Accepted paper:

Communicating anthropology in educational contexts


Brian Street (King's College, University of London)
Hilary Callan

Paper short abstract:

We will look at 'anthropology in education', drawing on the UK experience of developing a new GCE A level; and 'anthropology of education' looking at the implications of this for international policy on education. Conclusions make connections with the Western Enlightenment tradition.

Paper long abstract:

Interest is growing internationally (see panel at IUAES World Congress in August 2013) in communicating anthropology outside the framework of University-level teaching and research, in education at pre-University level and among non-specialist audiences: 'anthropology in education'. Using the UK experience of developing a new GCE A level as a case study, the discourses involved in bringing the A level to fruition and acceptance by UK public and educational authorities will be summarised. Equally, educational processes and practice have themselves emerged as a focus of anthropological study: 'anthropology of education' and we will look at the implications of this for international policy on education, with specific reference to Unesco's Education for All and OECD's PISA Reports. These dominant policy perspectives tend to isolate learning from its social context and focus on 'schooling' and the skills that can then be ranked. An anthropological approach emphasises, rather, the social practices associated with learning out of school as well as in formal educational settings. How the rich research developed in this anthropological framework can contribute to the policy perspective and broaden the view of education is a key issue in contemporary international debate. Drawing on these fields, the Panellists will discuss issues encountered in representing anthropological concepts to non-specialist, audiences, ranging from pre-university, to international policy. Conclusions will be drawn on how anthropological ideas may connect with the (sometimes contested) aims and values of education within the Western Enlightenment tradition.

panel P67
Anthropology in and of education: implications for representations of human nature