates in the United States and Europe continue to erupt over the production of scholarship intended to inform policy making, including the co-option of ethnography. While turning the anthropological gaze on powerful political actors could contribute to decolonization efforts within the discipline, ethically adopting ethnographic research into policy making requires complex alliances with communities targeted by policy.

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2020-10-21
2024-06-14
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