Anthropology and Development
Instructor: Alberto Cacopardo
The course will be divided in two parts. The first one will deal with some key anthropological concepts involved in the understanding of cultural diversity and of the traits and dynamics of the economy and politics of non-Western societies, with special regard to local, small-scale societies and groups, drawing on the experience of ethnographic research. Starting with the concepts of culture and collective identity, it will then discuss the main issues raised in the study of economic and political anthropology, such as forms of production and circulation, reciprocity, redistribution, concepts of wealth and poverty, trade and markets, sources of political power, traditional political systems and their relations with contemporary administrative and political arrangements and processes. The second part will first present a set of different research methodologies and technical tools useful to enforce the participation, the empowerment and the capabilities of local communities. It will deal with some principles of participatory learning and analysis, with the problems involved in the transfer of technologies and capabilities, with the contrast between top-down and bottom-up approaches in development. It will further discuss the key aspects of the whole system of development action in the light of the critical appraisal of that branch of anthropology which is known as anthropology of development. Individual actors and corporate organisations, strategies and conceptions, behaviours at the local and global level, different forms of knowledge and their interactions, are among the topics to be dealt with.