Through histories and case studies, this panel will consider the trajectory and extension of applied anthropology from its colonial European roots in social anthropology to its status as the modern American fifth-field.
In spite of the differing structure of Anthropology in Europe and the US, both began with practical research, as part of the colonial endeavour. In the context of applied anthropology, why then did anthropology disappear into the academy in the mid 20th century? And why and how did the discipline once again branch out of its university cloisters? In part, the general maturing of the discipline has seen the move of researchers from rural to urban, from exotic to mundane, from far away to close to home, and from theoretical to practical, if such distinctions can be maintained. And in these shifts, there have arisen stigmas and biases concerning the nature of the real anthropologists and real anthropology: applied anthropology and applied anthropologists sometimes considered no-longer anthropologists have suffered from this in their own particular fashion. Applied anthropologists suffer the Janus-faced task of accounting for their status, actions and knowledge accumulation to their informants as well as their fellows. With this history and these experiences and struggles in mind, this panel seeks to explore the relationship between social anthropology and applied anthropology. Submissions are thus welcome in the following areas: history and development of applied anthropology worldwide; case studies in applied anthropology; the relationship between applied anthropology/anthropologists and academic anthropology/anthropologists (personal narratives are welcome); the publication and assessment of applied anthropology; the development of applied anthropology outlets (such as Anthropology in Action, Practising Anthropology); the relationship between applied anthropology and humanistic anthropology; the relationship between theory and method through applied anthropology (from PRA to activity-based ethnography).
Applied anthropology and interdisciplinary action research: the case of the PETREA programme on agroforestry