This panel explores how anthropological analyses of policies might shed light on larger processes of governance, power and social change in Europe and the world today.
Policy provides a framework for re-conceptualising the field of anthropological research: not as a bounded geographical entity but as a space of flows articulated by relations of power. Policies connect disparate actors and institutions across time and space. These actors may not know one another or be aware of their effects on each other, yet they constitute describable configurations or networks of relations. These are the worlds that policies construct. They are arbitrary, fluid, ephemeral and multi-sited and are in a state of continual negotiation. One of the aims of an anthropology of policy is to understand the organising principles and forms of power that govern these worlds. The concept of an anthropology of policy was first developed at the 1996 EASA conference in Oslo. Since then many anthropologists have contributed to its advance. This workshop aims to draw together new case studies and assess these theoretical and methodological developments. <br/>The panel seeks papers that explore the history of specific policies and the way they work. Participants are encouraged to address some of the following questions: <br/>How should we theorise the concept of policy worlds or the different kinds of actors (people, documents, institutions, legislation, systems and mechanisms for policy implementation) involved? What visions of moral order are embodied in policies, and how are these articulated and contested? What is the nature of the relationship between policy-makers and the institutions and individuals they seek to change? How do actors shape and react to the policy processes within which they are positioned? When and why do the regimes of truth that policy discourses create become disrupted? Can we identity the causes of or critical moments that lead to a break or rupture in a dominant policy narrative? How might the analysis of small policies shed light on larger processes of change in Europe and the world today?