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Anthropology Public Sociocultural Anthropologies
by
Peggy Reeves Sanday

Introduction

In its early history as a distinct social science discipline, anthropology’s public outreach consisted of informing the public regarding the “natural history of man,” as anthropology was defined by the Anthropological Society of Washington in l879, which in 1902 became the American Anthropological Association (AAA). The natural history of man was represented in museum exhibitions on human evolution and the material culture of societies past and present. Beginning in the 20th century, anthropology’s public engagement included a humanitarian effort on the part of Franz Boas and his students to inform the public regarding the social meaning of human adaptability, thereby placing more importance on human equity than on cultural evolutionary hierarchies. In the holistic approach of Boas and his students to the study of the societies of the world, they identified a specifically cultural dimension of human life along with its linguistic, evolutionary, archaeological, and biocultural components. The Boasian concept of cultural relativism challenged Western ethnocentrism, and Boasian science sought to demolish racist doctrines. Boasian anthropology informed the public through museums and public commentary. Boas gave radio addresses and wrote for broad audiences. Ruth Benedict, one of his students, published books that garnered a wide public audience, as did Margaret Mead, another student, who also wrote a column in a popular magazine. With the expansion of anthropology into the academy, an unfortunate dichotomy developed, representing anthropological research as either “pure” or “applied.” As the 20th century progressed, the humanism of the Boasian tradition was continued inside and outside of the academy by sociocultural anthropologists, who did not see themselves as falling either within the tradition of pure or applied science but as partly in both. They described their work using a variety of labels conveying commitment to public engagement. Examples include “applied anthropology,” organized as a separate association in 1941; “action anthropology,” named in the 1950s; “critical, feminist, public interest, and practicing anthropology,” named in the 1970s; “militant anthropology,” named in 1992; “engaged anthropology,” named in 1995; and “public anthropology,” named in 2000. These developments are considered here under the more general label “public sociocultural anthropologies,” with reference also to the overlapping fields of applied and practicing anthropology. In the early 21st century, public anthropology is a multisited field operating from the many different perspectives that have proliferated beyond the original five-field approach of anthropology. Many of these perspectives are covered in various other Oxford Bibliographies anthropology articles. This bibliography focuses primarily on the public outreach of sociocultural anthropology, as it developed in the academy with roots in the public engagement of the Boasian era.

Concept History

Two approaches are evident in the merging of theory, research, and action by publically oriented sociocultural anthropologists who are addressing human problems and commenting on sociocultural trends in their own society: One approach interprets the world through the lens of anthropological research with an eye on conducting corrective strategies by means of public outreach; the other focuses on building a science that turns its attention to maladaptive or inequitable public and global processes in the interest of developing a socially responsible and responsive science. Whereas the first weds anthropological research to political processes and education in the interest of change, the second approach, more strictly academic, seeks to expand the epistemological and conceptual frameworks for studying and responding to public cultural and social processes. Both approaches connect science and society and theory and practice, but in different ways. For example, the science goal is evident in the editorial statement of the journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), established in 1941 (Editorial Statement). For the academic debate regarding pure versus applied anthropological science, see Lewis 2001; for other approaches to the science question, see Bridging Theory and Practice, Ethnographies Addressing Public Audiences, and Engaged Anthropology Defined and the Science Question Revisited. Those sociocultural anthropologists who carried on the humanism of the Boasian legacy in the academy tended to mark their work as separate from the scientific disengagement of basic research by giving it the various labels noted in the Introduction. As the 20th century progressed, promotion of the public and practical implications of academic anthropology became more pronounced. In 1985, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) incorporated practicing anthropology with the issuance of the NAPA Bulletin. The AAA’s commitment to anthropological practice continued with the inauguration of a “Practicing Anthropology” section in its flagship journal, the American Anthropologist (Johnston 2008). This was followed by the establishment of a “Public Anthropology” section in 2010 (Wali, et al. 2010). The publication by a group of sociocultural anthropologists of the new journal Anthropology Now, beginning in 2009, was explicitly aimed at a broad audience. Further development along these lines came in late 2010, with the issuance of its long-range plan by the Executive Board of the AAA, stressing the importance of advancing “public understanding of humankind in all its aspects” (see AAA Long-Range Plan). Today, sociocultural anthropologists are reaching out to the public from many sites within and outside of the academy, online and otherwise, using various media and popular cultural outlets.

  • AAA Long-Range Plan.

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    This version of the AAA Long-Range Plan was updated by the Executive Board at its 20 November 2010 annual meeting in New Orleans, in order to address the changing composition of the profession and the needs of the AAA membership.

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  • American Anthropologist.

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    The flagship journal of the AAA advances the organization’s mission. The journal instituted sections on practicing anthropology and public anthropology in the years 2008 and 2009, respectively.

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  • Anthropology Now.

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    This journal was founded in 2009. The editors state that they are looking for essays that are relatively short, fascinating, addressed to a general audience, and engaged in contemporary problems. They also say there should be minimal jargon and few if any references, and the essays should be shaped as a narrative.

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  • Editorial Statement. 1941. Human Organization 1.1: 1–2.

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    The editorial philosophy of this then-new journal is based on the premise that as the science of human relations, anthropological theories must be tested in practice. The goals include eliminating social problems in the interest of harmonious social relations, working out more effective and democratic systems of government, and extending harmony in the relationships between nations.

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  • Johnston, Barbara Rose. 2008. From the associate editor for practicing anthropology. American Anthropologist 110.2: 172.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2008.00022_2.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Johnston defines practicing anthropology as the array of research, methods, and outcomes that is conducted inside and outside of the academy in collaborative and participatory contexts, with the goal of understanding and responding to human experience. She sees practicing anthropology not as a fifth field but as a component of all anthropological work.

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  • Lewis, Herbert. 2001. The passion of Franz Boas. American Anthropologist 103.2: 447–467.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.2001.103.2.447Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article discusses the rise of Franz Boas’s “pure science” in anthropology and the denigration of his contribution by some anthropologists. Lewis defends Boas as devoting his lifetime “to advance a science that would serve humanity.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • NAPA Bulletin. American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC.

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    Looking to engage practitioners, academics, and students, the NAPA Bulletin publishes articles on practical problem-solving and policy applications of anthropological knowledge. It publishes articles on research topics related to public health, social justice, the media, environmental management, and other timely issues.

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  • Wali, Alaka, Melissa Checker, and David S. Vine, eds. 2010. Introducing public anthropology reviews. American Anthropologist 113.3: 5–6.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2011.01356.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The editors note that significant changes are underway in anthropology. They state that anthropologists have a responsibility to dedicate their skills to issues of broad public import in work that communicates primarily with nonanthropological audiences in ways that will have an impact on critical issues of wide social significance.

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Boasian Era

The seeds for the multisited roots of the public anthropologies were planted in the Boasian era. Franz Boas, hailed as the founder of American anthropology, came from Germany to the United States in 1889 with a doctorate in physics and with extensive training in geography and ethnology. Truth for Boas lay as much in particulars as it did in generalities, as long as the latter were based in the inductive method and rested on “assemblages of data” (see Partridge and Eddy 1987). Boas thought of anthropology as being simultaneously committed both to “the ice-cold flame of the passion for seeking the truth for truth’s sake” and to “the task of weaning the people from a complacent yielding to prejudice, [to] help them to the power of clear thought, so that they may be able to understand the problems that confront us all” (Boas 1969, p. 2). Publically engaged research for Boas included entering the fray of scientific and cultural politics and speaking out in various public and professional fora. His development of the concept of culture and cultural relativism was in part a response to the scientific racism and ethnocentrism of the time (see Stocking 1968, Baker 1998). A large proportion of the faculty at Columbia University, where Boas was employed, was involved in public service activities and debates (Stocking 1979). Margaret Mead, who was among Boas’s many students, mirrored these goals while developing her own forms of public outreach, which included writing for public magazines and addressing the public in a variety of ways (Lutkehaus 2008). Mead was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, with these words: “To a public of millions, she brought the central insight of cultural anthropology: that varying cultural patterns express an underlying human unity.” Ruth Benedict, another of Boas’s students, wrote an important book on the patterning of culture (Benedict 2005) that communicated the meaning and usefulness of the concept of culture (which she labeled “the science of custom”) to a broad public audience and to generations of college students. (For an examination of anthropological involvement in World War II, see Price 2008; for an account of the public activities related to the development of anthropology in the first half of the 20th century, see the articles in Goldschmidt 1979, cited under Public Interest Anthropology.)

  • Baker, Lee D. 1998. From savage to Negro: Anthropology and the construction of race, 1896–1954. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Baker provides an excellent history of early anthropology from the point of view of the race issue.

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  • Benedict, Ruth. 2005. Patterns of culture. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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    Originally published in 1934, this book introduces cultural anthropology as “the science of custom” devoted to the study of cultural diversity and the holistic nature of culture. The preface is by Margaret Mead, and the introduction is by Franz Boas. The 2005 edition includes a foreword by Louise Lamphere. The book has drawn generations of students into anthropology.

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  • Boas, Franz. 1969. Race and democratic society. New York: Biblio and Tannen.

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    This volume presents a number of Boas’s speeches, addresses, and public viewpoints, written for public audiences.

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  • Lutkehaus, Nancy C. 2008. Margaret Mead: The making of an American icon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    This author identifies four key public images associated with Mead that are generally accepted today: her ideas about women, non-Western peoples, culture, and America’s role in the 20th century. Mead was a cultural innovator and a major public intellectual.

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  • Partridge, William L., and Elizabeth M. Eddy. 1987. The development of applied anthropology in America. In Applied anthropology in America. 2d ed. Edited by Elizabeth M. Eddy and William L. Partridge, 3–43. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    Originally published in 1978, this introductory chapter provides a good survey of the early development of anthropology, along with an overview of the early history and aims of applied anthropology, including its scientific grounding, public engagement, and policy outreach.

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  • Price, David H. 2008. Anthropological intelligence: The deployment and neglect of American anthropology in the Second World War. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    By the time the United States officially entered World War II, more than half of American anthropologists were involved in enhancing the war efforts. Price examines the nature of their involvement and that of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. He also raises questions regarding the ethical implications of anthropology’s involvement.

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  • Stocking, George W. 1968. Race, culture, and evolution: Essays in the history of anthropology. New York: Free Press.

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    This is a good source on the early development of anthropology in France, England, and the United States in the 19th century, which includes the informative chapter “Franz Boas and the Culture Concept in Historical Perspective.” The author comments on Boas’s search for scientific truth and his identification with humanity and devotion to “equal rights for all.”

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  • Stocking, George W. 1979. Anthropology as Kulturkampf: Science and politics in the career of Franz Boas. In The uses of anthropology. Edited by Walter Goldschmidt, 33–50. Washington, DC: American Anthropological Association.

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    This is an excellent source on the role of science and politics in Boas’s career.

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Action Anthropology, Poverty Studies

Like Boas, Mead, and Benedict, Sol Tax bridges the divide between public outreach and academic research by engaging in what the author named “action anthropology” in 1951 (see Tax 1975). His account of his student and career trajectory beginning in 1931 at the University of Chicago reveals the conflicts and difficulties that a publically engaged, “action-oriented” anthropologist such as Tax faced with the increasingly exclusive focus in the academy on theoretical modeling and “pure science” (Tax 1975, Tax 1988, Stocking 2000). In the 1950s, Tax’s action anthropology was discussed by a number of prominent anthropologists (see Holmberg 1958). Allan Holmberg was another innovator in this endeavor, but with a difference. He saw his work in Vicos, Peru, as a “scientific experiment in social change,” action on behalf of science. Robert Redfield (in Holmberg 1958, p. 20) notes that Tax and Holmberg “represented the anthropologist-intervener, the man who both seeks theoretical knowledge and also strives to bring about or assist to bring about a local improvement in human welfare. Both hope to do both good and science.” (For a much-later reappraisal of action anthropology, see Foley 1999.) Oscar Lewis was another anthropologist interested in using anthropology for enlightenment on public issues regarding human welfare. In a number of then-popular ethnographies, Lewis renders the lives of the poor as being transformed by poverty, arguing that although the burdens of poverty were imposed by social conditions, poverty led to the formation of an autonomous subculture as children were socialized into behaviors and attitudes that perpetuated their inability to escape the “underclass” (for example, see Lewis 1959). Building on these ethnographies, Lewis 1996 developed some seventy characteristics that the author claimed marked the presence of “the culture of poverty.” Other anthropologists (e.g., Goode and Eames 1996) critiqued this concept. A quite-different approach to poverty is taken by Sidney Mintz in a biography of a Puerto Rican man who was involved in union and political affairs and who, motivated by the ideal of justice, acted as a “doer” rather than one of those who was “done to” (see Mintz 1960). This introduction of an organic intellectual into the anthropological literature constituted a form of action that later inspired other ethnographies and work in Latin America.

