- Professor Anthony Good
- Professor Emeritus; Professorial Fellow
- Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh EH8 9LD
- Research Interests
- South Asia, Immigration, Kinship, Hinduism, Legal anthropology, Legal pluralism, asylum seekers and refugees
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- Since my retirement I no longer hold regular guidance and feedback hours, so please contact me by email if you want to arrange a meeting.
My principal overseas field research was in Tamil Nadu, South India, though I also have long experience of Sri Lanka, as a physical chemistry lecturer and later a human rights researcher. I carried out very much shorter pieces of work in other parts of South and Southeast Asia on behalf of the UK's Department for International Development (DfID). I have also done substantial recent research in the UK, on the administrative and legal processes involved in claiming asylum.
My initial field research in South India focused on family and kinship, and the life-cycle ceremonies surrounding puberty, marriage, and death. Subsequent research in a Hindu temple was concerned with the ceremonial economy linking gods, priests and worshippers, as well as daily and festival worship.
In the 1990s I acted as a senior consultant for DfID, convening a team of Edinburgh anthropologists providing advice on NGO-implemented community development projects. I was also involved in policy-related work for DfID itself.
Since 1994 I have frequently acted as an expert witness in asylum appeals involving Sri Lankans – mainly in the UK, but also in Canada, the USA, and several European countries. In 2003, 2006, and 2010, AJ Paterson – a leading immigration solicitor – and I made brief fact-finding visits to assess the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, producing reports for use as evidence in asylum appeal cases. In 2000/01 I carried out ESRC-funded research into uses of expert evidence in the British asylum courts, and subsequent AHRC-funded research on the asylum process in France and the UK is described below.
In June 2017, with Dr Daniela Berti (Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes, CNRS, Paris), I co-hosted a workshop in Edinburgh, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, entitled ‘Taking Nature To The Courtroom. Development Projects, Protected Areas And Religious Reform In South Asia’. The workshop focused on recent and pending litigation on these issues in South Asian courts. On a similar theme, we will be convening a panel on 'Juristic Personalities and the Rights of Non-Humans: Gods, Animals and Natural Resources as Legal Persons in India' at the July 2018 ECSAS Conference in Paris.
AHRC Research Project
I collaborated with Dr Robert Gibb of Glasgow University in a project funded under the Diasporas, Migration and Identities (DMI) Programme of the Arts & Humanities Research Council, entitled The Conversion of Asylum Applicants' Narratives into Legal Discourses in the UK and France: a Comparative Study of Problems of Cultural Translation. There is a summary of the project's aims and objectives here, and you can find a brief case study describing the project on the DMI Programme website.
One highlight of the project was a workshop, held in Edinburgh in March 2009, that brought together judges, lawyers, interpreters, senior executives of NGOs, and judicial and ministerial officials from both countries. Over two days they described their activities to one another, and discussed the legal, bureaucratic, and financial problems involved in securing fair asylum decisions in both countries.
The Workshop programme, and the list of participants, can be found here. You can also view our own presentations at the workshop, summarising the administrative and legal processes involved in claiming asylum in France and the UK as they stood at that time.
In addition to the formal publications listed below, other outputs from the project include the following presentations at seminars, workshops and conferences:
- Robert Gibb, 'Problems of cultural translation in the preparation and adjudication of asylum claims in France.' Seminar paper, Department of Anthropology, Leiden University, Netherlands, 31 March 2008.
- Anthony Good, 'The taking and making of asylum claims: credibility assessments in the British asylum courts.' Keynote Lecture, Seeking Refuge: Caught Between Bureaucracy, Lawyers, and Public Indifference, ESRC-funded Conference, School of Oriental & African Studies, 17 April 2009. Read it here.
- Anthony Good, 'Asylum claims and the politics of truth: witness statements and credibility assessments in the British asylum courts.' Keynote Lecture, Managing Migration Conference, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 6 May 2009.
- Anthony Good, 'Witness statements and credibility assessments in the British asylum courts.' Invited paper, workshop on South Asian Culture À la barre, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 20 November 2009. Versions of this paper were also presented in seminars at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Applied Social Science, University of Glasgow, 20 January 2010; and the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 19 February 2010.
