In contemporary academia, scholars are increasingly expected to prove the utility of academic knowledge. Academics must provide evidence that their research output has applicability beyond the confines of the university and higher education institutions are often reminded by central governments of their duty to facilitate academics engagement with the public, policy-makers, industry and other stakeholder groups. Knowledge transfer between such groups and academics has become part of what makes a successful research proposal . The demands of groups external to the academy now appear to shape much of the research output of universities. The Contributors to this issue respond to the following questions: What acts as a driver for these aims? What benefits and disadvantages do they bring? Do people, institutions, and organisations in different fields around world share the same concerns? Must knowledge always be useful?
Contributors to this special issue of Anthropology Matters explore knowledge transfer in its widest possible sense. In thinking as widely and creatively as they can about knowledge exchange, Contributors investigate the ways in which knowledge is transferred both within and outwith academic settings. They focus on knowledge transfer in relation to collaborative research projects in the UK, forced migration between Zimbabwe and South Africa, the genetic modification debate in South West England, lies and gossip in South East Brazil, the repair of solar photovoltaic technologies in India, intercultural education in Mexico, materials libraries in the UK, touch in a South African oncology ward, and photographic documentary making in Birmingham. Their articles examine the different kinds of knowledge transferred and the kinds of institutions and people engaged in its transfer. They also examine the different forms that knowledge might take. I ask readers to reflect on what insights their explorations bring to the formal knowledge transfer activities now held to be an important part of academic life.
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?
Edited by Amy Pollard and Alice Street
This special edition of Anthropology Matters focuses on a fundamental question that virtually all social scientists encounter, namely how to conduct research on any given topic. Although this question appears straightforward at first pass, practical experience demonstrates the theoretical and pragmatic complexities involved in conducting research. For this special edition we are privileged to present papers from doctoral students and established academics.
The impetus for bringing together these diverse papers emerged after we organised an international conference on the same topic. The conference, aptly entitled Exploring and Expanding the Boundaries of Research Methods, took place over two days on 31 October and 1 November 2008.The high turn-out of attendees and the ensuing lively discussions indicated the timeliness and importance of research methods and their ethical implications.
Vol 7, No 1 (2005): Special Issue: New methods in the anthropology of science and technology (ASA postgraduate panel 2003)
The hard copy journal associated with the SOAS student-led research training seminar, E@TM, was the inspiration for the Anthropology Matters website. We are proud, therefore, to present the on-line launch issue of the (renamed) journal.
Challenging articles, they reflect the intention of this site: to facilitate the articulation of issues related to research and writing processes, which tend otherwize to remain the subject only of private reflection.
On-line, there is now the opportunity for lively engagement with issues raised. So, do take advantage of the discussion forum, to share your responses to any of the articles and encourage colleagues with related interests to contribute too.