  • Foley, Douglas E. 1999. The Fox Project: A reappraisal. Current Anthropology 40.2: 171–192.

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    This article provides a later reappraisal of “action anthropology” through the lens of Tax’s Fox Project. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Goode, Judith, and Edwin Eames. 1996. An anthropological critique of the culture of poverty. In Urban life: Readings in urban anthropology. Edited by George Gmelch and Walter P. Zenner, 405–417. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

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    This is a good source for the various critiques of the culture of poverty.

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  • Holmberg, Allan R. 1958. Values in action: A symposium. Human Organization 17.1: 2–26.

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    This issue also features articles by Lisa R. Peattie, H.G. Barnett, Sol Tax, Robert Redfield, Conrad Arensberg, Julio de la Fuente, and others. The debate demonstrates the degree to which some academic anthropologists carried on the practice of bridging science and engagement in their thinking and in their work.

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  • Lewis, Oscar. 1959. Five families: Mexican case studies in the culture of poverty. New York: Basic Books.

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    The book was widely hailed by social policy experts as being the answer to the problem of poverty. Lewis’s ideas were criticized by a number of anthropologists, including Eleanor Leacock and Charles Valentine. See Goode and Eames 1996 for an overview of the critiques.

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  • Lewis, Oscar. 1996. The culture of poverty. In Urban life: Readings in urban anthropology. 3d ed. Edited by George Gmelch and Walter P. Zenner, 393–404. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

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    Originally published in 1966, in this chapter Lewis lists the characteristics of poverty based on ethnographies of poor families in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

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  • Mintz, Sidney Wilfred. 1960. Worker in the cane: A Puerto Rican life history. Caribbean Series 2. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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    This autobiography with Mintz’s commentary presents the everyday life of a Puerto Rican sugarcane worker, his struggles, his activism, and his poverty. It is a moving personal document that illuminates life on the ground rather than generalizing through theory and conceptual overkill.

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  • Stocking, George W. 2000. “Do good, young man”: Sol Tax and the world mission of liberal democratic anthropology. In Excluded ancestors, inventible traditions: Essays toward a more inclusive history of anthropology. Edited by Richard Handler, 171–264. History of Anthropology 9. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    Stocking sees Sol Tax, much as did Robert Redfield, as doing science from a leftist political position. This is an excellent survey of Tax’s career at the University of Chicago.

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  • Tax, Sol. 1975. Action anthropology. Current Anthropology 16.4: 514–517.

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    This paper was originally an address given in 1958. Tax says that action anthropology was his invention and was first publically used in 1951. He suggests that action anthropology is based in the tradition of cultural anthropological theory. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Tax, Sol. 1988. Pride and puzzlement: A retro-introspective record of 60 years of anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology 17:1–22.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.an.17.100188.000245Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is an evocative intellectual overview of Tax’s experiences as an action anthropologist during his student and faculty career at the University of Chicago, which includes some interesting observations regarding how theory that is deeply embedded in fieldwork was considered antitheoretical at the time.

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Social Responsibility

The Vietnam War and the US civil rights movement of the 1960s sparked intense soul searching about the goals of anthropology among anthropologists, who were by inclination and temperament politically engaged, which speeded up anthropology’s scientific commitment to solving human problems as opposed to being exclusively focused on documenting sociocultural processes. Publically engaged anthropologists were outspoken in calling for anthropology to be relevant and socially responsive. Examples can be found in Berreman 1968, Gjessing 1968, and Gough 1968, published in Sol Tax’s journal Current Anthropology, together with an international array of responses. One commentator, Olga Akhmanova, agrees with the authors’ calls to make anthropology relevant (Akhmanova 1968). Another rejects any “totalitarian effort” to commit anthropologists to political positions (Beals 1968). The articles and the comments in this section provide an interesting overview of the political issues roiling anthropological debate when sociocultural anthropology was, in a sense, still a nascent science seeking a public role. This trend is particularly evident in public outreach through ethnography. Three widely cited ethnographies published around this time focus on American dilemmas from the point of view of those living their lives around “getting drunk” (Spradley 2000) or finding ways to make do despite the constraints imposed by poverty and racism (Hannerz 1969, Stack 1974). These studies focus on the poor and disenfranchised in a fashion that challenges American stereotypes and state welfare policies and beliefs regarding poverty, addiction, and race. James Spradley challenges stereotypes about nomadic “drunks” and their public treatment by humanizing them and their lives. Ulf Hannerz hung out with black men on a street corner, getting to know the interests that conditioned their choices and to understand how they put their lives together. Carol Stack engaged with black families living in poverty, in order to understand the broader network of relationships that provided a safety net for surviving and living a well-connected family life. Her portrait contrasted dramatically with the approach adopted by Oscar Lewis (see Action Anthropology, Poverty Studies). Aware of the stigma associated with alcoholism and poverty, by seeing these facts through everyday interests and actions these authors project onto the printed page the dignity of people’s lives, such as Mintz does with the cane worker he studied Action Anthropology, Poverty Studies). These ethnographies illuminate and humanize daily life while critiquing the broader society and its top-down welfare policies.

  • Akhmanova, Olga. 1968. Comment. Current Anthropology 9.5: 407.

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    This linguist, writing from Russia, praises the authors included in the journal for bringing home to all anthropologists the idea that the modern world should be their immediate concern. She wonders, however, whether Current Anthropology’s voice is strong enough to be heard by the general public and responsible government officials.

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  • Beals, Ralph. 1968. Comment. Current Anthropology 9.5: 407–408.

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    Beals’s comment is in favor of action anthropology but only when anthropology has developed scientific maturity on a given subject. He does not favor commitment on ideological grounds alone, a critique he levels at Gough’s position. This is an interesting commentary by an anthropologist committed to a long-term view of the uses of anthropology.

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  • Berreman, Gerald D. 1968. Is anthropology alive? Social responsibility in social anthropology. Current Anthropology 9.5: 391–435.

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    Berreman refers to the work of those anthropologists who do not engage in public issues as practicing “sterile professionalism” and suggests that the fear of such commitment is irresponsible. He refers to anthropology as a humanist science that is obligated to provide an image of humanity that reflects the experience of our time.

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  • Current Anthropology.

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    This journal was launched in 1959 by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. For many years, it was edited by Sol Tax, whose action anthropology is well known. The journal seeks to provide an interdisciplinary approach and international dialogue, with an international panel of specialists commenting on major research papers. It is also well known for its concern with public issues as well as with anthropological theory.

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  • Gjessing, Gutorm. 1968. The social responsibility of the social scientist. Current Anthropology 9.5: 397–402.

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    Gjessing, a Norwegian anthropologist, believes that anthropology is irrelevant if it doesn’t conceive of its aim as a social activity with a responsibility to society and “to mankind as a whole.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Gough, Kathleen. 1968. New proposals for anthropologists. Current Anthropology 9.5: 403–407.

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    Gough critiques anthropology as being a child of Western imperialism. She also notes that anthropologists may be directed by nationalist and military policies rather than a search for truth.

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  • Hannerz, Ulf. 1969. Soulside: Inquiries into ghetto culture and community. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    During the tense 1960s in Washington, DC, Hannerz focused on the details of the everyday lives of the ghetto inhabitants whom he observed and participated with, revealing in this book their beliefs and expectations and the diversity of their lifestyles.

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  • Spradley, James P. 2000. You owe yourself a drunk: An ethnography of urban nomads. Boston: Little, Brown.

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    Originally published in 1970 (Boston: Little, Brown). This ethnography was another example of the increasingly evident shift toward “bringing anthropology home” during the 1960s. Spradley’s carefully researched portrayal of skid row men in Seattle in the late 1960s documents their treatment by jails and the legal system before homelessness became a recognized problem.

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  • Stack, Carol B. 1974. All our kin: Strategies for survival in a black community. New York: Basic Books.

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    This classic ethnography looks at the interests of black families in the way they live their lives and relate to the state. Stack studied the family dynamics of second-generation, poverty-class urban dwellers in the poorest section of a black community in a Midwestern city, who depended on welfare benefits from Aid to Families.

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Reinventing Anthropology

In an influential edited volume first published in 1969, Hymes 1999, whose author is well known for his pathbreaking work in Native American languages and linguistics, provided further impetus to anthropology’s public engagement. The title of the book—Reinventing Anthropology—was bold, as were the challenges Hymes issued in the introduction, reflecting his commitment to a socially responsible anthropology. He predicted that anthropology “will disappear” if it continues to become only “a hodgepodge of vested interests, in which those who care about the true interests of mankind will find little place.” In her chapter (Nader 1999), Laura Nader issues a call to “study up,” a challenge that continues to resonate in the 21st century. She critiques cultural anthropology’s almost-exclusive focus either on studying others in faraway places or focusing on the poor, the disadvantaged, and disenfranchised when studying their home society. Willis 1999 critiques anthropology for being the study of the “colored peoples of the world” by white people and delivers a classic “study-up” image from the author’s perspective as an African American anthropologist. Three additional contributions, Wolf 1999, Diamond 1999, and Scholte 1999, introduce the importance of Marx and the notion of “critical anthropology.” Inspired by the Frankfurt school of Marxist thought (see Fischer 1997), these authors reflect on anthropology’s elision of power in the study of culture. Wolf 1999 calls on anthropologists to educate themselves in the realities of power and to engage in “a critical and comprehensive history of the modern world” that addresses the slave trade, the fur trade, colonial expansion, forced voluntary acculturation, and so on. Diamond 1999 refers to Rousseau and Marx, noting that between them, “they have constructed an astonishing critique of the origins and fate of the modern consciousness.” Diamond also provides one of the first critiques of Boasian relativism, saying that “it is in accord with the spirit of the time, a perspective congenial in an imperial civilization convinced of its power” (p. 421). Diamond founded the international journal Dialectical Anthropology dedicated to internationalizing research on social change (see Journals in Other Countries). Scholte 1999 describes a “reflexive and critical anthropology” along the lines laid down by Wolf and Diamond.

  • Diamond, Stanley. 1999. Anthropology in question. In Reinventing anthropology. Edited by Dell H. Hymes, 401–429. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    Originally published in 1969, in this article Diamond introduces “critical anthropology” and the influence of Rousseau and Marx on the development of critical anthropology. Diamond founded the journal Dialectical Anthropology (see Journals in Other Countries) in 1975, which provided a publishing source for writing about activism and linking theory and practice.

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  • Fischer, Michael M. J. 1997. Critical anthropology. In The dictionary of anthropology. Edited by Thomas J. Barfield, 90. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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    This dictionary entry provides an overview of “critical anthropology” through 1996, including a short overview of the impact of the Frankfurt school’s “critical theory.” This entry ties critical anthropology to research that is motivated by an intellectual desire to interpret social life in the interest of change.

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  • Hymes, Dell H., ed. 1999. Introduction. In Reinventing anthropology. Edited by Dell H. Hymes, v–xxlix. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    The revised edition of this book, first published in 1969, was reissued in 1999 with a new lengthy introduction, updating publically engaged academic developments since the book’s original publication. Hymes’s account of his academic career provides a useful case study of the ups and downs experienced by a publically engaged academic.

