Researchers and sub-projects

Health care: Collaboration between anthropologists and health workers.

- Associate Professor Hanne Overgaard Mogensen

Medical anthropology is one of the most energetic of the professional arenas which has arisen from interdisciplinary collaborations in recent decades. It has expanded considerably since the 1980s, internationally as well as in Denmark. A distinction is usually maintained between anthropology of medicine, and anthropology in or for medicine, but the aim of this sub-study is to move beyond this distinction through an exploration of collaborations between health workers and anthropologists and to follow anthropological ideas as they move out of academia and become part of caregiving practices.
The sub-study seeks to answer questions such as: Where do the perspectives of anthropology and medicine conjure, where do they conflict, and how are ideas used and created with what consequences? Through medical anthropology, health workers obtain a new language for the humanistic and social aspects of their work, e.g. patient’s perspective, bodily experience, patient-provider interaction, and the interaction between humans and technology. How do these notions translate into caregiving practices?  What findings and conclusions concerning patients do they influence? Might anthropological competences inhere in the anthropologist’s ability to see things from different perspectives and explicate practices in relation to interactions between patients, health workers, administrators and technology? Or what other tacit dimensions of anthropological competences can be articulated through a study of collaborations between anthropologists and health workers?

Interdisciplinary research: Collaboration between anthropologists and other scientists

- Professor Morten Axel Pedersen

‘Interdisciplinarity’ and ‘collaboration’ have over the last decade become prominent buzzwords in Danish and more generally international university research, and anthropology is increasingly recognized as a relevant and willing research partner in such contexts. Nevertheless, a distinction remains between anthropological studies of various forms of collaborations with non-scientists, anthropological studies of other scientists, and anthropological studies contributing to collaborations for interdisciplinary means and ends. No studies have as yet been made by anthropologists of anthropologists who themselves are part of interdisciplinary research collaborations. The aim of this project is to investigate the process of collaboration between anthropologists and other scientists and to follow the generation of new ideas, concepts and models across classic disciplinary, faculty and institutional distinctions:
The sub-study seeks to answer questions such as: What findings and conclusions do anthropologists help generate via their involvement in research collaboration apart from the ‘qualitative data’ and ‘ethical reflections’? With a view to challenging the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research, the researcher plans to turn the established field of anthropology of science back onto itself by ethnographically exploring what input anthropologists make within interdisciplinary research, epistemologically and ontologically. Might anthropological competences in practice inhere in the ability to document and facilitate collaboration between disciplinary traditions, or to the formulation of new hypotheses and theories in the so-called hard sciences, too? What other tacit dimensions of anthropological competences are articulated through collaborations between anthropologists and other scientists?

Business: Collaborations between anthropologists and corporate consultants.

- Ph.D. student Jazmin Cullen

Anthropology has in the course of the last couple of decades become something of a ‘brand’ in the corporate world and as a result a rising number of anthropologists are being employed in as diverse settings as innovation, commercial research, marketing, design, and in an array of consultancy companies. Yet, a mutual uneasiness and suspicion continues to exist between practitioners on both sides. This distinction is reflected in the anthropological literature, which consists of either studies of the corporate world or deals with dilemmas faced by anthropologist working for this world. In order to move beyond this distinction the aim of this sub-study is to investigate what anthropologist who are working with processes of commercialisation actually do and how an ongoing co-creation of ideas takes place when anthropologists and corporate consultants work together in the corporate world.
This sub-study seeks answers to questions such as: Where do the perspectives of anthropology and business conjure and conflict and what is being created in the collaboration? Anthropologists are expected to have competences in regards to identifying the so-called unmet and unrealized needs of consumers and clients, but is this in reality their most important competence? Might their competences also inhere in e.g. a particular sensitivity to matters of ethics or in particular forms of conceptualizations? What other tacit dimensions of anthropological competences can be articulated through a study of collaborations between anthropologists and corporate consultants?

Management: Collaborations between anthropologists-cum-managers and their employees

- Post. Doc. Birgitte Gorm Hansen

We suggest that management is a professional arena towards which anthropologists are heading, but where their practices have not yet been studied. In addition, in new forms of management, for instance so-called discursive management narrative, and systemic management the skills needed of a leader seem to resonate with that of the anthropologists. A large number of anthropological studies of management have already been made. Likewise, there is a growing literature on the use of anthropology for management, particularly in fields such as organization culture and diversity management. However, we know little about anthropologists working as managers. In order to move beyond this distinction the aim of this sub-study is to explore collaborations between anthropologists-cum-managers and their employees and to follow the ideas that seem to be shared by anthropology and new management theories
This sub-study seeks answers to questions such as: What are the resonances and dissonances between anthropology and management and how are ideas used and created in this collaboration between anthropologists-cum-managers and employees? Might the central competences of anthropologists-cum-managers be expressions of the resonances between anthropology and management theory: interest in social relations, positions and perspectives (e.g. appreciative inquiry, systemic management), the ability to analyse the discourse of the members of the staff, to posses ‘contextual competences’, to master the skills of ‘storytelling’, etc.? Or what other tacit dimensions of anthropological competences are articulated through modes of collaboration taking place between anthropologists-cum-managers and their employees?