Anthropology Through Development: Putting Development Practice into Theory


  • Amy Pollard
  • Alice Street



theory, practice, policy


This special issue of Anthropology Matters frames the canonical question for development anthropologists in reverse.  Instead of asking how anthropological theory might be put into practice in development, it asks how engagements with development policy and practice might transform anthropology.  What kinds of theoretical insights have emerged from the anthropology of development?  What does the overlapping language of anthropology and development mean for ethnographic methodology?  How do relationships between anthropologists and development professionals affect the research process?  What can anthropologists learn from development work?

Author Biographies

Amy Pollard

Dr Amy Pollard is currently Lead Analyst on aid effectiveness at the Catholic Agency for Development (CAFOD).  She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2009.  Her thesis was an ethnographic study of aid donors in Indonesia, which examined the politics of their institutional struggles.  She has previously worked for the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).  Her theoretical interests revolve around knowledge, power, institutions and doubt.  

Alice Street

Dr Alice Street is a Nuffield New Career Development Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sussex, UK and a Visiting Fellow in the School of Culture, History and Language at Australia National University.  Her doctoral research, based on ethnographic fieldwork in a Papua New Guinean hospital, explored the politics of personhood and biomedicine in spaces of resource-shortage and state-weakness.  Her current research focuses on practices of state-building in the Papua New Guinean health system and entails a research partnership with donor agencies, the PNG government and academics in Papua New Guinea. 


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