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  • Nader, Laura. 1999. Up the anthropologist—perspectives from studying up. In Reinventing anthropology. Edited by Dell H. Hymes, 284–311. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    Originally published in 1969, in this chapter Nader asks why we study the poor but do not address the question of why others are rich. She also asks why we are interested in why peasants don’t change but do not ask about the resistance to change in the Pentagon, in universities, or in bureaucracies serving the public.

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  • Scholte, Bob. 1999. Toward a reflexive and critical anthropology. In Reinventing anthropology. Edited by Dell H. Hymes, 430–457. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    Originally published in 1969, the author provides an excellent discussion of the meaning of reflexive and critical anthropology.

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  • Willis, William S. 1999. Skeletons in the anthropological closet. In Reinventing anthropology. Edited by Dell H. Hymes, 121–152. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    Originally published in 1969, Willis calls on anthropology to study the perspectives of “colored peoples,” from Richard Wright’s “frog perspectives” of looking upward from below (p. 121).

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  • Wolf, Eric R. 1999. American anthropologists and American society. In Reinventing anthropology. Edited by Dell Hymes, 251–263. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    In this chapter, originally published in 1969, Wolf asks tough questions about why anthropologists don’t study power and their own society. (For more on Eric R. Wolf, see Globalization, Public Culture, Power, and Decolonization).

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Public Interest Anthropology

Building on the stepped-up public engagement efforts of academic anthropology and in response to the civil rights movement of the times, in the early 1970s Peggy Reeves Sanday brought together a group of publically oriented social scientists and anthropologists for a conference on public interest anthropology (PIA). PIA focuses on the study of interests expressed by various publics in the public sphere. Interests (and the related publics) are many layered, ranging from those voiced by a group interacting on a street corner in a particular nation-state to metacultural pronouncements delineating basic constitutional rights, to which citizens may refer in struggles against the state. In Sanday 1976, the contributing authors, which include anthropologists such as Ward Goodenough, Anthony F. C. Wallace, and Carol Stack, as well as historian Winthrop D. Jordan, focus on a variety of topics in relation either to policy issues or to the inequalities engendered by specific public policies and programs. Several years after this book was published, the AAA began a sustained effort to publicize the history of anthropology’s public engagement, which led to Goldschmidt 1979, a book titled The Uses of Anthropology. In the same year (1979), a special issue of the journal Practicing Anthropology, founded in 1977, was devoted to PIA (Wulff, et al. 1979). The articles address the meanings of PIA from a variety of practicing perspectives, ranging from working in the White House and Congress to public policy formation and lobbying by anthropologists in citizens’ organizations. For example, in Davis and Mathews 2000, the authors ground PIA in “the democratic traditions of citizen activism rather than the bureaucratic needs of management and control.” Alvin Wolfe writes that the journal was founded in 1977 with the intention of providing a public forum for all anthropologists interested in using their knowledge outside academia (Wolfe 2000). There were also other key turning-point developments during the 1970s that were symptomatic of the increasing turn to public engagement on the part of the AAA. The Association of Black Anthropologists was founded in 1970 in coordination with the AAA, with the goal and mission of “ensuring that people studied by anthropologists are not only objects of study but active makers and/or participants in their own history.” The 1970s also saw the beginning of feminist anthropology with the publication of Rosaldo and Lamphere 1974.

  • Davis, Shelton H., and Robert O. Mathews. 2000. Public interest anthropology: Beyond the bureaucratic ethos. In Classics of practicing anthropology: 1978–1998. Edited by Patricia J. Higgins and J. Anthony Paredes, 37–42. Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.

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    First published in 1979, this article defines public interest from the “bottom up,” namely from the citizen’s point of view.

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  • Goldschmidt, Walter Rochs, ed. 1979. The uses of anthropology. Special Publication of the American Anthropological Association 11. Washington, DC: American Anthropological Association.

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    The book examines the early uses of anthropology, in the Depression, in World War II, and during the 1970s. The contributing authors are practicing and academic anthropologists, including Curtis M. Hinsley Jr., George W. Stocking Jr., Solon T. Kimball, Margaret Mead, George M. Foster, and Peggy Reeves Sanday.

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  • Rosaldo, Michelle Zimbalist, and Louise Lamphere, eds. 1974. Women, culture, and society. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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    This book was the first compilation of articles by women anthropologists on the roles and status of women in band and tribal societies. The articles were written by sixteen women anthropologists, many of whom would go on to establish a reputation in feminist anthropology in subsequent years.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves, ed. 1976. Anthropology and the public interest: Fieldwork and theory. New York: Academic Press.

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    This book examines the anthropologist’s role in public policies, including education, and social policy. The focus is on social processes and widely circulated opinions related to actions in the US public domain that work “for or against an egalitarian ideology” (p. xvii).

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  • Wolfe, Alvin W. 2000. How it all began. In Classics of practicing anthropology: 1978–1998. Edited by Patricia J. Higgins and J. Anthony Paredes, 15–20. Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.

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    First published in 1979, this is a discussion of the circumstances and people involved in the development of the journal Practicing Anthropology.

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  • Wulff, Robert M, Kirk L. Gray, and Erve Chambers, eds. 1979. Special issue: Public interest anthropology. Practicing Anthropology 1.3.

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    This is an excellent overview of the range and depth of practicing anthropology as it was conceived at the time the journal was first published.

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Bridging Theory and Practice

During the 1980s, action anthropology, “studying-up,” and relevance were very much on the minds of those working in mainstream academic anthropology from coast to coast (see Action Anthropology, Poverty Studies, Reinventing Anthropology, and Social Responsibility). Nash 1979, Mintz 1985, Wolf 1982, and Taussig 1987 showcase anthropologists who are working theoretically, practically, and imaginatively on the impact of economic, political, and otherworldly social imaginaries on the inequalities and violence of everyday life. They do this by examining the mechanisms of social imaginaries and social power as controlling processes. In her Sidney W. Mintz lecture (Nader 1997), Laura Nader conceptualizes the hegemonic role of various controlling processes. Sanday 1981 focuses on male dominance as a controlling process by examining the correlates of and variability in male dominance, in order to contest the Western notion that male dominance is universal and rape is biologically controlled. On the theoretical plane, Ortner 1994 differentiates between anthropological theory that fits the “pure” theoretical model as opposed to “practice anthropology,” in which theory and practice are intertwined, one influencing the other. This is a point made in similar terms by applied anthropologists such as John Van Willigen, who notes the “feedback” relationship between “the theoretical and applied realms” (Van Willigen 1984). Marcus and Fischer 1986 introduces the notion of “anthropology as cultural critique,” following up on the reflexive ideas of Diamond’s “critical anthropology.” The importance the authors place on studying the self while examining the other begins to bring the modern world of which anthropology is a part under critical review.

  • Marcus, George, and Michael Fischer. 1986. Anthropology as cultural critique: An experimental moment in the human sciences. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This classic analysis extends the application of critical anthropology to theory and ethnographic practice, placing the researcher’s standpoint into the mix of all that is considered in research, action, and praxis.

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  • Mintz, Sidney. 1985. Sweetness and power: The place of sugar in modern history. New York: Viking.

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    Through fieldwork and archival research, Mintz examines the relationship connecting commodity production, consumption, and power. He demonstrates how “the controllers of society” constrain the free choice of consumers and create new consumption needs in order to control demand. He suggests that this kind of institutional power affects the internalization of codes of behavior and thereby transforms social relations.

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  • Nader, Laura. 1997. Controlling processes: Tracing the dynamic components of power. Current Anthropology 38.5: 711–737.

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    Building on her long focus on law, culture, and society, in this reprint of her Sidney W. Mintz lecture for 1995, Nader makes a theoretical contribution to anthropological discussions that frame the relationship between cultural notions of value and unarticulated, usually economic, mechanisms of control operating as regimes of power.

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  • Nash, June. 1979. We eat the mines and the mines eat us: Dependency and exploitation in Bolivian tin mines. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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    This is a study of Bolivia’s Aymara and Quechua people, the “Indian proletariats” employed in the mining enterprises, who are part of a long tradition of resistance to antilabor governments. The analysis includes an interpretation of class consciousness, family bonding, ritual, and symbolism in the culture of the miners.

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  • Ortner, Sherry B. 1994. Theory since the sixties. In Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory. Edited by Nicholas B. Dirks, Geoff Eley, and Sherry B. Ortner. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    First published in Comparative Studies in Society and History in 1984, in this classic article Ortner provides an excellent overview of theoretical developments since the 1960s, ending with a summary of “practice theory,” which she continued to elaborate on in her later theoretical and ethnographic work.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 1981. The socio-cultural context of rape: A cross-cultural study. Journal of Social Issues 37.4: 5–27.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1981.tb01068.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this cross-cultural study, Sanday finds an empirical difference between the sociocultural context of “rape-free” (in which rape is of low incidence) and “rape-prone” (in which rape is an accepted practice). The article has been widely reprinted in the United States and other countries. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Taussig, Michael. 1987. Shamanism, colonialism, and the wild man: A study in terror and healing. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    In this book, Taussig enters the world of human imagination, its aura, its terror, and its multiple impacts on the imagination and lived reality. Walter Benjamin is an important ancestor, who lurks in and speaks through Taussig, bringing to life the social reality of truth as being not in whether facts are real but in the politics of their interpretation and representation.

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  • Van Willigen, John. 1984. Truth and effectiveness: An essay on the relationships between information, policy and action in applied anthropology. Human Organization 43.3: 277–282.

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    A good demonstration of how applied anthropology maps the interactive feedback relationship between theory and practice.

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  • Wolf, Eric R. 1982. Europe and the people without history. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    In this book, Wolf returns to the insights of an older anthropology reflected in the work of Alfred Kroeber and Ralph Linton, who sought to think in terms of a “global culture history.” This approach lays the foundation for the later interest in transnationalism and global flows. Wolf’s span is both historical and global as he looks at the forces driving the interaction of cultures since l492.

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Ethnographies Addressing Public Audiences

This section includes five very different ethnographies conducted or published in the 1980s that bridge theory and practice and follow through on the promise of reinventing anthropology by choosing topics of public interest. These books are based on longtime fieldwork and provide examples of anthropologists mirroring the everyday feelings, lyricism, or suffering in various parts of the world. The anthropologists bring to broad audiences the aesthetics and cultural or sexual politics of the people with whom they lived or worked, in the interest of enlightenment and debate on specific issues. Abu-Lughod 1999 is a deeply engaged ethnography of gender relations, conducted in a Bedouin community of the western desert of Egypt, in which the author lived for two years. In the ethnography, she sees culture through poetry, not through generalizations about themes and processes. Ginsburg 1998 takes a “hands-off” approach to the abortion debate by providing an account of the beliefs, values, and actions involved from both sides. Responding to the acquaintance gang rape of one of the author’s students, Sanday 2007 illuminates the problem of acquaintance rape on college campuses through a collaborative ethnography with students who were the objects of, participants in, or witnesses to widely reported cases of several different campus gang rapes. Addressed to college audiences, including students, faculty, and administrators, the book brought attention to a widespread practice. Fischer and Abedi 1990 introduces the English-speaking world to Islamic public cultural processes with ethnographic snippets drawn from various parts of the world. Another well-known ethnography, Scheper-Hughes 1992, delves into the heart-rending severity of hunger and child death in Brazil. This book sparked an important debate regarding a “scientific,” as opposed to a “moral,” anthropology (Scheper-Hughes 1995, D’Andrade 1995), airing at some length the ongoing shift from the idea of anthropology as a strictly disengaged science to one that seeks public engagement for change as part of its scientific endeavor.

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1999. Veiled sentiments: Honor and poetry in a Bedouin society. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Originally published in 1986, this well-known ethnography presents the oral lyric poetry through which Bedouin women and young men express their personal feelings. Clifford Geertz wrote that this book is “a brilliant study of moral constraint and personal expression” (jacket copy).

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  • D’Andrade, Roy. 1995. Moral models in anthropology. Current Anthropology 36.3: 399–408.

