Power in political anthropology

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This paper reviews the development of anthropological studies of power since the 1970s. It relates anthropological work to broader trends in the social sciences, such as the pervasive influence of Foucauldian perspectives, whilst emphasising what is distinctive in anthropological approaches and contributions to wider debates. The evolution of the field is related to the broadening of anthropology's objects of study, to its questioning of Eurocentric assumptions, to its ethnographic focus on social relations, practices and the materiality of power, and to critiques that emphasize the need to capture all the politics that are embedded in the situations that anthropologists study. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-34
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Political Power
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Cross-cultural analysis
  • Domination and resistance
  • Governmentality
  • Political anthropology
  • Power


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