Whither Anthropology in Public Policy?

Reflections from India

Authored by: Soumendra Mohan Patnaik

The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415583954
eBook ISBN: 9781315743950
Adobe ISBN: 9781317590675


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This chapter traces the role of anthropology in public policy with special reference to issues of administration and governance of indigenous communities from colonial to contemporary times, as background for understanding the relationship between anthropology, governance and public policy in India today. The national discourse on the use, location and implications of anthropological knowledge has undergone several shifts as governance of institutions involved in the generation of anthropological knowledge such as the Anthropological Survey of India, the National Museum Institute, and the Museum of Man have been shuttled between several government departments like the ministry of Home Affairs, Tourism, Human Resources and Culture, signifying ambiguities in the minds of policy makers about its application.

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