Engagement beyond critique? anthropological perspectives on participation and community

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In response to academic ideals of neutrality, complexity and cultural relativism promoted in postmodern cultural critique, different attempts have been made to make anthropology more “engaged” in the promotion of social change. In this article, we discuss three contemporary positions on anthropological engagement: policy-oriented activist research, feminist inspired collaborative research, and what we have chosen to call research for alterity and alternatives. Each of these approaches engage with the concepts of community and participation, two terms which require cautiousness and critical scrutiny, we argue. While each approach to anthropological engagement is valuable in its own right, their application requires careful consideration and knowledge about the contemporary political climate, which in many places is characterized by growing segregation and antagonism between different groups and communities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConjunctions : transdisciplinary journal of cultural participation
Pages (from-to)1-13
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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