Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power

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Volume 14

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Policy Worlds

Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power

Edited by Cris Shore, Susan Wright, and Davide Però

348 pages, 2 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-116-3 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (April 2011)

ISBN  978-0-85745-241-2 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (April 2011)

eISBN 978-0-85745-117-0 eBook


View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


The editors break new ground in offering policy as one lifeline to anthropologists struggling to give shape to multi-sited ethnography…This book achieves what it sets out to do. These accounts show that policy is good to think with, that theories of  governmentality should encompass contestation to be convincing, and that ‘policy’ deserves further study. · Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“The book offers both unsettling and highly inspirational reading material, especially for academics emerging from the world’s metropolises. It raises issues that are frequently overlooked and which represent unavoidable starting points for those doing anthropology today in the Antipodes and elsewhere.” · Social Anthropologie/Anthropologie sociale

This volume offers an indispensable point of reference for any methodological and theoretical planning and execution of cultural- and social-anthropological research into the fields of politics and policy. · H-Soz-u-Kult

The value of the very idea of focusing on policy processes rather than on politics lies in that it is at the level of policy that a more comprehensive light can be shed on the always less ‘local’ and always more multifarious, subtle, flexible and dissimulating ways in which contemporary power shapes our worlds. This is why, after reading this book,... one recognizes the bounded coherence of its highly dissimilar contexts and ethnographic stories. · Ethnic and Racial Studies

 “The currency of this book adds to the validity of argument being made by applied anthropology’s advocates and supports their case in the ongoing applied/theoretical divide…Policy Worlds is a valuable addition to this emerging field of anthropology. · Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology

“An outstanding contribution to the anthropological understanding of public policy… A very polished, coherent project, ably edited.” · Susan Greenhalgh, University of California, Irvine

The volume represents an emergent subfield of anthropology coming of age in some ways; it will teach very well indeed and will certainly prove an invaluable book to think with and through… I was consistently impressed by the quality, coherence, and interest of the articles in themselves. Each was substantively fascinating, methodologically thought-provoking, and clearly linked to the others.” · Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz


There are few areas of society today that remain outside the ambit of policy processes, and likewise policy making has progressively reached into the structure and fabric of everyday life. An instrument of modern government, policy and its processes provide an analytical window into systems of governance themselves, opening up ways to study power and the construction of regimes of truth. This volume argues that policies are not simply coercive, constraining or confined to static texts; rather, they are productive, continually contested and able to create new social and semantic spaces and new sets of relations. Anthropologists do not stand outside or above systems of governance but are themselves subject to the rhetoric and rationalities of policy. The analyses of policy worlds presented by the contributors to this volume open up new possibilities for understanding systems of knowledge and power and the positioning of academics within them.

Cris Shore is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Susan Wright is Professor of Educational Anthropology at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Davide Però is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Nottingham.

Subject: Theory and MethodologyApplied AnthropologySociology


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