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    In this article, D’Andrade argues that anthropology should be based on an “objective” as opposed to a “moral” model of the world. An objective model is one based solely on describing the object in the search for “empirical truths about the world.” He says that the aim of a moral model, on the other hand, is to identify what is good and bad in order to allocate praise or blame. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Fischer, Michael M. J., and Mehdi Abedi. 1990. Debating Muslims: Cultural dialogues in postmodernity and tradition. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press.

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    This is a prescient examination of the cultural politics brewing in the Islamic world, as well as a thought-provoking look at Islamic culture in various parts of the world.

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  • Ginsburg, Faye D. 1998. Contested lives: The abortion debate in an American community. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Originally published in 1989, this well-known ethnography sets the abortion debate in an American community in the context of “the American body politic,” Roe vs. Wade, and the right-to-life movement.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 2007. Fraternity gang rape: Sex brotherhood and privilege on campus. 2d ed. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    Originally published in 1990, in this book Sanday provides “I-witness” accounts of fraternity sexual rituals described by participants on a number of college campuses. The accounts defamiliarize the “boys will be boys” and “she asked for it” explanations for “gang bangs” on college campuses. Students working with Sanday reflect on how these cultural categories make women passive objects and men sexual agents in male dominance rituals.

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  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1992. Death without weeping: The violence of everyday life in Brazil. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This graphic, award-winning ethnography describes the author’s moral and political engagement with citizens in combating the extreme poverty and child mortality in the Brazilian area where she worked. Scheper-Hughes describes her reliance on critical theory, which she defines as “theory derived in the context of political practice,” and her outreach to multiple audiences in writing the book.

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  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1995. The primacy of the ethical: Propositions for a militant anthropology. Current Anthropology 36.3: 409–440.

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    Responding to D’Andrade 1995, Scheper-Hughes argues that anthropology should be used to help people find the understanding and wherewithal to respond to matters of life and death. Her engagement is an effort to understand in order to heal. She locates truth in the tragedy of hunger in the daily struggle to survive.

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Engaged Anthropology Defined and the Science Question Revisited

In the late 1980s and moving into the 1990s, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) stepped up its efforts to encourage professional engagement with social issues. In his capacity as president of the AAA from 1987 to 1989, Roy Rappaport convened two panels of scholars to consider anthropology’s engagement in public issues, chaired by Shepard Forman and Emilio Moran. Forman 1995 and Moran 1996 are edited books consisting of papers by panel members, representing a broad spectrum of the field, from biological to applied anthropology and from cultural to policy analysis. From these developments, a different view of science emerged. As articulated in Rappaport 1995, engaged anthropology draws on “postmodern science,” as it is described by the philosopher of science Stephen Toulmin (Toulmin 1982a, Toulmin1982b). Postmodern science does not refer to the “postmodernism” of the late-20th-century debate but is presented as an alternative to the objectivist (Cartesian) detachment of “modern science,” such as is referred to in D’Andrade 1995 (cited under Ethnographies Addressing Public Audiences). Engagement as a research strategy is not necessarily nonscientific—indeed to assume that one can develop objective truths about human behavior is to misconstrue the changing nature and adaptability of humans interacting with the supposedly “objective” anthropologist observer. The goal is to comprehend the “cultural codes” in human interaction, both with one another and with their historical and ecological stream. Because the observer is part of that stream, it is essential to understand the standpoint of the observer’s conceptual and/or personal framework. Rappaport’s standpoint is seen in his argument for linking science and action by engaging with social problems and their underlying causes, such as poverty, hunger, ecological degradation, inequality, racism, and oppression, in order to develop solutions. His ideas and the combined work of the other scholars represented on these panels were continued by James Peacock when he was president of the AAA. As a prominent member of the Forman panel and having engaged in a number of university and research activities related to the public interest, in his presidential address of 1995 Peacock issued a bold call for changing anthropology’s direction, suggesting that the discipline will survive only if its knowledge becomes a part of common understandings (Peacock 1997).

  • Forman, Shepard, ed. 1995. Diagnosing America: Anthropology and public engagement. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    The umbrella theme for this collection of articles is “disorders of US society that impede the realization of democratic participation and cultural pluralism” (p. 3). The chapters are written by academic and practicing anthropologists who are concerned for the welfare of their society and the condition of all its members, especially those who historically have suffered as a result of race, gender, ethnic, and/or class disadvantage.

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  • Moran, Emilio F., ed. 1996. Transforming societies, transforming anthropology. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    In this book, panel members address the ways in which local communities are affected by global- and national-scale processes and how anthropologists can work toward positive change. The titling of the book makes a bold statement about the necessity of transforming anthropology in response to worldwide social change.

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  • Peacock, James L. 1997. The future of anthropology. American Anthropologist 99.1: 9–29.

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    In this presidential address for the American Anthropological Association, Peacock notes that in addition to probing the mysteries of the human species and the human soul, anthropologists must mobilize their work and themselves to make a difference beyond the discipline and the academy. In order to achieve this objective, he says that anthropology can no longer remain virtually invisible in the “wider culture’s plan.”

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  • Rappaport, Roy. 1995. Disorders of our own. In Diagnosing America: Anthropology and public engagement. Edited by Shepard Forman, 235–294. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    Engaged anthropological research and analysis means that it recognizes and defines “social disorders,” which Rappaport says are undertheorized in anthropology. He warns against the types of disorders caused by making ultimate values (such as the environment, for example) contingent on economic values. He distinguishes the microanthropological level of observation from macroanthropological models that provide standards for diagnosing disorders.

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  • Toulmin, Stephen. 1982a. The return to cosmology: Postmodern science and the theology of nature. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    In this book, Toulmin contrasts “modern” with “postmodern science.” Whereas Descartes divided mind from matter, thereby setting humanity aside from nature and putting the scientist in the position of pure spectator, postmodern science reinserts humanity into nature. Doing so calls for an epistemological reorientation of the human sciences.

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  • Toulmin, Stephen. 1982b. The construal of reality: Criticism in modern and postmodern science. Critical Inquiry 9.1: 93–111.

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    This article provides an accessible summary of what Toulmin means by “postmodern science.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Globalization, Public Culture, Power and Decolonization

In 1988, Arjun Appadurai and Carol Breckenridge initiated the journal Public Culture (Breckenridge and Appadurai 1988). In the founding editorial statement and first article opening the new journal, they define their goals for the journal and their conceptualization of “public culture.” Their breakthrough is in redefining the concept of culture and in anthropologizing the “emerging public cultures” of nation-states, as well as in considering the influence of “global cultural flows.” Appadurai 1996 develops this theme with a book on modernity construed in terms of global flows affecting local cultural processes. The development process comes under review from the anti-imperialism point of view in Escobar 1995. Harrison 1997 calls for decolonizing anthropology, by studying and acting to transform colonialization through liberation. A provocative and useful book on Eric Wolf’s achievements is Schneider and Rapp 1995. Wolf followed with two important books on power, one which conceptualizes ideologies of dominance (Wolf 1999) and the other an anthropology of the modern world (Wolf 2001). To a certain extent, these efforts can be seen as anthropological forays into the meaning and consequences of controlling processes, as articulated in Nader 1997 (cited under Bridging Theory and Practice). With respect to the controlling process of racism, Ira Harrison and Faye Harrison edited an illuminating and troubling collection of articles on the educational and occupational experiences of African American pioneers in anthropology (Harrison and Harrison 1999). The contributing authors describe the experiences affecting the careers of these pioneers.

  • Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Public Worlds 1. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    This book considers the meaning of modernity in an era of globalization, by examining the various dimensions of global flows, the decolonization of colonial legacies (such as Indian cricket), and “postnational” issues, such as “patriotism and its futures.” The role of media and “popular culture” plays a key role in these considerations.

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  • Breckenridge, Carol A., and Arjun Appadurai. 1988. Why public culture? Public Culture 1.1: 5–9.

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    Since it was first published, the articles in this journal have revolutionized (or one might say modernized) the concept of culture in the modern, fast-changing world. Many of this journal’s articles provide various frameworks relevant to scholars looking to frame the conceptual and metatheoretical underpinnings for the public sociocultural anthropologies. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Escobar, Arturo. 1995. Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    Escobar charges that the definition and image of “the third world” was a consequence of development ideology, policies, and practices. He argues that development policies constituted mechanisms of control as pervasive and effective as were their colonial counterparts.

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  • Harrison, Faye Venetia, ed. 1997. Decolonizing anthropology: Moving toward an anthropology for liberation. Washington, DC: Association of Black Anthropologists and American Anthropological Association.

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    With the turn of the millennium in mind, the articles in this book are written by anthropologists committed to applying knowledge to action and struggle. The book touches on the work of anthropologists such as Gough, Hymes, Lewis, and Asad, who critiqued anthropology’s collusion with colonial and imperialist domination and Western intellectual projects embedded in relations of power.

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  • Harrison, Ira, and Faye Harrison, eds. 1999. African-American pioneers in anthropology. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press.

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    This compilation of intellectual biographies written by various authors describes the careers of thirteen early African American anthropologists, noting their achievements, research interests, and struggles with racism in the academy. The editors are two founding members of the Association of Black Anthropologists.

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  • Schneider, Jane, and Rayna Rapp, eds. 1995. Articulating hidden histories: Exploring the influences of Eric R. Wolf. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    The hidden histories refer to the social, economic, and political forces that have dislodged people from their homes and livelihoods or upset their well-being, and the anthropological concepts that have been developed to analyze these processes. The introduction presents two chapters surveying Wolf’s analytic strategies and his “anthropological quest.”

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  • Wolf, Eric R. 1999. Envisioning power: Ideologies of dominance and crisis. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Wolf clarifies the interaction of culture, power, and status. He suggests that people with high status perpetuate their domination and influence by deploying ideologies and cosmologies to their benefit, by making reference to the existential and life-affirming ritual bases of everyday life.

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  • Wolf, Eric R., with Sydel Silverman. 2001. Pathways of power: Building an anthropology of the modern world. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This book is an important contribution to understanding how power is articulated and deployed across social categories. Wolf rejects the romantic conception of culture (including the concept of cultural relativism) in favor of studying power in the social and ideological forms deployed by those inhabiting the social categories that allow them to make claims about who they are and what they control.

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Public Interest Anthropology Revisited and Public Anthropology Introduced

In 1998, public interest anthropology (PIA) was reintroduced at a symposium chaired by Peggy Reeves Sanday at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) annual meetings, titled “Defining Public Interest Anthropology,” bringing together George Stocking, Laura Nader, James Peacock, Ward Goodenough, Frank Johnston, William Labov, Anna Roosevelt, and others. Sanday 1998 opens with an introductory overview of the approach, which was developed by the author working with Frank Johnston, Paula Sabloff, and Julia Paley at the University of Pennsylvania as a five-field approach, including applied anthropology (Johnston, et al. 1997). An overview of the panel papers was published in Sanday 1999, and an analysis of how PIA ties engaged research to action was published in Sanday 2010. Rob Borofsky, who was present at this symposium as a member of the audience, spoke about his plans for what he was calling “public anthropology.” Some of his ideas were instituted as part of the 1998 meetings, in which he arranged for two mayors to be interviewed by anthropologists in one session, and a second session was devoted to various issues regarding political and public participation through writing or speaking out as public intellectuals. Writing in the same issue of the Anthropology News as Sanday, Borofsky Borofsky 1999 announced the new public anthropology series he was editing with Naomi Schneider of the University of California Press. Also published in this issue Holland, et al. 1999, which summarizes the authors’ work on the impact of government policies and economic trends on middle-class families. Borofsky provides a more extensive overview of his goals on his Center for a Public Anthropology web page, in which he also comments on the overlapping influence of applied anthropology. For a commentary on Borofsky’s public anthropology approach, see Purcell 2000.

  • Borofsky, Robert. 1999. Public anthropology. Anthropology News 40:1 (January): 6–7.

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    This is a good statement of Borofsky’s goals for public anthropology, which includes a summary of his organizing activities for the 1998 American Anthropological Association meetings in Philadelphia.

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  • Center for a Public Anthropology.