- Robert Gibb & Anthony Good, 'Do the facts speak for themselves? "Country of Origin Information" in French and British refugee status determination procedures.' Invited paper, Workshop on Directions and Developments in Refugee Determination, Toronto, 15 October 2010.
- Anthony Good, 'Discourse, translation & comprehension in British asylum appeals: asylum narratives in the refugee status determination process.' Invited paper, American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, 20 November 2010.
- Anthony Good, 'Problems in determining the credibility of asylum seekers' narratives.' Invited paper, ESRC Genomics Network Workshop on Opportunities and Limitations of Molecular Technologies for Inferring National Origins, The Wellcome Trust Collection, 1 February 2011.
- Anthony Good and Robert Gibb, 'Do the facts speak for themselves? "Country of Origin Information" in French and British refugee status determination procedures.' Invited paper, Symposium on Issues in the Production and Assessment of Evidence in Asylum Claims, School of Law, Edinburgh, 1 April 2011.
- Anthony Good, 'Asylum narratives in the refugee status determination process.' Invited paper, Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Sussex, 12 April 2011.
- Anthony Good, 'The role of anthropologists as providers of "Country of Origin Information" in British asylum courts.' American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Montreal, 18 November 2011.
- Anthony Good, 'Anthropological evidence and "Country of Origin Information" (COI) in British asylum courts.' Plenary lecture, Conable Conference in International Studies, Refugees, Asylum Law and Expert Testimony, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY, 13 April 2012; also at RAI Conference, Anthropology in the World, British Museum, 8 June 2012.
- Robert Gibb, 'Language, cultural translation and legal representation in French and British refugee status determination procedures.' Workshop on Language & Intercultural Communication, Glasgow University, 20 June 2012.
- Anthony Good, 'The "benefit of the doubt" in British asylum claims.' European Association of Social Anthropology Conference, Nanterre University, 12 July 2012.
- Anthony Good, 'Anthropology and law as separate yet related disciplines.' Workshop on Applied Legal Anthropology, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, 12 September 2012.
- Anthony Good, 'Anthropological evidence and "Country of Origin Information" (COI) in British asylum courts.' Workshop on Decision-makers and Psychological Evidence, University of London, 6 November 2012.
- Anthony Good, 'The "benefit of the doubt" in British asylum claims.' Seminar, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, 18 December 2012.
- Robert Gibb, 'The interview record in French refugee status determination procedures.' Workshop on Translation and Asylum Claims: Matters of Law, Language and Silence, University of Glasgow, 25 January 2013.
- Anthony Good, 'Asylum interviews in the UK.' Workshop on Translation and Asylum Claims: Matters of Law, Language and Silence, University of Glasgow, 25 January 2013.
- Anthony Good, 'Folk models and the law.' Plenary lecture at conference on Folk Knowledge: Models and Concepts. Slovak Institute of Ethnology, Bratislava, 26 March 2013.
- Robert Gibb, 'Asylum interviews, transcription processes and "mental gymnastics": the role of Protection Officers in the production of the interview record in French refugee status determination procedures.' Workshop on Migration & Asylum Policies in Europe, St Antony's College Oxford, 6 June 2013.
- Anthony Good, 'The role of facts in asylum determinations.' Workshop on Migration & Asylum Policies in Europe, St Antony's College Oxford, 7 June 2013.
- Anthony Good, 'Current position of Tamils in Sri Lanka.' Invited lecture at Programma Bijeenkomst Werkgroep Rechtshulp Aan Vluchtelingen organised by Dutch Refugee Council. Utrecht, 5 November 2013.
- Anthony Good, 'When anthropology enters the asylum courts.' Workshop on 'Cultural Expertise' in Judicial Settings, Centre d’Histoire du Droit et d’Anthropologie juridique, University of Bruxelles, 9 May 2014.
- Anthony Good, 'Morality and law in the context of asylum claims.' ESRC Seminar on Morals in the Moral Panic, Glasgow Caledonian University, 16 May 2014.
- Anthony Good, 'Inconsistency and asylum interviews in the UK.' Workshop on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on European Asylum Appeals, University of Exeter, 8-9 January 2015.
