The article investigates the impact of anthropology consultancy activities in the UK university sector and the role of the UK Department for International Development (DfID) as a major provider of consultancy work. DfID and other donors see anthropology consultancy as useful primarily in the delivery of technical assistance to Third World projects with a community or social development dimension. The article points to tensions both between UK-based consultancy and ‘grassroots’ development in the Third World, and between applied anthropology and the relative autonomy of anthropology as an academic discipline. The author suggests that a necessary precondition for understanding the contribution of anthropology to policy is the need to overcome the unwillingness by practitioners to question politically the power relationships within which the social sciences, anthropology, and commissioned activities themselves are located. The primary purpose of the paper is to open up a debate on the relationship between power, knowledge, empowerment, and consultancy work.
This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis.
How to cite this resource
Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context. You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:
Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL
Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.