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    On this web page, Borofsky treats a number of topics illuminating his thinking and vision, including his framing of public anthropology and its relationship to applied anthropology. He states that his mission is to publish books that deconstruct the frames that box us in, for the purpose of reframing them. He points out that this aim bridges theory and application.

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  • Holland, Dorothy, Catherine Lutz, and Don Nonini. 1999. Public life, public good. Anthropology Newsletter 40.3: 3–4.

    DOI: 10.1111/an.1999.40.3.1.2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the effect social change has had on the American middle class due to economic restructuring associated with the rise of globalization. The authors claim that the changes have disrupted and tested middle-class commitments to the public good. This is part of a longer study that was published in subsequent years (see Engaged Public Interest Concerns). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Johnston, Frank, Julia Paley, Paula Sabloff, and Peggy Reeves Sanday. 1997. Public Interest Anthropology: A Program for Research, Teaching, and Action.

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    This preliminary statement grows out of a planning seminar held at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania during the spring semester of 1997 with the goal of exploring cross-cutting ties for the development of an undergraduate anthropology concentration in public interest anthropology within this four-field department.

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  • Purcell, Trevor W. 2000. Public anthropology: An idea searching for a reality. Transforming Anthropology 2.2: 30–33.

    DOI: 10.1525/tran.2000.9.2.30Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Purcell notes that “public anthropology” means different things to different people and that the action denoted by the term is not new. He defines public anthropology as a type of anthropology that in its academic and nonacademic forms is aimed at contributing to the general public good—not just to academic or career advancement. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 1998. Opening statement: Defining a public interest anthropology. Symposium of American Anthropological Association.

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    Public interest anthropology is a paradigm for research, action, and teaching, focusing on the interests and concerns of specific publics, including students. The research goal is twofold: merging problem solving with theory and analysis in the interest of change and engaging in public debate on social issues, to make the results of anthropological analysis accessible to a broad audience.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 1999. Public interest anthropology. Anthropology News 40.3: 32.

    DOI: 10.1111/an.1999.40.3.32Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides an overview of the 1998 AAA symposium titled “Defining Public Interest Anthropology.” The panel was co-organized with Elvin Hatch to present views on a paradigm for public interest anthropology (PIA). At this symposium, PIA is presented as a five-field approach to bridging research and action in the public domain.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 2010. Public interest anthropology: A model for engaged research tied to action. In Handbook of postcolonial archaeology. Edited by Jane Lydon and Uzma Z. Rizvi, 457–466. World Archaeological Congress Research Handbooks in Archaeology 3. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast.

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    In this chapter, Sanday surveys the development of public interest anthropology (PIA) in a faculty seminar at the University of Pennsylvania, which met to consider ways to join research and action in the subfields of anthropology and to bridge teaching and community action in service-learning programs. The epistemological and philosophical issues involved in developing PIA-related cultural theory are also considered.

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Public Outreach on Social Issues

The ethnographies published during the late 1990s are striking for their engagement with social issues and public outreach. There is Philippe Bourgois’s well-known ethnography of the shadow economy of drug dealing in Spanish Harlem (Bourgois 1995). Bourgois followed up with another ethnography, coauthored with Jeffrey Schonberg (Bourgois and Schonberg 2009), on the lives of homeless drug addicts in San Francisco. Hugh Gusterson provides a detailed ethnography of science that examines work at a nuclear weapons laboratory at the end of the Cold War (Gusterson 1996). Roger Sanjek studied social problem solving in communities, resulting in a better community life, in which he participated as a resident in Queens, New York (Sanjek 1998). Published at the turn of the 21st century, Catherine Lutz authored an ethnography and ethnohistorical study of a military base in the South (Lutz 2001). An edited book on US militarism around the world followed (Lutz 2009). Julia Paley wrote an engaged collaborative ethnography of “marketing democracy” in postdictatorship Chile, based on collaborative fieldwork conducted over a number of years (Paley 2001). These sources consider activism as part of the ethnographic process, including the writing and postpublication phases. The role of activism in engaged research and its relationship to theoretical anthropology are subjects addressed by Charles Hale (Hale 2006 and Hale 2008).

  • Bourgois, Philippe. 1995. In search of respect: Selling crack in El Barrio. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    This is the first of the engaged, accessible ethnographies written by Bourgois. On the back flap of this book, Pierre Bourdieu writes: “His . . . writing on the street culture and crack economy of East Harlem . . . is one of the most penetrating and provocative social analyses of a sub-proletarian world that I know of.”

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  • Bourgois, Philippe, and Jeffrey Schonberg. 2009. Righteous dopefiend. California Series of Public Anthropology 21. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This is a riveting ethnography using photography and vivid accounts of hanging out with homeless drug addicts under the overpasses in San Francisco.

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  • Gusterson, Hugh. 1996. Nuclear rites: A weapons laboratory at the end of the Cold War. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Gusterson starts this ethnographic analysis of the nuclear arms race by deconstructing the logic of nuclear deterrence. He asks: How can deterrence brought about by the threat of destruction, which can only lead to more destruction, be thought of as deterrence?

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  • Hale, Charles R. 2006. Activist research v. cultural critique: Indigenous land rights and the contradictions of politically engaged anthropology. Cultural Anthropology 21.1: 96–120.

    DOI: 10.1525/can.2006.21.1.96Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Hale raises some provocative questions about the shadow dance anthropologists perform in cultural critique, striving for intellectual production in exposing disorders and inequities, while keeping distance from the messy and often unproductive engagement in political struggle on behalf of those they collaborate with.

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  • Hale, Charles R., ed. 2008. Engaging contradictions: Theory, politics, and methods of activist scholarship. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This volume, which includes an extensive introduction by Craig Calhoun (see Public Processes), was produced by scholars and students who believe that research and political engagement can be mutually enriching. The essays chart some paths taken and others that might follow. The book confronts head-on the difficulties and contradictions involved in doing activist scholarship.

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  • Lutz, Catherine. 2001. Homefront: A military city and the American twentieth century. Boston: Beacon.

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    This is an ethnographic and ethnohistorical account of Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of the US Army’s Fort Bragg. Lutz examines the role that the military industrial complex plays in the life of this town and its impact on the country as a whole.

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  • Lutz, Catherine, ed. 2009. The bases of empire: The global struggle against U.S. military posts. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    This is an informative look by a number of authors at the global spread of US bases and the problems entailed by the extent of the US presence along with the struggle against the bases.

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  • Paley, Julia. 2001. Marketing democracy: Power and social movements in post-dictatorship Chile. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Paley joins activism and ethnography, theory, and practice, based on her work with a shantytown health collective during and after the Pinochet regime. She demonstrates how the members of the health collective served as ethnographers, helping her as she helped them by instructing them in the political insights and associated actions that can be gained by doing ethnography.

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  • Sanjek, Roger. 1998. The future of us all: Race and neighborhood politics in New York City. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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    This is a study of civic activism in Queens, New York, in which the anthropologist is part of the decision-making process, in explicit recognition of the fact that we are all in this together and that what is at stake is “the future of us all.”

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US-Based Journals

For a description of important journals not included in this section see American Anthropologist, NAPA Bulletin, and Anthropology Now (described in Concept History) and Current Anthropology (described in Social Responsibility). See the following section (Journals in Other Countries) for English-language journals that are published outside of the United States. With the exception of Practicing Anthropology and Human Organization the journals included here are more weighted to strictly scholarly discussions and reporting research results. In the first decade of the 21st century, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), American Anthropologist (see Concept History), instituted separate sections devoted to articles related to practicing and public anthropology. Another sign of American anthropology’s public outreach was the publication of Anthropology Now (see Concept History), first published in 2009 and targeted to a broad readership. All of these journals are peer reviewed. Anthropology News, published by the AAA, includes articles on special topics and is an important source for following news from the various sections of the AAA. SfAA News, published by the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), is an important source for reactions to public events and overviews of public organizations in the news, along with news items on the activities of SfAA.

  • Anthropology News. 1999–.

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    Anthropology News provides members of the AAA with news of association business, jobs, research funding availability, meetings, and more. Anthropology News promotes the discipline of anthropology and the interests of anthropologists across all subfields and acts as a forum for anthropologists to communicate with one another.

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  • Anthropological Quarterly. 1928–.

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    This journal is published by the George Washington Institute for Ethnographic Research. Since 1928, the journal has published scholarly articles, review articles, and book reviews. Its stated goal is “the rapid dissemination of articles that blend precision with humanism, and scrupulous analysis with meticulous description.” Some articles frame public issues through analysis or ethnographic description.

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  • Cultural Anthropology. 1986–.

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    This journal is published by the Society for Cultural Anthropology of the AAA. The society publishes ethnographic articles on a broad array of topics as well as on theoretical and methodological issues. It also publishes essays on the ways cultural analysis can address broader public audiences and interests.

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  • Human Organization. 1969–.

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    This is the journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Articles report the application of concepts of social/behavioral science to issues and problems in the contemporary world. The journal includes sections on government and industry, health and medical care, and international affairs. The journal was originally named Journal of the Society for Applied Anthropology, which was first published in 1941.

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  • Journal of Anthropological Research. 1945–.

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    This journal is published by the University of New Mexico Press and covers general anthropology. It includes articles on cultural anthropology, linguistics, archaeology, paleoanthropology, biology, and biological anthropology. It is also concerned with human rights issues.

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  • Practicing Anthropology. 1978–.

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    This journal is affiliated with the Society for Applied Anthropology. It provides career information for anthropologists working outside academia. It includes articles on research and practice inside and outside the university, explores the use of anthropology in policy research, and serves as a forum for inquiry into the current state and future of anthropology in general.

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  • Public Culture. 1988–.

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    Public Culture is an interdisciplinary journal of cultural studies published by Duke University Press and founded in 1988 by anthropologists Carol Breckenridge and Arjun Appadurai. The articles address a variety of public and media issues, including urban cultural transformations, media and consumption, and the cultural flows that draw cities, societies, and states into transnational relationships and global political economies.

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  • SfAA News. 1950–.

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    Published by the Society for Applied Anthropology, this journal publishes news items and articles on public issues. For example, the February 2011 issue includes articles on the Peace Corps, an update on Arizona’s immigration law, and one anthropologist’s response to the news about the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

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  • Transforming Anthropology. 1990–.

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    Transforming Anthropology interrogates the contemporary and historical construction of social inequities, based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and other invidious distinctions. Published semiannually, Transforming Anthropology reflects the dynamic, transnational, and contested conditions of social worlds.

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Journals in Other Countries

There are several well-known English-language journals in other countries that have accepted publically oriented articles in addition to articles on anthropological theory throughout the 20th century and into the early 21st century. Anthropologists from many countries publish in these journals. These journals include Anthropologica, Anthropological Forum, Anthropology in Action, Anthropology Today, Critique of Anthropology, Dialectical Anthropology and India Review. All of these journals are peer reviewed.

  • Anthropologica. 1998–.

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    This journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) was created from the merger of the society’s former journal, Culture, with Canada’s oldest anthropology journal, Anthropologica. It publishes peer-reviewed articles both in French and English and is devoted to social and cultural issues, whether they are prehistoric, historical, contemporary, biological, linguistic, applied, or theoretical in orientation.

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  • Anthropological Forum. 1963–.

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    Anthropological Forum is a journal of social anthropology and comparative sociology that was founded in 1963. The journal provides a forum both for established and innovative approaches to anthropological research. The editors are especially keen to publish new approaches based on ethnographic and theoretical work in the journal’s established areas of strength: Australian culture and society, aboriginal Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.

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  • Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice. 1994–.

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    This journal is published in association with the Association for Anthropology in Action (London). Articles cover the use of anthropology in all areas of policy and practice. The journal provides a forum for debate and analysis of anthropological themes. Recent themes have included identity, anthropology in Denmark, the effects of ethics, and anthropology and activism.

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  • Anthropology Today. 1985–.

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    This journal provides a forum for the application of anthropological analysis to public and topical issues. It is also committed to promoting debate at the interface between anthropology and areas of applied knowledge, such as education, medicine, and development, as well as between anthropology and other academic disciplines. It is published by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain.

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  • Critique of Anthropology. 1974–.