- Anthony Good, 'Asylum interviews in the UK.' Workshop on Contemporary Issues in Refugee Law, Law School, University of Lancaster, 7 July 2015.
- Anthony Good, 'Processes of literary inscription in refugee status determination procedures: the case of Country of Origin Information.' Invited paper, American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado, 19 November 2015.
- Anthony Good, 'Processes of literary inscription in refugee status determination procedures: the case of Country of Origin Information.' Paper for panel on Evidence in question: anthropological authority and legal judgment. European Association of Social Anthropologists, Milan, 23 July 2016.
- Anthony Good, 'Asylum Interviews and COI in the UK.' Presentation at Workshop on A Crisis of Values? 'Necropolitics' and Contemporary Displacement, Keele University, 5 October 2016.
- Anthony Good and Robert Gibb, 'Le role de l'entretien dans la fabrique du réfugié: techniques ou "styles" d'entretien des agents en France et au Royaume-Uni.' Paper presented at Colloque international on L'équitage comme réfugié: Approches comparées des pratiques institutionnelles, Université Paris-Nanterre, 28 March 2017.
Summaries of other projects being carried out by the Social Anthropology subject group at Edinburgh can be found here.
Selected Publications (sole author unless stated)
A. Good & J.C.J. Thynne, 'The thermal decomposition of tetra-methyltetrazene and the addition of dimethylamino-radicals to ethylene.' Journal of the Chemical Society B, pp 684-5 (1967).
A. Good & J.C.J. Thynne, 'Reactions of free radicals with sulphur dioxide. Part I - methyl radicals.' Transactions of the Faraday Society 63: 2708-19 (1967).
A. Good & J.C.J. Thynne, 'Reactions of free radicals with sulphur dioxide. Part II - ethyl radicals.' Transactions of the Faraday Society 63: 2720-7 (1967).
D.A. Durden, P. Kebarle & A. Good, 'Thermal ion-molecule reaction rate constants at pressures up to 10 Torr with a pulsed mass spectrometer.' Journal of Chemical Physics 50: 805-16 (1969).
A. Good, D.A. Durden & P. Kebarle, 'Mechanism and rate constants of ion-molecule reactions in moist oxygen and air.' Journal of Chemical Physics 52: 222-29 (1970).
A. Good, D.A. Durden & P. Kebarle, 'Ion-molecule reactions in pure nitrogen and nitrogen containing traces of water, at total pressures 0.5-4 Torr. Kinetics of clustering reactions.' Journal of Chemical Physics 52: 212-21 (1970).
I. Dzidic, A. Good & P. Kebarle, 'Ion-molecule reactions in carbonyl sulphide-hydrocarbon mixtures.' Canadian Journal of Chemistry 48: 664-75 (1970).
'A classical, semi-empirical rate equation for third order ion-molecule association reactions.' Transactions of the Faraday Society 67: 3495-502 (1971).
'Relative bond strengths in ion-molecule clustering reactions.' International Journal of Mass Spectrometry and Ion Physics 10: 379-84 (1973).
'Third order ion-molecule clustering reactions.' Chemical Reviews 75: 561-83 (1975).
S.F. Cook, C.F. Cullis & A. Good, 'Measurement of the flammability limits of oil mists.' Combustion and Flame 30: 309-17 (1977).
'Elder sister's daughter marriage in South Asia.' Journal of Anthropological Research 36: 74-500 (1980). [Reprinted in S.M. Channa (ed.) Family and Marriage: a Critical Appraisal (International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology, Vol. 10). Cosmo Publications: Delhi (1998)].
'Prescription, preference and practice: marriage patterns among the Kondaiyankottai Maravar of South India.' Man (N.S.) 16: 108-29 (1981). [Reprinted in Robert J. Parkin & Linda Stone (eds.), Kinship and social organization: a reader. (Blackwell Anthologies in Social and Cultural Anthropology) Oxford: Blackwell: Oxford (2003)]
'The actor and the act: categories of prestation in South India.' Man (N.S.) 17: 23-41 (1982).
'A symbolic type and its transformations: the case of South Indian ponkal.' Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) 17: 223-44 (1983).
