Recent interest in “public anthropology” has reopened a discussion about the role of anthropology outside of the academy. A central tension in the debate is how to distinguish, if at all, public anthropology from other forms of applied anthropology (May 2000 AN, p 9; Sept 2000 AN, p 6). One useful distinction is between research primarily intended to inform theory and research aimed at helping people make better decisions; we label the latter “policy-relevant research.” Another distinction is with explicitly value-led actions intended to address and to end exploitation and oppression, sometimes referred to as praxis.

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