chapter  3
Beyond the cognitive paradigm
Majority knowledges and local discourses in a non-Western donor society
ByJohn Clammer
Pages 21

The anthropology of development faces perennial problems in deciding its role in the world and its relationship to its two principal clients – its informants, whose interests it is supposed to serve on the one hand, and the states or organizations for whom it acts as a specialized ‘probe’ (and from which it is probably receiving its funding) on the other. Buffeted internally by the ‘crisis of representation’ and externally by the demise of the colonial structures which once gave much of anthropology its authoritative voice, a state of subdued crisis in the sub-discipline seems to be the norm. Development anthropology has undergone a number of transformations over its relatively brief history. The current one is that by somehow constructing a relationship with ‘indigenous knowledge’ (often by way of engagement with ‘participatory research’) development anthropology will (re)establish its credentials. (The literature on this is rapidly growing. For good examples, see Pottier 1997 and Sillitoe 1998).