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LSE Anthropology ranked first in the UK for Research Quality

LSE Anthropology is celebrating success in the 2014 Research Excellent Framework (REF), the latest national assessment of the quality of research undertaken in the UK’s Higher Education institutions since 2008.  The Department, which submitted all of its researchers to the REF, was ranked top in the UK for the quality of its research outputs. 32 per cent of that research was awarded the highest (4 star) grade, indicating that it is ‘world-leading’. A further 41 per cent was deemed ‘internationally excellent’ (3 star). 

The Department’s research expertise spans subjects from debt in South Africa to shamanism in Amazonia, with core research interests in areas including the anthropology of the economy; political anthropology; religion and secularism; culture and cognition studies; and inequality and poverty.

In addition, the Department encourages collaborations with historians, psychologists, philosophers, development experts, legal specialists and others. Current interdisciplinary partnerships include those with cognitive scientists at Harvard and the Central European University in Budapest, and with political scientists in India.

Partly as a result of this, its national and international networks are extensive. Members of the Department regularly take up visiting positions at prestigious organisations around the world and, in return, the Department hosts researchers from such world-class institutions as the Australian National University and John Hopkins University.

The Department’s diverse interests are unified by a shared commitment to long-term ethnographic fieldwork. In part through fieldwork of this kind - which typically focuses on the everyday lives of ordinary people - the Department develops local networks through which it addresses such broad, real world issues as community and identity, religious conversion, marginalization, and the effects of state interventions at the grass-roots level.

 The Department’s success in ensuring the relevance and use of its work beyond academia is seen in its contributions to, and influence on, broader social issues. Here in the UK, for example, research by Professor Deborah James, Dr Alice Forbess and Dr Evan Killick was cited in debates about controversial proposals to eliminate legal aid support for those seeking advice on social welfare and immigration and asylum issues. The research, which argued that the cuts disproportionately disadvantaged some of the UK’s most vulnerable citizens, influenced debates about the need to preserve legal aid provision for welfare benefit appeals.

Further afield, Dr Mathijs Pelkmans’ long-term engagement with higher education institutions in several central Asian countries has revived anthropological scholarship in the region by supporting capacity building, curriculum development and a comprehensive programme of training and mentoring in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

Departmental results: Anthropology and Development Studies|

Department homepage: http://www.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/home.aspx|

LSE Impact: www.lse.ac.uk/researchImpact|

See also:

Impact Case Study Summaries