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Panel 15: New challenges, new boundaries: the adaption of anthropology


Emma Gilberthorpe

Session presentation

The debate concerning the boundaries of anthropology and anthropologists has been raging for some time. Whilst it remains vibrant, there is little agreement about where anthropology sits in a climate dominated by impact discourse within academia and Global Challenges discourse beyond it. The appendage of various qualifiers – ‘engaged/applied/practicing/development anthropology’ – sit alongside a more rigid rendering of ‘Anthropology’ that defends its boundaries and inceptive theoretical and methodological design. The affluence of covetable resources in Oceania combined with the external demand for those resources, poses new livelihood challenges for its inhabitants and new research challenges for the anthropologists who work there. This panel will examine these challenges and consider the need for a more definitive framing of ‘Anthropology’ that reflects the new environments, experiences and development challenges faced by indigenous populations. We welcome contributions from those working across the spectrum of ‘engagement’ to generate a dialogue on ethics, morality, aid and ‘suffering’, advocacy and activism, methodology, interdisciplinarity and consultancy. We especially welcome contributions that address the challenges faced in those Pacific environments reconstituted through processes that commodify resources, services, ideas and knowledge.

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