When anthropology is relevant but insignificant. Engaging with the science of early intervention in the Global South

Öffentlicher Vortrag von Prof. Gabriel Scheidecker (University of Zurich) im Rahmen des Ethnologischen Kolloquiums

Datum: 27. Februar 2024
Zeit: 16.15 Uhr bis 17.45 Uhr
Ort: Universität Luzern, Raum 4.B02

Parenting interventions to optimize early childhood development around the globe (global ECD) are currently emerging as an important area of global health and international development. Global ECD is based on the assumption that poverty and political instability in the Global South are reproduced by widespread individual deficits as a consequence of poor cognitive and socio-emotional development in the first years of life. Correspondingly, nationwide parenting interventions are considered necessary to enable individuals to reach their ‘full potential’ and to boost economic growth and societal development. When UNICEF, WHO, and WB launched an official roadmap for the global implementation of such interventions in 2018, they also presented them as the foundation for all sustainable goals. In this talk I introduce global ECD and present the observation that anthropological research, especially on childhood and parenting in diverse settings of the global South, is highly relevant but de facto insignificant when it comes to this applied field. In other words, ethnographic research is absent from the evidence base of global ECD. In the second part of the talk, I explore the reasons for this failure and suggest ways how anthropological expertise could be made more significant.