(With Alan Barnard) Research Practices in the Study of Kinship (ASA Research Methods in Social Anthropology, 2). London & Orlando: Academic Press (1984; paperback 1988).
'The religious, economic and social organisation of a South Indian temple.' The Quarterly Journal of Social Affairs 3: 1-25 (1987).
'Divine coronation in a South Indian temple.' Pp 37-71 in V. Sudarsen, G. Prakash Reddy & M. Suryanarayana (eds.), Religion and Society in South India. B.P. Publ. Corp: Delhi (1987).
'Law, legitimacy, and the hereditary rights of Tamil temple priests', Modern Asian Studies 23: 233-57 (1989).
The Female Bridegroom: A Comparative Study of Life-Crisis Rituals in South India and Sri Lanka. Oxford: Clarendon Press (1991: OUP India edition published 1992).
'Social issues in NGO water projects.' Pp 47-66 in Ian Smout (ed.), Water and NGOs Loughborough University: Loughborough (1996)
'Anthropology is a generalising science or it is nothing.' Pp 30-6 in Tim Ingold (ed.), Key Debates in Anthropology. Routledge: London (1996).
On the Non-Existence of Dravidian Kinship. (CSAS Occasional Papers, 6) Centre for South Asian Studies: Edinburgh (1996).
'Kinship.' Pp 311-18 in Alan Barnard & Jonathan Spencer (eds.), Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Routledge: London (1996).
'The burning question: sacred and profane space in a South Indian temple town.' Anthropos 94: 69-84 (1999).
'The car and the palanquin: rival accounts of the 1895 riot in Kalugumalai, South India.' Modern Asian Studies 33: 23-66 (1999).
'Congealing divinity: time, worship and kinship in South Indian Hinduism.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 6: 273-292 (2000).
'Power and fertility: divine kinship in South India.' Pp 323-53 in Monika Böck & Aparna Rao (eds.), Culture, Creation, and Procreation: Concepts of Kinship in South Asian Practice. Berghahn Books: Oxford (2000).
'The structure and meaning of daily worship in a South Indian temple.' Anthropos 96: 491-507 (2001).
'Multiple meanings in South Indian temple worship.' Culture and Religion 2: 239-60 (2001).
'Mamul and modernity in a South Indian temple.' Modern Asian Studies 35: 821-870 (2001).
'Anthropologists as expert witnesses: political asylum cases involving Sri Lankan Tamils.' Pp. 93-117 in Richard Wilson & Jonathan Mitchell (eds.) Human Rights in Global Perspective. Routledge: London (2003).
'‘‘Undoubtedly an expert’’? Anthropologists in British asylum courts.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 10: 113-33 (2004).
‘Expert evidence in asylum and human rights appeals: an expert’s view.’ International Journal of Refugee Law 16: 358-80 (2004).
Worship and the Ceremonial Economy of a Royal South Indian Temple. Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press (2004).
‘Gender-based persecution: the case of South Asian asylum applicants in the UK.’ Pp 274-99 in Navnita Chandra Behera (ed), Gender, Conflict and Migration. Delhi: Sage (2006).
‘Writing as a kind of anthropology: alternative professional genres.’ Pp 91-115 in Geert De Neve & Maya Unnithan-Kumar (eds), Critical Journeys: the Making of Anthropologists. Aldershot: Ashgate (2006).
Anthropology and Expertise in the Asylum Courts. London: Routledge-Cavendish (2007).
‘Cultural evidence in courts of law.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) S47-S60 (2008). [Reprinted at pp. 44-57 in Matthew Engelke (ed), The Objects of Evidence: Anthropological Approaches to the Production of Knowledge. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (2009).]
'Persecution for reasons of religion under the 1951 Refugee Convention.' Pp 27-48 in Thomas G. Kirsch & Bertram Turner (eds), Permutations of Order: Religion and Law as Contested Sovereignties. Farnham & Burlington VT: Ashgate (2009).
'Refugees.' Pp 596-97 in Alan Barnard & Jonathan Spencer (eds.), The Routledge Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology (2nd edition). Routledge: London (2010).
'Witness statements and credibility assessments in the British asylum courts.' Pp 94-122 in Livia Holden (ed), Cultural Expertise and Litigation: Patterns, Conflicts, Narratives. London & New York: Routledge (2011).