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    Critique of Anthropology is dedicated to the development of anthropology as a discipline that subjects social reality to critical analysis. The journal challenges received wisdoms inside academic anthropology and in society at large, presenting work that is innovative, challenging, sometimes experimental, and often uncomfortable. Three of the main editors are based in London, and the fourth is based in Canada.

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  • Dialectical Anthropology. 1975–.

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    Founded by Stanley Diamond in 1975, Dialectical Anthropology is dedicated to the transformation of class society through internationalizing conversations about the means for social change. The journal seeks to reach beyond an Anglophone readership via submissions, dialogue, and active participation in languages other than English. Its main editors are based in the United States.

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  • India Review. 2005–.

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    Published by Routledge in England, this journal publishes social science research on Indian politics, economics, and society. Typical articles combine theory, knowledge, and policy relevance. Articles may analyze an issue from a theoretical perspective, test theory or competing debates against relevant data, or provide a new historical treatment or solid comparative analysis.

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21st-Century Studies

The public sociocultural anthropologies and ethnographies reviewed so far go beyond the old conceptual categories (as reflected in the “Notes and Queries” of 1899) to the study of what people want things to be and how social forces move through the world to subjugate people or facilitate freedom. Diagnosing the imaginaries that enslave or emancipate; the universal ideals that are abandoned or adopted; or the impact of market forces, local politics, and the disinterest in global warming are subjects that were taken up by the various public sociocultural anthropologies as the 20th century turned. The chain of research characterizing public engagement in the 21st century connects theory, research, problem solving, and action in the interest of human rights, well-being, and the quality of local life. The change includes rethinking the anthropological, conceptual, and theoretical tool bag, focused on the concept of culture from different angles. One important consequence of this change was the critique of cultural relativism by engaged anthropologists (Abu-Lughod 2002, Farmer 2005). Arguing against cultural relativism, Rappaport 1995, citing Geertz 1973, observes that “[h]umanity is not simply ‘suspended in webs of meaning’ as Geertz would have it, but is trapped between meanings that may be misunderstandings and laws that may be mysteries.” Abu-Lughod 1999 revisits the author’s argument for “writing against culture”; in Abu-Lughod 2005, she examines the dramas of nationhood reflected through the politics of television in Egypt. In Biehl and Locke 2010, the authors suggest a positive humanistic approach to the study of culture. Ethnography, call it “engaged” or “collaborative,” is the major road on which anthropologists travel, carrying with them a reflexive stance, knowing that they enter the field both as an anthropologist and as a collaborator, a fellow human being as burdened by opinion and a cultural history as those with whom they live. Their task might include any one of a number of ways for “being there”: an ethical engagement with critical social issues; a social passion to work on behalf of particular publics by entering the fray of cultural and scientific politics; a focus on the interests around which people mobilize for action or share with the anthropologist; an analysis of the mechanisms of social change, be it through social movements, resistance, or revolution; working with people to enter the everyday life they inhabit; or developing frameworks for comprehending the cultural, social, economic, and media processes controlling the activities of daily life.

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1999. Commentary. In Special issue: Culture—a second chance? Current Anthropology 40.S1: S13–S15.

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    Abu-Lughod responds to the lead article, “Writing for Culture,” written by Christoph Brumann, in terms of her arguments regarding “writing against culture.” Roy D’Andrade also comments on Brumann’s article (pp. S16–17). The entire special issue is important for thinking about the relevance of the concept of culture in the fractured, often-disquieting complexity and global flows of contemporary life.

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  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2002. Do Muslim women really need saving? Anthropological reflections on cultural relativism and its others. American Anthropologist 104.3: 783–790.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.2002.104.3.783Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article wades into the cultural politics of the “war on terrorism” by addressing some bold questions to anthropology. Abu-Lughod develops arguments about the limits of cultural relativism through considering the meaning of veiling in the Muslim world.

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  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2005. The dramas of nationhood: The politics of television in Egypt. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Examining the national media, Abu-Lughod addresses the issue of “interpreting culture(s) after television.” She also confronts the issue of doing an ethnography of a nation and describing “national culture in a global world.”

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  • Biehl, João, and Peter Locke. 2010. Deleuze and the anthropology of becoming. Current Anthropology 51.3: 317–351.

    DOI: 10.1086/651466Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Building on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, the authors highlight the limitations of functionalist models and concepts and present human life in terms of art. They seek to expand the limits of interpretation by thinking about how desire can produce the people “yet to come,” as opposed to focusing on how hegemonic power reduces life’s chances.

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  • Farmer, Paul. 2005. Pathologies of power: Health, human rights, and the new war on the poor. California Series in Public Anthropology 4. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This eminently outspoken activist anthropologist and physician is blistering in his criticism of academic anthropology that does not venture out of the ivory tower. His critique of cultural relativism and his stress on human rights in the health arena, along with his call to “bear witness” and to include human rights as part of the anthropological gaze, inspired a paradigm shift.

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  • Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.

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    This classic book of essays by Geertz provides the wherewithal for those interested in understanding symbols, meanings, ethos, worldview, and models of and for cultural processes. Among the primary theorists of the 20th century, the conceptual frameworks Geertz brought to anthropology along with his writing style opened the way for moving from an anemically pure to a humanistic science.

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  • Rappaport, Roy. 1995. Disorders of our own. In Diagnosing America: Anthropology and public engagement. Edited by Shepard Forman, 235–294. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

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    An excellent theoretical source for understanding the ways in which an anthropology of and for the public can take its place along with political science and economics in the public and academic worlds that are concerned with connecting theory and practice in examining everyday processes.

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Public Processes

The theory, methods, and conceptual frameworks deployed in the study of public processes rest on a variety of concepts, such as civil society, public(s), interest, social imaginary, public sphere, multiculturalism, power, and metaculture. Two excellent sources on civil society can be found in Taylor 1995 and Comaroff and Comaroff 1999. The term “public” with its cascading social referents, from the individual to the collective commonweal, is discussed by Michael Warner (Warner 2002) in a special issue of Public Culture edited by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee (see Gaonkar and Lee 2002). Other key concepts found in this issue of Public Culture include the various dimensions of the “social imaginary,” discussed in Taylor 2002 and Gaonkar 2002. In the same volume, Arjun Appadurai introduces the notion of “deep democracy” (Appadurai 2002). The chapters in Calhoun 1992 consider the various issues raised by Jürgen Habermas’s notions of “publics” and the “public sphere.” In the introduction, Craig Calhoun opens with an overview of Habermas’s public sphere (Calhoun 1992). In the same volume, Nancy Fraser introduces an important proviso to the concept of “publics,” which she calls “counterpublics” (Fraser 1992).

  • Appadurai, Arjun. 2002. Deep democracy: Urban governmentality and the horizon of politics. In Special issue: New imaginaries. Edited by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee. Public Culture 14.1: 21–48.

    DOI: 10.1215/08992363-14-1-21Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article analyses an urban activist movement growing out of three local movements located in the city of Mumbai in western India, whose leaders formed an alliance. The three organizations refer to themselves collectively as the “Mumbai alliance.” Of those groups working with the urban poor, the alliance has the most-extensive networks in India and elsewhere in the world.

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  • Calhoun, Craig, ed. 1992. Introduction: Habermas and the public sphere. In Habermas and the public sphere. Edited by Craig Calhoun, 1–50. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    This classic compilation of articles considering Habermas’s social philosophy constitutes an important conceptual and historical resource for teaching and learning concepts developed by Habermas for application to public social science. In the introduction, Calhoun introduces the important concepts.

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  • Comaroff, John L., and Jean Comaroff. 1999. Civil society and the political imagination in Africa: Critical perspectives. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This series of essays provides an in-depth understanding of the idea of civil society, as it works across Africa in populist politics and public debate. The introduction by Comaroff and Comaroff presents an excellent critical and theoretical analysis of the concept and the debates surrounding the subject.

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  • Fraser, Nancy. 1992. Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. In Habermas and the public sphere. Edited by Craig Calhoun, 109–142. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    In a move that diversifies and marks oppositional forces in the public domain, Fraser notes that members of subordinated social groups often form alternative publics to pursue their goals. She calls such groups “subaltern counterpublics,” which deploy a counterdiscourse as oppositional versions of their identities, needs, and interests.

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  • Gaonkar, Dilip Parameshwar. 2002. Toward new imaginaries: An introduction. In Special issue: New imaginaries. Edited by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee. Public Culture 14.1: 1–20.

    DOI: 10.1215/08992363-14-1-1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gaonkar introduces the concepts discussed in this series of essays: civil society, public sphere, and the social imaginaries that promote the emergence of a transnational public sphere dedicated to promoting democratic values, human rights, and ecological justice. The new imaginaries build on Benedict Anderson’s ideas regarding how people imagine their collective social life.

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  • Gaonkar, Dilip Parameshwar, and Benjamin Lee. 2002. Editor’s note. In Special issue: New imaginaries. Edited by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee. Public Culture 14.1: ix–x.

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    The editor’s note explains that the articles in this issue of Public Culture are authored by members of the well-known working group at the Center for Transcultural Studies. These authors build on their work on civil society and the public sphere with a fresh emphasis on the cultural forces shaping contemporary issues, such as globalization and the politics of recognition.

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  • Taylor, Charles. 1995. Invoking civil society. In Philosophical arguments. Edited by Charles Taylor, 204–224. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    Taylor reviews the genealogy of the notion of civil society. He examines the different senses of the term, from the minimal sense, in which free associations are not under the tutelage of state power, to the stronger sense, as is the case wherever there is an ensemble of associations that can significantly determine the course of state policy.

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  • Taylor, Charles. 2002. Modern social imaginaries. In Special issue: New imaginaries. Edited by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee. Public Culture 14.1: 91–124.

    DOI: 10.1215/08992363-14-1-91Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Taylor discusses the forms of social imaginary that gave rise to Western modernity. He describes the rise of Western modernity as being based on a new conception of the moral order of society. His thinking also draws on the work of Benedict Anderson in his well-known book Imagined Communities. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Warner, Michael. 2002. Publics and counterpublics. In Special issue: New imaginaries. Edited by Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Benjamin Lee. Public Culture 14.1: 49–90.

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    This is an excellent discussion of the various referential meanings of the term “public,” from the general to the specific, from the national to the transnational. Warner includes a good discussion of Nancy Fraser’s notion of counterpublics (Fraser 1992).

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Interest, Identity, Multiculturalism, and Metaculture

Additional frameworks deployed for interpreting public processes include interest, multiculturalism, and metaculture, all of which are related to identity issues. The term “interest” is multireferential. At the level of intersubjectivity and social interaction, Pierre Bourdieu notes that people do not engage in gratuitous acts. Bourdieu includes the term “interest,” along with “habitus” and “field,” as one of the basic concepts that he sees as being indispensable for thinking about reasonable action (see Bourdieu 1998). The topic of multiculturalism is the subject of Amy Gutmann’s 1994 edited book, which is built around Charles Taylor’s lead article on the politics of recognition (see Gutmann 1994; Taylor 1994). Turner 1993 takes a different approach to the topic of multiculturalism by turning the lens of cultural theory on its various manifestations. The effect of globalization on transformations in the cultural production of identity, in this case blackness, is the subject of the book edited by Kamari Clarke and Deborah Thomas (see Clarke and Thomas 2006). Greg Urban introduces the term “metaculture” in theorizing “how culture moves through the world” (see Urban 2001). Defining “metaculture” and drawing on ethnographic examples, Urban provides a conceptual framework for comprehending the ways in which cultural trends not only move through the world but also become the foundation for thought and in some cases resistance.

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. Acts of resistance: Against the tyranny of the market. New York: New Press.

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    Bourdieu defines interest in terms of investment in the games of life. Interest is to “be there,” to participate, and to admit that the game is worth playing and that the stakes created in and through the fact of playing are worth pursuing; it is to recognize the game and to recognize its stakes.

