Thursday, August 17, 2006

What can anthropology contribute to policy?

Mark Kleinman of The Reality Based Community discusses what anthropologists need to do to be taken seriously by policy makers:

  1. Adopt a scientific perspective. I see no reason why anyone outside the rarefied world of academia should pay any attention to the work of scholars who argue that facts are unknowable, theories are untestable, or framing, perspective, and interpretation are all that count.

  2. Eliminate political agendas from research. Policy makers seek to base their decisions on reliable observations. [Ed: Ha ha ha ha!]

  3. Broaden the scope of the peoples investigated. Anthropology has a remarkable methodological tool kit at its disposable. Why is it that anthropologists feel compelled to focus on the smallest, oddest, or most marginal groups within any given nation-state?

  4. Read, understand, and communicate with scholars in the broader world of behavioral science.

See here for further details.

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