Saturday, October 1, 2011

Open Thread: Anthropology with Purpose?

Here is where you, the readers, browsers, spies, and visitors to this site can have your say.  What is the purpose of anthropology?  Who should anthropologists engage with?  What audiences?  What social issues should they explore?  What themes?  What's the point of anthropology for YOU?  Feel free to post something as long or short as you wish.  Be creative, challenging, provocative--whatever.  You can post your name, or keep yourself anonymous, that's up to you. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think its all about human relations & interactions, this is the ultimate quest... anything else influential must be understood from this point of view!

John McCreery said...

Congratulations to all of the authors and to Ryan Anderson, in particular, for putting this together. The combination of science and humanity was what drew me to anthropology. Doing something useful for others came later as a motivation, on a telephone crisis line, in Democrats Abroad, now doing what I can to encourage efforts like this. To see it all coming together in the voices of a media-savvy crew like this is heartening, indeed.

Conor said...

Is it just me, or did these posts focus on theoretical discussions of how to get anthropology out in the public realm without anyone actually detailing how they indeed, get it into a public realm? Where were the research stories? And detailed results? And personal accounts of how anthropology touched someone? Or why our methods are a more useful way of carrying out research and provide a better understanding of who we work with?

Isnt that what we do? Research and writing? It seems like anthropologists may just have to research and write for a broader audience...for people who like stories, narratives, and heartwarming personal accounts rather than dry data and theories about how things could or should or be.

I dont mean to offend anyone. They were all well-written, thoughtful articles. Its only my two cents.

Ryan Anderson said...

Hey Conor,

"Is it just me, or did these posts focus on theoretical discussions of how to get anthropology out in the public realm without anyone actually detailing how they indeed, get it into a public realm?"

Did you check out Lende's piece? And the one from Jason Antrosio? Both of them talked about getting anthro into the public (and how they have been working toward doing this)--and Hawks had some pretty good ideas about that too.

"Where were the research stories? And detailed results? And personal accounts of how anthropology touched someone?"

Are you asking for more ethnographic and/or anthropological content? I'll admit, this is kind of a "meta" issue, one that is geared toward asking some questions about where anthropology is heading. But good news, we are planning some upcoming issues that focus less on the meta stuff, and more on content and anthro research. Should be cool.

"Isnt that what we do? Research and writing? It seems like anthropologists may just have to research and write for a broader audience..."

Agreed.

"I dont mean to offend anyone. They were all well-written, thoughtful articles. Its only my two cents."

Hey man, keep giving your two cents!! That's what this is all about. Thanks for the comments!

Conor said...

I think my disappointment stems more from my own expectations before reading these over, than it did with the actual papers. And I did love Jason's article. In fact, I commented on it haha.

Im so happy that you are keeping up with the monthly publications, Ryan. I definitely enjoy reading all of them. Thanks!

Sierra Castedo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anthropology is the study of the man in all its aspects , so since the man is me, I need really to study myself first before the whole of human species and since this study of self is enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life, I don't see if I will have ever the possibility to study the Others. As about methods the best ...ethnography of the self is an amalgame of biographical data through anamnesis with fiction , in other words my ratio married to my emotional imagination and a little salt of intuition to make the soup more tasty. The result of this research is strictly private or personal not concerning any Academia. My results will remain unpublished the same as my name unknown to any colleague or layman.
I vote for the anonymity of texts. More anonymity, more concentration to the real and original identity of the self. It may sound too much auto affirmative but this will be the future of anthropology and it's most possible purpose stsrting from the present.