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Unit of Assessment
Research Assessment Exercise 2008



By percentage of research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard

UOA 42 Anthropology

FTE Cat A Staff submitted for assessment






London School of Economics and Political Science







How different are the concepts of life, death and religion held by children who grow up in a North American middle class neighbourhood compared with those who grow up in a rural fishing village in Madagascar? This was the question posed in an engrossing study in child development by Dr Rita Astuti and her colleagues, which was one of a number of submissions that helped to earn LSE Anthropology a strong profile in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise|.

With 40 per cent of the department's work deemed 'world leading' in terms of originality, significance and rigour, Anthropology at LSE is, on this measure, rated as the best in the country.

Professor Chris Fuller, head of Anthropology at LSE, said: "In 2001 we were one of only two Anthropology submissions to gain the top 5 star ranking. We are extremely pleased that so much of our work has, once again, been deemed of the highest calibre." 

The department is regarded as especially influential in the UK, with some 34 per cent of those currently in post in UK Anthropology departments having studied at LSE.

LSE Anthropology also has a very strong international standing. Since 2001, members of faculty have held visiting posts at Harvard, Chicago, Porto, UCLA, Nanjing and other leading universities.

An emphasis on long-term fieldwork has been a hallmark of LSE Anthropology, and continues to be a distinctive strength. PhD students spend significantly longer periods conducting fieldwork than in other UK Anthropology departments. Because of pressure to improve 4-year PhD completion rates, national trends show PhD students spending increasingly less time on fieldwork. However, the LSE Research Degrees Division has supported LSE Anthropology in maintaining a norm of 15-18 months' fieldwork, with some students spending over two years in the field. Within the department, the emphasis on fieldwork persists. Research investigating globalisation in India, involving four research officers, was based on a total of nine and half person-years of fieldwork. Faculty have also undertaken substantial fieldwork in China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, USA, Germany, Russia, Madagascar, Venezuela, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Solomon Islands, Jordan and Kyrgyzstan.

The department's strong research reputation has helped it to secure almost £2million in external research funding since 2001. This has enabled faculty to sustain major research commitments, support a number of research officers, and forge important collaborations with colleagues from other institutions.

LSE Anthropology also places great emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration, involving development experts, psychologists, philosophers, linguists, law specialists, historians and others. This focus is enhanced by collaboration with interdisciplinary experts in LSE's Asia Research Centre and Development Studies Institute, and London University's Institute for the Study of the Americas.

See Definitions of Quality| 4*,3*,2*,1* and u/c

See RAE 2008 Analysis of Results| in the RPDD website for more detailed information.