Laura Charlotte Bear, Anthropology Alumna, Honored by in the Queen's New Years List with the award of an MBE
Bear received her Ph.D. in Anthropology & History in 1998.
Bear is currently the Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology at London School of Economics.
Bear's reflection on her award:
This award is a tribute to the power of anthropology and collaborative work to create policy. Drawing on the research of the LSE Covid and Care Team, which carried out social listening in real time especially with community organisations and disadvantaged groups, I was able to bring new insights and evidence to decisions at the heart of government. I have worked in the behavioural science (SPI-B) and Ethnicity subgroups of SAGE since April 2020 and with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) since October 2020. Anthropology’s emphasis on social fabric contributed to SAGE recommendations on Social Bubbles and MHCLG policy on Community Champions. These are locally mobilised paid volunteers who forged connections beyond received concepts of community to support health programmes such as vaccination. Advice was also given via the Cabinet Office to all ministries and the NHS on how to humanely manage contact with patients and the processes of a ‘good death’ at the peak of the pandemic. Our discipline’s focus on inequality also led me to mount robust challenges to the impact of Covid-19 policy on minoritized groups and their health outcomes, especially processes of stigmatization, particularly in work I led on in SAGE’s Ethnicity subgroup. I am very grateful to all the anthropologists who joined me in these initiatives and to the local government, third sector and community groups I learnt from. It has been a privilege to be part of this collective effort to make a difference. I have learnt to speak boldly in the corridors of power, something I could only do as an independent expert amplifying the knowledge of ‘informants,’ who were of course the real experts.