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Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Applied anthropology: a viable career path?  
Roger Ballard (Centre for Applied South Asian Studies)

Paper short abstract:

Ethnic colonies are now a salient feature of every European jurisdiction, and are widely are regarded as presenting unacceptable threats to their socio-cultural integrity. Can Anthropological insights be expected help to oil the wheels of these contradictions, or is this a vain hope?

Paper long abstract:

As an anthropologically trained analyst of developments within UK South Asian ethnic colonies during the forty years, on the basis of which I have regularly sought to comment on the challenges to social policy precipitated by the introduction of new dimensions of plurality into the established social order, my career as an 'applied anthropologist' has been distinctly chequered.

Never having held an appointment in a Department of Anthropology, I took early retirement from my post in a Department of Religions and Theology in 2002. Since then I have reinvented myself as a Consultant Anthropologist, earning my living by preparing expert reports for use in legal proceedings involving South Asian litigants. In that role I receive a constant flow of ethnographic data in the form of briefs from solicitors; yet more insights arise as my reports are reduced as grist to the mill in the adversarial (and deeply insular) processes of English Law. Business is booming - as is my capacity to produce academic commentaries on plurality and its consequences.

But does this mean that there is a prospect of neophytes following in my footsteps? I doubt it. Now that community cohesion and anti-terrorism have become the touchstones of social policy, public policy identifies ethnic plurality as a problem to be eliminated, rather than as a de facto reality. Even more seriously, there is still no viable means by means whereby neophytes can access the ethnographic database, or the theoretical and conceptual perspectives which are a prerequisite for effective professional practice.

Panel W077
Public anthropology for a world in crisis
  Session 1