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Planning a class on the anthropology of policy? Looking for more resources about the anthropology of policy? Our past and present Education Committee along with several generous professors have provided the following bibliographies and syllabi as an open resource.

The Anthropology of Policy


The ASAP Education Committee created the following bibliography full of resources for the anthropology of policy. It includes general readings on the anthropology of policy as well as specialized topics such as: bureaucrats and bureaucracy; committees and meetings; documents, charts and reports; experts and expertise; the State;  aid and economic policy; education policy; environmental policy; and more.

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The Social Life of Policy

Syllabus, Jennifer Hubbert

The study of policy deals with issues at the heart of anthropology such as institutions and power; ideology and discourse, identity and culture; and interactions between the global and the local, public and private, and bureaucracy and market. Understanding the dynamics of policy processes is ever more important because of greater global interconnectedness; decisions made in one place or arena increasingly have major effects of in other places and arenas.

The complexity of relations among individuals, networks, and entities—both governmental and nongovernmental—involved in formulating and implementing policy presents theoretical, methodological, and ethnical challenges for the researcher that are central to this course.

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Anthropology of Public Policy

Syllabus, Cris Shore

This course has two main aims. The first is to interrogate the concept of ‘policy’ and examine how it works - as a socio-cultural category, a political technology and an instrument of governance. The second is to look at particular policies: how they are framed, how they represent the problem to be solved, their history and genealogies. A smaller but related aim is to open up the field of Policy Studies to more critical scrutiny in order probe the ideological assumptions and ethnocentric biases that continue to shape the world of policy making.

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