chapter  7
Negotiating with knowledge at development interfaces
Anthropology and the quest for participation
ByMichael Schönhuth
Pages 23

In the early 1990s Johan Pottier (1993) in his Practising Development noted an increased emphasis on research informed by ethnography.The discovery of the ‘human factor’ and participatory approaches to development has provided several openings for qualitative, contextual research, and Pottier sees a new generation of social analysts emerging.‘This new generation of (mainly) social anthropologists has gained relevant experience by eking out autonomous positions at the interface between local-level agency personnel and targeted beneficiaries’ (Pottier 1993: 2). A combination of participatory and anthropological research in the project context should help us to escape the dilemma of conventional anthropological research,‘so often criticised for being isolationist and unrelated to community needs’, and at the same time exploiting the advantage of ethnographic understanding, reducing the risk ‘that false assumptions creep into the design of development programmes’ (Pottier 1993: 3).