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  • Clarke, Kamari Maxine, and Deborah Thomas. 2006. Globalization and race: Transformations in the cultural production of blackness. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    This book looks at how race has constituted and has been constituted by globalization. This state-of-the-art collection of essays explores the changing meanings of blackness in the global cultural, economic, and political flows in the modern world.

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  • Gutmann, Amy. 1994. Introduction. In Multiculturalism: Examining the politics of recognition. Edited by Amy Gutmann, 3–24. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    Gutmann provides an excellent introduction to the concept of multiculturalism, viewed in terms of personal identity versus the politics of recognition. In this book, Taylor’s main chapter laying out his views is followed with illuminating commentary by a number of well-known philosophers and social scientists.

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  • Taylor, Charles. 1994. The politics of recognition. In Multiculturalism: Examining the politics of recognition. Edited by Amy Gutmann, 25–74. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    In the lead article in this book, Taylor examines the politics and social meaning of recognition through the lens of identity and the democratic promise of equality. Taylor’s complex argument, which is discussed by a variety of well-known authors, including Habermas, is key to understanding identity in the modern, globalizing world.

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  • Turner, Terence. 1993. Anthropology and multiculturalism: What is anthropology that multiculturalists should be mindful of? Cultural Anthropology 8.4: 411–429.

    DOI: 10.1525/can.1993.8.4.02a00010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this provocative article, Turner makes a number of key points by bringing the concept of multiculturalism, often viewed as a form of identity politics, into the realm of cultural theory. The result is a sophisticated analysis of the metacultural frames that can be identified in the various uses of the term “multiculturalism.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Urban, Greg. 2001. Metaculture: How culture moves through the world. Public Worlds 8. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    Whereas ethnographers describe the content of culture, Urban problematizes the mechanisms of cultural movement. He defines metaculture as “culture about culture” and how what is socially learned and transmitted (culture) moves from point A to point B. His complex argument is crucial for understanding the controlling processes affecting collective identity or resistance in the public sphere and those of cultural change.

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Engaged Public Interest Concerns

Engaged public interest ethnographers enter the field as collaborator, student, or colleague, where they may be welcomed as friend or family member. These ethnographers reflect on their own psychic and intellectual interests as part of the text, explaining why some local interests draw their attention and not others. Focusing on life in a Minangkabau village in West Sumatra, known in the literature as a stable matrilineal society that self-identifies as a matriarchate, Peggy Reeves Sanday became a member of a matrilineal extended family as she examined the role of men and women in the knitting of social power relations over several decades. She observed the ritual enactment of the various symbolic parallels they draw in connecting motherhood, nature, and power, which Sanday argues provides an ethnographic basis for rethinking matriarchy as it is understood in Western thought (see Sanday 2002, Sanday 2008). In Kalimantan, the area in which she worked for many years, Anna Tsing writes that she entered “the fray” with her ethnographic collaborators to respond to the destruction of the rain forest in Kalimantan (see Tsing 2005). On the other side of the world, in the United States, Dorothy Holland and her colleagues produce an in-your-face account of how democracy doesn’t work in five North Carolina counties (see Holland, et al. 2007). Aptly titled Local Democracy under Siege, this ethnography produced by a team of ethnographers demonstrates how privilege and neoliberalism squash the so-called American Dream and the “dramas of contention” that result in reaction. A black anthropologist from Brooklyn, New York, studying life in Harlem, John Jackson takes the reader onto the streets of Harlem as he interacts with his interlocutors about a number of topics, including the realness (or lack thereof) of being black, a Harlemite, or a Jew, along with other issues debated in the Harlem public sphere (see Jackson 2005). Emily Martin illuminates the public culture of manic depression as well as her own experience of “the darkness within,” bringing both subjects to bear on a broader understanding of the experience of those diagnosed with a manic or mood disorder (see Martin 2007).

  • Holland, Dorothy, Donald M. Nonini, Catherine Lutz, and Lesley Bartlett. 2007. Local democracy under siege: Activism, public interests, and private politics. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    Pursuing dramas of contention as one of their primary ethnographic methods, the authors examine the conflicts that captured public attention. Connecting the relevance of media coverage to the workings of local democracy, they conclude that plutocracy, not democracy, best describes the American political system at all levels.

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  • Jackson, John L., Jr. 2005. Real black: Adventures in racial sincerity. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Bill, one the “real blacks” of Harlem’s public sphere, comes alive in his lectures to Jackson on how he (Jackson) doesn’t measure up to Bill’s scripts of/for “realness.” Jackson’s chapter on the black public sphere is a fascinating foray into how Habermas’s concept of the public sphere as the space of rational, articulate debate doesn’t work in Bill’s public sphere.

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  • Martin, Emily. 2007. Bipolar expeditions: Mania and depression in American culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    This ethnographic foray into “bipolar expeditions” examines the experiences of people living under the description of manic depression. Martin employs participant observation, interviews, and looking at the cultural representation of mood disorders in the media. Using her own experience as patient, she sensitively evokes the inner turmoil of mental illness, “the darkness within.”

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 2002. Women at the center: Life in a modern matriarchy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

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    Based on twenty-one years of travel to West Sumatra, Indonesia, in this ethnography Sanday describes daily life and rethinks the Western definition of matriarchy, based on the pivotal economic and ritual position women hold with men in the social and power relations of daily life.

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  • Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 2008. Matriarchy. In The Oxford encyclopedia of women in world history. Vol. 3. Edited by Bonnie G. Smith, 192–195. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Sanday argues that the concept of matriarchy in Western thought has never been defined by reference to actual ethnographic examples but has been based on looking for the mirror image of Western patriarchy and social male dominance. She redefines matriarchy in terms of the archetypal symbols attached to motherhood and to nurturing growth that provide models of/for social power relations in Minangkabau culture.

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  • Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. 2005. Friction: An ethnography of global connections. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    Tsing traces global connections forged by environmental activists in her long-term field site in Kalimantan. She focuses on local environmental interests. The story she tells propels the readers, not just drawing them into the details of the environmental degradation but into the conceptual framework that she develops.

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The Varieties of Engagement

Luke Eric Lassiter (Lassiter, et al. 2004, Lassiter 2005) reaches out to the public and draws them into anthropology by conducting a collaborative ethnography with members of the public he is studying. Stuart Kirsch provides an activist take on “studying up” in Papua New Guinea, with the use of the term “reverse anthropology” (Kirsch 2006). Lewin and Leap 2009 is an edited volume of essays on the public anthropology of gay rights and interests. The meanings and practices of engaged anthropology are treated extensively and variously in a series of articles published in Current Anthropology in 2010, which emanate from a symposium on this subject sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation (see Aiello 2010). In studying how governmental organizations work in relationship to policy, Janine Wedel provides an inside look at the shadow government activities in the United States and elsewhere that take place beyond the realm of public awareness (see Wedel 2009).

  • Aiello, Leslie C. 2010. Engaged anthropology: Diversity and dilemmas. Current Anthropology 51.S2: S201–S312.

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    Authored by well-known sociocultural anthropologists, this collection of articles provides different views on the use of engagement in the 21st century. The volume is well worth reading for its updating of the concept of engagement in the academy and the relationship (or lack thereof) to activism. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Kirsch, Stuart. 2006. Reverse anthropology: Indigenous analysis of social and environmental relations in New Guinea. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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    In this book, Kirsch refers to himself as an “engaged hybrid scholar activist.” The book focuses on two political struggles in the highland Papua New Guinea area, where he worked with the Yonggom people and wrote about their response to and analysis of the significant pollution from an upstream copper and gold mine affecting their daily livelihood.

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  • Lassiter, Luke Eric. 2005. Collaborative ethnography and public anthropology. Current Anthropology 46.1: 83–106.

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    This article provides a thorough overview of the methods, aims, and philosophy on which collaborative ethnography rests.

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  • Lassiter, Luke Eric, Hurley Goodall, Elizabeth Campbell, and Michelle Natasya Johnson. 2004. The other side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie’s African American community. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

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    This work, which won the Margaret Mead Award in 2005, is a collaborative community study of Muncie’s African American community, which was left out of the famous community study of Middletown. This book provides a model for collaborative research, easily accessible to students.

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  • Lewin, Ellen, and William L. Leap, eds. 2009. Out in public: Reinventing lesbian/gay anthropology in a globalizing world. Readings in Engaged Anthropology. Chichester, UK, and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    This is the third edited collection of “out” articles by these authors on lesbian/gay issues (Out in the Field: Reflections on Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists and Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology were the first two). This collection engages in “real-world applications,” including interventions affecting the everyday lives of lesbian/gay people. As such, this collection bridges applied and public anthropology.

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  • Wedel, Janine. 2009. Shadow elite: How the world’s new power brokers undermine democracy, government, and the free market. New York: Basic Books.

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    This book describes a breed of transnational and local government players in the United States and elsewhere who toy with official rules and who make decisions about polices that affect us all, while fashioning new rules of the game to benefit themselves. These players fashion policies that ignore public interests in the pursuit of private gain.

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California Series

The California Series in Public Anthropology, edited by Robert Borofsky, calls on anthropologists to address major issues of our time. Some of these books (e.g., Farmer 2005, cited in 21st-Century Studies), have sold well beyond the academy and have helped shape how particular public problems are addressed. Of the first twenty-one books published in the series, eleven have been produced by Amazon.com as Kindle editions and most have also been formatted in an e-book edition available from the University of California Press. The books focus on disorders of modern life in various societies and regions of the world: the shifting definitions of death, migration, prison life, economic profiteering, genocide, human rights, poverty, drug addiction, and the politics of AIDS. All are written in an accessible style, and over half have received one or more awards. Although most of the books are by cultural anthropologists, medical and urban anthropologists are also represented, as is one archaeologist. Many of the books confront searing universal issues of today’s world: the redefinition of death in an era of organ transplants (Lock 2002), a useful comparison of AIDS in two African countries (Thornton 2008), the politics of human rights (Englund 2006 and Tate 2007), the genocide in Cambodia (Hinton 2005), and the hidden world at the heart of the maximum security prison (Rhodes 2004). Most of the books are anthropological studies of social issues rather than accounts of direct activist involvement or political action. The books are written for those interested in learning about or acting with respect to the key issues covered. A summary of the currently published books in the series can be found on the California Series in Public Anthropology web page.

  • Englund, Harri. 2006. Prisoners of freedom: Human rights and the African poor. California Series in Public Anthropology 14. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Englund examines how the rhetoric of human rights is translated as practice in Malawi. He suggests that the abstract definition of human rights in terms of political freedoms can undermine democratization, as well as struggles against poverty and injustice. Lucidly written, this book is useful reading for activists and international aid workers.

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  • Hinton, Alexander Laban. 2005. Why did they kill? Cambodia in the shadow of genocide. California Series in Public Anthropology 11. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Asking the “why” question about the Cambodia genocide provides many cultural and political insights regarding the ideological and political dynamics of genocide more generally. For example, Hinton finds parallels between the Khmer Rouge and the Nazi regimes. Most interesting is his analysis of how emotionally based cultural knowledge is incorporated into the genocidal ideology, underlying the motivation of those who kill.

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  • Lock, Margaret M. 2002. Twice dead: Organ transplants and the reinvention of death. California Series in Public Anthropology 1. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Transplanting organs from the “brain dead” to the living entails the reinvention of death. Lock traces the discourse locating a new criterion of brain death in the United States, where it is accepted, and in Japan, where until recently it was not. She draws on extensive interviews with medical professionals as well as with donors and recipients.

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  • Rhodes, Lorna A. 2004. Total confinement: Madness and reason in a maximum security prison. California Series in Public Anthropology 4. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This look into the inner workings of a supermax prison has important political and practical implications, such as what happens to the humanity of the people who live and work in this type of prison. The book is based on extensive participant observation and semistructured interviews with staff and inmates conducted over an eight-year period.

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  • Tate, Winfred. 2007. Counting the dead: The culture and politics of human rights activism in Colombia. California Series in Public Anthropology 18. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This is a vivid account of the problems facing Colombia’s nongovernmental human rights movement, due to the lip service given to the topic by the government and military. Tate is passionate about her subject and has lengthy experience as a transnational activist.

