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Anthropologists and geographers engaging in public policy and practice 
Emma Crewe (SOAS, London)
Gerhard Anders (University of Edinburgh)
Ruba Salih (SOAS)
Richard Axelby (SOAS)
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Advocacy and Activism
Thursday 17 September, 16:30-18:00

Short Abstract:

The key questions for this panel are why, how, and when coalitions of anthropologists and geographers can have value, influence and impact in policy-making and practice, whether through employment, teaching, research, partnership, advice, support, protest, subversion or critical engagement.

Long Abstract

Sociology should have a sense of history and great historians are sociological (Bourdieu), while Ingold describes anthropology as philosophy with the people still in. But don't anthropology and geography need each other just as much? If anthropology is the study of social worlds where the everyday realities of its inhabitants are the starting point, then their navigation of space has to be part of our engaged inquiry. This panel is for both academics and policy/practitioners (and those who consider themselves both), from anthropology or geography, interested in cross-disciplinary collaboration, and from / in the UK and/or overseas.

As committee members of the RAI's new Committee on Policy and Practice, we welcome papers on any policy topic of global concern but are currently prioritising: (a) ethics and integrity - in what ways do these disciplines offer a nuanced approach to moral questions that is sensitive to context and inequalities? (b) climate crisis - what cultural, historical and geographical knowledge about people's relationship with the environment might help us understand and take action? (c) the state - how might geographers and anthropologists in coalition transform the study and reform of political institutions and processes? (d) mobilities - in what ways might taking seriously the narratives, memories, and imaginaries of refugees lead to different government policies and practices? How might anthropologists and geographers help each other to gain greater influence over policy and practice?

Accepted papers: