Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Anthropology and Development
Culture, Morality and Politics in a Globalised World


  • Authors:
  • Emma Crewe, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Richard Axelby, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Date Published: October 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521184724

£ 28.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Request inspection copy

Lecturers may request a copy of this title for inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In recent decades international development has grown into a world-shaping industry. But how do aid agencies work and what do they achieve? How does aid appear to the adults and children who receive it? And why has there been so little improvement in the position of the poor? Viewing aid and development from anthropological perspectives gives illuminating answers to questions such as these. This essential textbook reveals anthropologists' often surprising findings and details ethnographic case studies on the cultures of development. The authors use a fertile literature to examine the socio-political organisation of aid communities, agencies and networks, as well as the judgements they make about each other. The everyday practice of development work is about negotiating power and culture, but in vastly different ways in different contexts and for different social groups. Exploring the spaces between policy and practice, success and failure, the future and the past, this book provides a rounded understanding of development work that suggests new moral and political possibilities for an increasingly globalised world.

    • Through introductory explanations of the theory and many examples and stories, anthropological concepts are made more accessible
    • Key points and key questions raised summarised for each chapter
    • The only up-to-date textbook on aid and development which offers a broad overview of the contribution made by anthropologists
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    '[A] lucid and well balanced text that brings anthropological insights to bear on development in an engaging way. It equips the reader to appreciate why bringing about the improvement of the world is no simple matter, and why the analysis of processes, powers, practices, and diverse points of view - the subject matter of anthropology - just cannot be avoided. Bravo!' Tania Li, University of Toronto

    'Development is a very complex issue, and social anthropology is best suited to describe this complexity on an empirical basis: this book, by Emma Crewe and Richard Axelby, is a particularly successful and erudite attempt to argue and exemplify such a perspective. It is a remarkable work, which shows that addressing the complexity of the field of development in simple terms is possible, and that the frequent dichotomies and stereotypes of the subject can be overcome.' Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, Research Director, CNRS

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521184724
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 174 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: hope and despair
    2. Anthropologists engaged
    3. The social and political organisation of aid and development
    4. The elusive poor
    5. Human rights and cultural fantasies
    6. Hierarchies of knowledge
    7. The moralities of production and exchange
    8. The politics of policy and practice
    9. Imagining the future
    Appendix 1. Challenging questions arising from this book.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • World Regions and Cultures: Diversity and Interconnections
  • Authors

    Emma Crewe, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
    Emma Crewe is a Visiting Reader in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She has worked as an anthropologist researcher, lecturer and practitioner in international development in South Asia, East Africa and the UK. In her research she explores inequalities, governance and institutions.

    Richard Axelby, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
    Richard Axelby is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Anthropology of Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Richard has worked with development and educational NGOs in South Asia and in the UK. He is a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.