Anthropologists behaving badly? Impact and the politics of evaluation in an era of accountability

Mitchell, Jon P (2014) Anthropologists behaving badly? Impact and the politics of evaluation in an era of accountability. Etnográfica, 18 (2). pp. 275-297. ISSN 0873-6561

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Abstract

This paper discusses the move within UK social science funding to use non-academic ‘impact’ as a measure of quality and success for social research. It suggests that behind this move are a set of unspoken assumptions about what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ impact, and the paper seeks to problematize these. By way of provocation, it presents three classic cases of anthropological research, in which the impact of anthropologists on the societies in which they worked was at worst reprehensible, and at best controversial. These controversies – Darkness in El Dorado, the Human Terrain System and Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood – are used to demonstrate the difficulty with which we can assess impacts as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and the problems with attempting to do so.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
Depositing User: Jon Mitchell
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2014 07:53
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 05:09
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/49939

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