Hi Everyone,

We would like to provide you a sneak peek of the Anthropology Day 2024, 17 May in Leiden, by posting the abstract of Panel One.

Changing the system from within: how ‘outcast’ professionals try to bring about the change they wish to see in the world

Anthropologists conducting fieldwork within public organizations often end up working as bureaucrats and professionals who are motivated by a desire to improve the world, and for some, this also means trying to change the system from within. This trope, of trying to change the system from within, has long been dismissed as naïve, or even performative, especially by activists and activist-scholars who are trying to change the system from the outside. Against the backdrop of such critical perspectives, this panel starts from the assumption that, while not bringing about the desired change, efforts to try to change the system from within must be productive in their own right. Drawing on fieldwork with professionals in the department of Disaster Management Affairs in Malawi, a public healthcare outreach team in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, municipal social services in Thessaloniki, Greece, and NGO projects in Uganda, the panelists explore what it is exactly that these professionals wish to change, what they do to bring about that change, and what effect(s) their efforts have, in term of individual subjectivities, interpersonal relations, and state-citizen relations writ large.

For more information and tickets, see:

Anthropology Day 2024: Welfare States in Crisis