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Toward an Anthropology of Public Policy

Toward an Anthropology of Public Policy As the rational choice model of “policy” proliferates in “policy studies, ” the social sciences, modern governments, organizations, and everyday life, a number of anthropologists are beginning to develop a body of work in the anthropology of public policy that critiques the assumptions of “policy” as a legal-rational way of getting things done. While de-masking the framing of public policy questions, an anthropological approach attempts to uncover the constellations of actors, activities, and influences that shape policy decisions, their implementation, and their results. In a rapidly changing world, anthropologists’ empirical and ethnographic methods can show how policies actively create new categories of individuals to be governed. They also suggest that the long-established frameworks of “state” and “private, ”“local” or “national” and “global, ”“macro” and “micro, ”“top down” and “bottom up, ” and “centralized” and “decentralized” not only fail to capture current dynamics in the world but actually obfuscate the understanding of many policy processes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png "ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The" SAGE

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References (75)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0002-7162
eISSN
1552-3349
DOI
10.1177/0002716205276734
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As the rational choice model of “policy” proliferates in “policy studies, ” the social sciences, modern governments, organizations, and everyday life, a number of anthropologists are beginning to develop a body of work in the anthropology of public policy that critiques the assumptions of “policy” as a legal-rational way of getting things done. While de-masking the framing of public policy questions, an anthropological approach attempts to uncover the constellations of actors, activities, and influences that shape policy decisions, their implementation, and their results. In a rapidly changing world, anthropologists’ empirical and ethnographic methods can show how policies actively create new categories of individuals to be governed. They also suggest that the long-established frameworks of “state” and “private, ”“local” or “national” and “global, ”“macro” and “micro, ”“top down” and “bottom up, ” and “centralized” and “decentralized” not only fail to capture current dynamics in the world but actually obfuscate the understanding of many policy processes.

Journal

"ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The"SAGE

Published: Jul 1, 2005

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