Accepted paper:

Whither anthropology in public policy?: an Indian experience


Soumendra Patnaik (University of Delhi)

Paper short abstract:

This paper traces the role of anthropology in public policy, administration and governance.

Paper long abstract:

This paper traces the role of anthropology in public policy with special reference to administration and governance of issues regarding indigenous communities in India from colonial to contemporary times. The relationship between anthropology and governance is rather skewed. The national discourses on use, location and implications of anthropological knowledge has undergone several shifts as it has been shuttling between several government departments like ministry of Home Affairs, Tourism, Human Resources and Culture signifying ambiguities in the minds of policy makers about its application. With globalization and the increasing role of international organizations, anthropology has re-entered the debates in significant ways especially with regard to development concerns. Based on my research in different parts of India both with government and civil society organizations, I critically look at the ways development practices are shaped by anthropology and anthropologists and how and why anthropology's contribution remains invisible. The paper seeks to examine the ways in which anthropologists as consultant or advisors work in an interdisciplinary team, interact and mutually inform each other in everyday practice.

panel G12
Beyond anthropology