AnthroAnalysis – Collaborative projects

(Please note that AntroAnalysis and these pages are undergoing some changes at the moment and soon will be relaunched)

AnthroAnalysis, Center for Applied Anthropology, is a unit within the Department of Anthropology for the development and conduct of collaborative research and teaching projects. Since 2005, the unit has carried out a range of studies, evaluations, courses, and training sessions in collaboration with partners among private corporations, public institutions, and civil society organizations. With a regular scientific staff of two, the unit continuously employs a number of temporary project researchers with graduate or doctoral training in anthropology. Frequently, projects also involve students and members of the research and teaching staff of the Department, giving them the opportunity to work with applied anthropology. All projects are financed by external partners and all employees are fully salaried.

The general purpose of AnthroAnalysis is to contribute to the development and use of anthropological perspectives in practice, and to help inspire anthropologists and collaborative partners alike to take the use of the discipline still further into new areas and forms of application. In the larger picture, AnthroAnalysis is part of on-going efforts to build stronger links between university research and knowledge needs in different sectors of society – challenging and transforming both sides in the process.

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Examples of projects

With the Danish National Board of Health: A study of patients’ perspectives on treatment and care of foot ulcers – a serious complication caused by diabetes, potentially leading to amputations. The study explored the personal and social challenges that many patients have with handling their condition appropriately. It also found that often professional care and advice do not fit with patients’ experience of their real needs and options. The project lead to recommendations on how to improve communication and build more realistic and useful regimes of care.

With the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit: A mixed-method, collaborative evaluation (by economists, geographers, and anthropologists) of RIPAT, an experimental agriculture development project implemented in Northern Tanzania by local NGO Recoda and financed by the Rockwool Foundation. The qualitative elements of the evaluation were based on ethnographic fieldwork, and helped give depth and perspective to the findings of quantitative studies. Not least, the anthropological insights helped explain how and why certain new crops and cultivation methods had been successfully adopted and spread, while others less so.

With the Danish Postal Services: A pilot project followed by an industrial PhD project on innovation challenges in the Danish Royal Mail in its transition from a public service to a market based enterprise. The first phase of the collaboration focused on how knowledge gained from user studies could be applied in everyday organizational development. The second phase involved ethnographic studies of – and direct involvement in – the innovation infrastructure of the company, particularly by exploring the organizational transformations that the quest to “be innovative” implies in practice.

With Exruptive Corporation: An industrial postdoc project on the introduction of new security and commercial technologies for airports, with a particular focus on impacts on passengers and staff. Exruptive has developed a new luggage trolley that integrates enhanced security features with commercial and information platforms, potentially transforming the experience and safety of passengers in airports and on flights. Ethnographic studies of test centers and real life implementations will help the corporation understand its technologies, and how they may be improved and marketed.