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Anthropology and Environmental Policy: What Counts?

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Abstract

ABSTRACT  In this article, we call for enhanced quantitative and environmental analysis in the work of environmental anthropologists who wish to influence policy. Using a database of 77 leading monographs published between 1967 and 2006, 147 articles by the same authors, and a separate sample of 137 articles from the journal Human Organization, we document a sharp decline over the last ten years in the collection and use of quantitative and environmental data within environmental anthropology. These declines come at the same time that environmental anthropologists are aiming at greater policy relevance. We use the case of the Polonoroeste Project in the Brazilian Amazon and its impact on World Bank policy as a concrete example of the advantages of fortifying the quantitative and environmental side of our work. We conclude by discussing ways to strengthen environmental anthropology to further enhance its policy relevance and impact.

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