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Michael G. Powell

By considering multiple perspectives on the problem of networking and networks in public policy circles, as well as the wider professional world, this article aims to both draw out and blur boundaries and definitions among multiple levels of networking as an analytic concept, a fieldwork method and a practice observed among policymakers. In making this distinction and explaining it in relation to theorisations of fieldwork rapport and 'complicity,' the article attempts to show that the distance and collegiality that defines professional networking is a viable and potentially quite insightful mode, means and method for conducting fieldwork, particularly for multisited anthropology of public policy projects. To that end, this article offers both conceptual ideas, as well as practical advice for conceiving and conducting fieldwork for an anthropology of public policy project.

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Unruly Experts

Methods and Forms of Collaboration in the Anthropology of Public Policy

Tara Schwegler and Michael G. Powell

We never seek out frustration, but it almost always finds us. Seasoned field researchers, anthropologists pride themselves on their ability to handle life’s curve balls, from visa problems to cultural misunderstandings to difficulties in gaining access to informants. These curve balls go hand in hand with the home runs: all are moments in fieldwork, wherever, however, and among whomever conducted, and each moment has a story.

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George E. Marcus

This article engages the current challenges that the ecology of designing and implementing ethnographic research today presents to the still powerful culture of method in anthropology, especially as it is manifested in the production of apprentice graduate dissertation research by anthropologists in the making. The Anthropology of Public Policy defines a recent and emerging terrain of anthropological research that challenges the culture of fieldwork/ethnographic method at the core of anthropology's practice and identity. Thus, what might emerge, in the author's view, is not a new or adjusted handbook of method, but a more far-reaching discussion of how the very function of ethnographic research shifts in response to this challenge in terms of collaboration and pedagogy.