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Open access

Workshop Scribbles, Policy Work and Impact

Anthropological Sensibilities in Praxis at an FASD Workshop

Michelle Stewart

This article reports on a workshop that was held with frontline workers in Canada and discusses the role of anthropological sensibilities as they inform research, community engagement and policy outcomes. The workshop brought together frontline workers to discuss foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a complex and lifelong disability – one that often raises social-justice concerns. The goal was to facilitate a space in which participants could share their experiences and potentially bring about better outcomes for people living with this disability. The article focuses on the workshop in relationship to anthropological sensibilities, anchored in lateral research practices, with attention to poly-vocality and relational ways of understanding, all of which inform our practice and potential impacts. This article critically analyses the role of applied research as it is informed by other disciplines and concurrently constrained by different forces.

Free access

Abigail Baim-Lance and Cecilia Vindrola-Padros

Academic funding bodies are increasingly measuring research impact using accountability and reward assessments. Scholars have argued that frameworks attempting to measure the use-value of knowledge production could end up influencing the selection of research topics, limiting research agendas, and privileging linear over complex research designs. Our article responds to these concerns by calling upon insights from anthropology to reconceptualise impact. We argue that, to conduct socially beneficial studies, impact needs to be turned from a product to an inclusive process of engagement. Anthropology's epistemologically and methodologically rich tradition of ethnography offers a particularly apposite set of tools to achieve this goal. We present three concrete examples of how we have used ethnography to impact on the work we carry out, particularly in shaping multidisciplinary team-based research approaches.

Open access

Navigating the sustainability landscape

Impact pathways and the sustainability ethic as moral compass

Matthew Archer

People who work in sustainability are usually motivated, to some extent, by a desire to generate positive impacts in the “real world.” These social and environmental impacts are one of the main reasons they choose to pursue careers in

Restricted access

From philanthropy to impact investing

The case of Luxembourg

Shirlita Espinosa

the benefits host countries and its migrants stand to gain if the diaspora made investments that have impact on development ( Newland & Tanaka, 2010 ). Packaged for the national development of sending countries, the campaign has been promoted by

Free access

Grégory Dallemagne, Víctor del Arco, Ainhoa Montoya, and Marta Pérez

This commentary seeks to engage the issue of 'impact' in social anthropology by scrutinising the topic of open access. Drawing on the discussions that took place at the international conference 'FAQs about Open Access: The Political Economy of Knowledge in Anthropology and Beyond', held in October 2014 in Madrid, we suggest that addressing the topic of open access allows a two-fold goal. On one hand, it elucidates that public debates about open access rely on a rather minimalist notion of openness that does not yield an adequate understanding of what is at stake in those debates. On the other, we argue that expanding the notion of openness does not only allow us to revisit the debate concerning what we do as academics, how we do it and what its value is, but also to do so going beyond current notions of 'impact' and 'public value' underpinned by the principle of economic efficiency in a context of increasingly reduced research funds.

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Documenting Impact

An Impact Case Study of Anthropological Collaboration in Tobacco Control

Andrew Russell and Sue Lewis

In this article we consider the 'impact case study' (ICS) as a specific kind of document, one which, as part of the U.K.'s Research Excellence Framework (REF), enforces a common template for the description and measurement of the social and economic effects of research in U.K. higher education. We track the development of an ICS describing anthropological research in tobacco control which, after many iterations, was not submitted as part of the REF. We ask 'what is impact?' in cases where anthropological research is based on principles of collaboration and serendipity rather than the mechanistic 'research > translation > impact > measurement' model which an ICS is expected to follow. What is included and what excluded by the strictures of such a model? We are generally supportive of the impact agenda, feeling that university resources and activities have a vital role to play in progressive social change. However, the way 'impact' is recorded, appraised and measured in an ICS only captures a small proportion of the effects of anthropological research, and encourages particular forms of public engagement while discounting others.

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The price of impact

Reflections on academic outreach amid the ‘refugee crisis’

Ruben Andersson

Ever since the ‘refugee crisis’ hit European shores, policymakers, journalists and politicians have sought out knowledge on ‘unwanted’ migration and ‘what to do about it’. As influential people knock on academic doors – at times seeking out anthropologists, such as this author – how should we engage, and under what conditions? The seemingly endless rounds of panel debates, conferences and other policy‐focused outreach pull academics towards ‘high‐level’ engagements, while short‐term or politically driven ‘emergency’ funding pushes us towards narrowly defined research objectives. Meanwhile, the ‘impact’ agenda – most developed in the UK, yet increasingly encroaching on other academic ecosystems – is shifting institutional incentives towards specific forms of scholarly activity. This article builds an ‘auto‐ethnographic’ account of my own experiences of crossing the borders of anthropology at a time of perceived migratory crisis and increasing impact calls. Delineating the pitfalls and risks of ‘capture’ by policy agendas, the article argues for active navigation of the borderlands between academia and its various publics. For anthropologists to wrest some control, I suggest, we must be willing to take risks and get our hands dirty; strategically deploy our ethnographic sensibilities to the full; and stand ready to apply our analytical skills to powerful systems – including, not least, to the impact agenda itself.

Open access

Barbara Robertson and Mark J. Flowers

classroom instruction outside of the classroom. This study investigates the impact of lecture videos on student outcomes. Lecture capture technology 2 was used to produce the videos for multiple online and face-to-face sections of an ‘Introduction to

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The International Circulation and Impact of Invasion Fiction

Case Study of William Le Queux's The Invasion of 1910 – ‘Not an ordinary “pot-boiler”’

Ailise Bulfin

into the extent of the text's circulation and the nature of reader responses to it, illuminating the international reception and socio-cultural impact of this divisive, polemical work before and during WWI. André Lardinois et al. define ‘the reception

Free access

Samantha Page and Marilyn Strathern

Introduction As part of my ‘impact editor’ role for Anthropology in Action I approached Professor Marilyn Strathern to seek her personal reflections on the impact agenda related to her own experiences working as head of department, at Manchester