'Tales of suffering: asylum narratives in the refugee status determination process.' West Coast Line 68: 80-89 (2011).
(with Robert Gibb) 'Do the facts speak for themselves? Country of Origin Information in French and British refugee status determination procedures.' International Journal of Refugee Law 25(2): 291-322 (2013).
(with Robert Gibb) 'Interpretation, translation and intercultural communication in refugee status determination procedures in the UK and France.' Language and Intercultural Communication 14(3): 385-399 (2014) (doi:10.180/14708477.2014.918314). [Reprinted in Alison Phipps & Rebecca Kay (eds), Languages in Migratory Settings: Place, Politics, and Aesthetics. London: Routledge (2015).]
'Anthropological evidence and Country of Origin Information in British asylum courts.' Pp. 122-44 in Benjamin N. Lawrance & Galya Ruffer (eds), Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise and Testimony. New York: Cambridge University Press (2015).
(edited, with Daniela Berti & Gilles Tarabout). Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment. Farnham: Ashgate (2015).
(with Daniela Berti & Gilles Tarabout). 'Introduction: technologies of doubt in law and ritual.' Pp. 1-17 in Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment. Farnham: Ashgate (2015).
'The benefit of the doubt in British asylum claims and international cricket.' Pp. 119-40 in Of Doubt and Proof: Ritual and Legal Practices of Judgment. Farnham: Ashgate (2015).
'Foreword.' Pp. ix-xviii in Daniela Berti & Devika Bordia (eds), Regimes of Legality: Ethnography of Criminal Cases in South Asia. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (2015).
'Folk models and the law.' The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 47(3): 423-437 (2015).
'Law and anthropology: legal pluralism and "lay" decision-making.' Pp. 211-238 in Dawn Watkins & Mandy Burton (eds), Research Methods in Law (2nd edition). London: Routledge (2017).
(edited, with Nick Gill). Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming).
Working Papers and Work in Progress
(Please do not quote or cite without permission)
- 'Role confusion in the asylum courts: some instantaneous ethical dilemmas.' Unpublished 2010 seminar paper. Read it here.
- 'Anthropologists as providers of Country of Origin Information (COI) in the British asylum courts.' Unpublished 2012 conference paper. Read it here.
- 'Folk models and the law'. Unpublished 2013 plenary lecture. Read it here.
- 'Morality and law in the context of asylum claims.' Unpublished 2014 seminar paper. Read it here.
- 'Animal sacrifice and the law in Tamil Nadu, South India.' Unpublished 2015 conference paper. Read it here.
- (with A.J. Paterson) 'The collection and use of Country of Origin Information in the British asylum process.' Invited paper presented at the conference on Anthropological Expertise in Legal Practice at the Max Planck Institute, Halle, in June 2016. (Note: for reasons of client confidentiality, the paper is not accessible here; to obtain a redacted copy please contact the authors.)
Best Practice Guide
My colleague Tobias Kelly and I, with advice from a group of experienced barristers and solicitors nominated by the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, have produced a guide for anthropologists and other 'country experts' who may be asked to write expert reports in connection with immigration and asylum appeals in the UK. Read and download it here.
(We welcome the reproduction of this publication for the purposes of legal representation, education and training, provided that no charge is made for use of the material and the source of the information is acknowledged.)
Topics interested in supervising
In the past I have supervised students working on Hindus in Pakistan; Hindu festivals in South India and Edinburgh; divine possession in the Nilgiris; pilgrimage in Kerala; Indian kingship; South Indian classical dance; satellite television in India; Buddhist revival in Cambodia; relations between the dead and the living in contemporary Vietnam; appropriate technology in Sri Lanka; child labour; child refugees in Africa; West African migrants in Morocco; culturally competent nursing for asylum applicant families; experiences of waiting among asylum seekers; and the social integration of refugees (the last three all focused on Glasgow). Although officially retired I am still willing to take on students (but only if their topic really interests me!) in areas related to: India and Sri Lanka; refugees and migration; anthropology of law; kinship; anthropology of religion; historical anthropology.
If you are interested in being supervised by Anthony Good, please see the links below for more information: