Students engage with an understanding of international development as a social, political and historical field, and also consider anthropology’s engagement with development and processes of planned social change.The early parts of the module provide students with an understanding of, the emergence of development as an idea, the architecture and infrastructure of aid, and introduce key theoretical approaches in the study of inequality.The module considers how we explain violence, the specific problems of researching this topic, the involvement of anthropologists in military projects and other issues.
We will be looking at a number of different controversies in anthropology, how they shaped the discipline and what we can learn from them.
We also examine the tensions inherent in anthropology’s long and intimate relationship with development, through the early production of expert knowledge about tradition and culture; through its critical engagement with policy processes and planned interventions, and through the professional negotiation of the fields of development anthropology and the anthropology of development.
The module then goes on to contextualise these theoretical and critical approaches to development through a series of interlinked topics and ethnographic case studies.
In doing this, we will explore the ways in which the body, gender and sexuality have been produced/imagined differently in different times and places.
Issues which will be raised include the status of the body; biological or cultural, the sex/gender distinction, kinship and concepts of the person, in the light of gender theories, psychoanalytic approaches to gender, sexuality and the body, race and colonialism, resistance and power politics.