Accepted Paper:

Piggy in the middle muck: an anthropologist in the midst of marvellous (yet modest) mayhem  
Rosellen Roche (University of Southampton)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the relatively new trend of including young people in the making of policy in Northern Ireland by examining a recent EU-funded project. The author, anthropologist and previous head of this project, discusses the positives gained from including young people in work such as this.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the relatively new trend of including young people in the making of state funded measures and the on-going political processes in Northern Ireland. Drawing from a recent and successful attempt to include some of the most disadvantaged Catholic and Protestant young people in a youth-led survey project over three years in Derry/Londonderry as a case study, the author and previous Head of this project discusses the positives of gaining insight from young people in work such as this.

After describing the context in which these young people live, the paper explores the processes by which young people became involved in the project and how their input changed the outcomes of such measures substantially. The paper then moves to describe the 'middle' circumstance of the anthropologist both inside the project (negotiating the wishes of young people and the wishes of statisticians), and outside the project, describing initiatives following its aftermath (negotiating the wishes of policy makers with the reality of what the applied work revealed). Sometimes feeling 'neither fish nor fowl', the anthropologist on the case discusses the personal experience of navigating a constant middle and muddy ground, and how this mucky position provides a fascinating and valuable vantage point.

Panel W073
Applied anthropology: the old and the new