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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.

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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.

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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

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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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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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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

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Stefan Heiland, Silke Spielmans and Bernd Demuth

The article examines the relevance of demographic change for the development of rural landscapes, especially in Germany's shrinking regions. To date, no empirical investigations have undertaken the matter. Thus, the article is mainly based on literature analysis and the findings of expert workshops. The research indicates that demographic change does not have as strong impact on landscapes as other factors such as agricultural policy, climate change, and the promotion of renewable energies. Nonetheless, from the perspective of nature conservation, there might be some indirect effects caused by structural and institutional changes of administrations, which could lead to a decline in importance of landscape-related concerns. In addition, changes in environmental consciousness due to rising cultural diversity could lead to a different societal attitude toward landscapes and their values.

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Jan Berting and Christiane Villain-Gandossi

Since the advent of industrial society we have witnessed an ongoing debate into the nature of the relationship between technological and economic developments on the one hand, and societal changes or transformations on the other. We ask the question whether it is more important for society to comply with the exigencies of techno-economic developments, as implied by determinist techno-economic ways of thinking; or whether society, as an organised political system, has opportunities for choice when confronted by major impacts resulting from the reorganisation of production systems and international markets.

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Andrew K. Jorgenson, Brett Clark and Jennifer E. Givens

Drawing from emergent areas of sociological research and theorization, the authors consider the environmental impacts of militaries from a comparative-international perspective. The article begins with an overview of treadmill of production and treadmill of destruction theories, the latter of which highlights the expansionary tendencies and concomitant environmental consequences of militarization. This theoretical overview is followed by a narrative assessment of military growth and energy consumption, with a particular focus on the US military over the past century. Next, the authors detail the various environmental impacts associated with the growth and structure of national militaries, briefly discuss potential future research directions, and conclude by calling for scholars in future studies on society/nature relationships to seriously consider the environmental and ecological impacts of the world's militaries.

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Marc Abélès

This article addresses the issue of the influence of neoliberalism on French research institutions, especially the future of the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), a public organisation devoted exclusively to doing research. CNRS's detractors argue that there is no reason to keep a specific research organisation in France. The hiring of fewer and fewer researchers, as soon as the baby-boomers retire, means the disappearance of what is considered, at the European level, a French exception. In this paper I try to analyse the impact of the change occuring in research policy, and to characterise the specific features of the global ideological context.