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  • Thornton, Robert J. 2008. Unimagined community: Sex, networks and AIDS in Uganda and South Africa. California Series in Public Anthropology 20. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This is a thought-provoking book. Thornton, who teaches at the University of Witwatersrand, argues that the difference in HIV prevalence in Uganda and South Africa can be explained by comparing differences in the sexual networks, family structure, and property. He compares the different political response to AIDS and suggests a paradigm for preventive strategies.

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  • University of California Press: California Series in Public Anthropology.

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    This web page provides summary information on each of the books published in the series as they are published.

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Human Rights

An important predecessor in anthropological rights advocacy was the founding of the organization Cultural Survival in 1972 by David Maybury-Lewis to defend the human rights and cultural autonomy of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. Another more-controversial predecessor was the Boasian concept of cultural relativism, which, by introducing the notion of cultural rights, affected the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) rejection of the “Universal Declaration on Human Rights” in 1947 (see American Anthropological Association 1947). In 2004, the Society for Applied Anthropology published Human Rights: The Scholar as Activist (Nagengast and Vélez-Ibañez 2004). The book opens with a foreword by William Schulz (Schulz 2004), who was then the executive director of Amnesty International USA. Schulz comments that it was not obvious that anthropologists would be champions of universal human rights, because of the debate over cultural relativism. An account of the history of this debate, beginning with the negative position taken by the AAA Executive Board 1947 on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, can be found in Goodale 2006. Some fifty years later, in 1999, the prior AAA statement was repudiated by the AAA Standing Committee on Human Rights, as well as by the AAA membership in a vote. In Nagengast and Turner 1997, a number of authors point out that the Boasian view on relativism left room for universal principles, such as seen in the Boasian stance on race, as well as that it included the proviso that the views of non-Western peoples should weigh as heavily as those of Westerners in anthropological research. Elvin Hatch notes that Boasian relativism had a positive impact, because it argued against the ethnocentric worldview and self-identity of the West (see Hatch 1997). Goodale also remarks that Boasian relativism included a position on race and social inequity that was based on an acceptance of a universal human standard regarding social equity. Given the repeated references to “man” in the 1947 AAA statement rejecting the concept of universal rights together with the exclusive reference to “brotherhood” in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Nagengast 2004 the author appropriately offers a discussion of human rights that highlights women’s rights. An example of bridging activism, cultural critique, and human rights research in specific contexts is presented in Speed 2006 in the author’s discussion of a critically engaged activist research. Finally, an interesting exchange on the subject of human rights including Mark Goodale and other anthropologists can be accessed online at Anthropology and Human Rights: An Open Exchange.

  • American Anthropological Association. Statement on human rights. 1947. American Anthropologist 49.4: 539–543.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.1947.49.4.02a00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The 1947 AAA statement rejects the concept of a universal declaration of human rights, arguing that because of the diversity of cultures in the world, no universal value judgments can be made. The statement refers repeatedly to “man and his modes of life” and to the anthropological commitment to maintaining a hands-off approach to “man’s” local customs.

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  • Cultural Survival.

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    The Cultural Survival website provides an extensive look at its work in many countries of the world, focused on protecting the environment, endangered languages, and peoples; upholding human rights; and promoting communication among indigenous communities.

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  • Goodale, Mark. ed. 2006. Introduction. “In focus: Anthropology and human rights in a new key.” American Anthropologist 108.1: 1–8.

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    This is an excellent review of the history of the AAA Statement on Human Rights (American Anthropological Association 1947) and how anthropologists have significantly changed their understanding and support for human rights. Goodale summarizes the main issues covered in the articles published in this edited “In Focus” series, which includes articles by himself, Cowan, Merry, Riles, Speed, and Wilson. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Hatch, Elvin. 1997. The good side of relativism. Journal of Anthropological Research 53.3: 371–381.

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    Hatch suggests that the moral relativism of people such as Melville J. Herskovits, who wrote the AAA 1947 statement, was mistaken in denying the legitimacy of critiquing the actions and institutions of others in some cases. He refers to Boasian relativism as bringing about a “Copernican shift in the Western worldview” and says this shift remains an enduring legacy. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Nagengast, Carole. 2004. Human rights, women’s rights, and the politics of cultural relativity. In Human rights: The scholar as activist. Edited by Carole Nagengast and Carlos G. Vélez-Ibañez, 109–130. Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.

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    This article presents a powerful argument for viewing women’s rights as human rights. Whereas the 1947 AAA Statement on Human Rights thought only in terms of “man,” this article is written with knowledge of the worldwide issue of violence against women. Nagengast says her goal is political: to contest physical and symbolic violence against the less powerful in society.

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  • Nagengast, Carole, and Terence Turner, eds. 1997. Introduction: Universal human rights versus cultural relativity. Journal of Anthropological Research 53.3: 269–272.

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    This introduction to a series of classic articles summarizes some of their major points. Countries often defend their human rights violations by invoking national sovereignty and drawing on anthropology’s concept of cultural relativity. However, the authors point out that it is possible to argue for universality without sacrificing particular cultural perspectives; thus, universality and relativism can be complementary.

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  • Nagengast, Carole, and Carlos G. Vélez-Ibañez, eds. 2004. Human rights: The scholar as activist. Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.

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    This edited book is important for its survey of the uses of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights by a number of anthropologists in their research, theory, and practice. Inserting human rights issues into ethnographic research establishes the grounds for a less strict doctrine of cultural relativism.

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  • Schulz, William. 2004. Foreword. In Human rights: The scholar as activist. Edited by Carole Nagengast and Carlos G. Vélez-Ibañez. Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.

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    Schulz discusses some of the issues raised by those people involved in the development of the 1947 Statement on Human Rights. He also discusses what he sees as the irrelevance of the issue of cultural relativism in terms of the concerns raised by early anthropologists.

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  • Speed, Shannon. 2006. At the crossroads of human rights and anthropology: Toward a critically engaged activist research. American Anthropologist 108.1: 66–76.

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    Speed presents a tightly argued position for merging activist research with cultural critique and political action, which is devoted to change as well as to the production of knowledge. She illustrates her argument by making reference to her own ethnographic research in connection with a case brought before the International Labor Organization by a community in Chiapas, Mexico. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Building Bridges

During the first decade of the 21st century, the standoff between pure and applied science was bridged in articles published in the flagship journals of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) and in the race project of the AAA. In the pages of American Anthropologist, the journal of the AAA, applied anthropologists called for a more “public” and relevant anthropology that would join critical social theory to application and pragmatic engagement with contemporary problems (Rylko-Bauer, et al. 2006). In Human Organization, concerning the subject of applied anthropology in the 21st century, Hackenberg and Hackenberg 2004 recognizes “the epigenetic transformation in the sociocultural landscape that defines our field.” The authors’ call to survey the public realities of this landscape applies as much to general as it does to applied anthropology. The former president of the AAA Louise Lamphere writes in Human Organization about the “convergence of applied practicing and public anthropology in the 21st century” (Lamphere 2004). Public policy is treated in Shore and Wright 1997 and Wedel, et al. 2005. Eisenberg 2000 discusses the pragmatic aspects of translating policy research into actual policy. Kottak 2004 identifies the author’s work as blending academic and applied anthropology in his examination of “sustainable development” in the areas where he engaged in longitudinal fieldwork. These developments indicate how far anthropology had come in turning inward to think on behalf of the earth and its people and to play a role on the stage of responsible action. This is also reflected in the concept of “world anthropologies.” In Ribeiro and Escobar 2006, contributors critically examine the international dissemination of anthropology within and across national power fields in order to provide the outline for a veritable world anthropologies project. Moving beyond studying how humanity made itself, and fully knowledgeable about the struggles and inhumanity involved, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century the public sociocultural anthropologies sought both to interpret public action in the present and become part of making the future. The bridging project is perhaps best exemplified in the AAA’s well-known “race project,” titled RACE: Are We So Different? This project communicates through a nationally traveling exhibition and an online exhibition targeted for children as well as adults and researchers. In its public and educational outreach, it is a harbinger of where the public anthropologies of the future are headed.

  • Eisenberg, Merrill. 2000. Translating research into policy: What more does it take? In Classics of practicing anthropology: 1978–1998. Edited by Patricia Higgins and J. Anthony Paredes, 239–246. Oklahoma City, OK: Society for Applied Anthropology.

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    Originally published in 1994, this article underscores the necessity for well-grounded, solid research that is presented in a comprehensible form to policy makers and the public as well as the importance of political pragmatism in designing policy. Through a case study of a successful and an unsuccessful project, Eisenberg demonstrates that the key factor is understanding the political context.

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  • Hackenberg, Robert A., and Beverly H. Hackenberg. 2004. Notes toward a new future: Applied anthropology in century XXI. Human Organization 63.4: 385–399.

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    The authors stress the importance of seeing the sociocultural landscape as part of a global universe of moving parts, including neoliberal political structures and capitalist economies. They advise working with the emerging local and global components that occupy the landscape, both at the microlevel of indigenous people’s organizations and at the level of the supergovernmental units. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Kottak, Conrad Phillip. 2004. An anthropological take on sustainable development: A comparative study of change. Human Organization 63.4: 501–510.

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    Kottak blends academic and applied anthropology in his longitudinal fieldwork in Brazil and Madagascar. Based on his long-term comparative study of rural areas and communities, he suggests an “emerging interdisciplinary field” he calls “sustainability science,” which would illuminate “the interaction of global processes with ecological and social characteristics of particular places.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Lamphere, Louise. 2004. The convergence of applied, practicing, and public anthropology in the 21st century. Human Organization 63.4: 431–443.

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    Lamphere notes that anthropology “is in the midst of a ‘sea change’” due to three decades of transformation in the communities and topics studied and the relationships forged with the subjects of research. She notes that influenced by the social movements stemming from the era of civil rights, more anthropologists study at home and more are attuned to the rights being sought. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • RACE: Are We So Different?.

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    This online and museum exhibition project of the AAA, in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, combines the everyday experience of living with race with its history as an idea, the role of science in that history, and the findings of contemporary science challenging the old ideas.

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  • Ribeiro, Gustavo Lins, and Arturo Escobar, eds. 2006. World anthropologies: Disciplinary transformations in systems of power. Oxford: Berg.

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    The authors seek a planetary anthropology that copes both with the “provincial cosmopolitanism” of alternative anthropologies and the “metropolitan provincialism” of hegemonic schools. They ask how “world anthropologies” might challenge the hegemony of national anthropological traditions and thereby gain more paradigmatic weight and hence power for reconfiguring knowledge.

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  • Rylko-Bauer, Barbara, Merrill Singer, and John Van Willigen. 2006. Reclaiming applied anthropology: Its past, present, and future. American Anthropologist 108.1: 178–190.

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    The authors call for joining critical social theory with application for a pragmatic engagement with social problems. They argue for a repositioning of applied anthropology, by suggesting that it would “serve as a framework for engagement for the discipline’s goal of pragmatic engagement.” Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Shore, Cris, and Susan Wright, eds. 1997. Anthropology of policy: Critical perspectives on governance and power. New York: Routledge.

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    This book provides an overview of the anthropology of policy, with a diverse collection of case studies ranging from development and the European Union, to physicians’ discourses in a hospital, to gender equality and national identity. The introduction lays out the methodological challenges to studying policy.

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  • Wedel, Janine R., Cris Shore, Gregory Feldman, and Stacy Lathrop. 2005. Toward an anthropology of public policy. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 600.1: 30–51.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716205276734Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides an excellent summary of anthropological research on policy issues in the United States and other countries. The authors define public policy and discuss how policy questions are framed. They also analyze policy processes and address theoretical and methodological challenges.

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21st-Century English-Language Examples from Other Countries

Although engaged, activist, and applied anthropology is common in other countries, the term “public anthropology” is infrequently used. Werbner 2004 is among the few texts in which the author refers to his work under this label. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu is perhaps the most widely cited social scientist of the public sphere. In his work along these lines, he speaks of “reflexive sociology” as an avenue for freeing humans from the necessities of social fields by teaching them the mechanisms of social action (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992). In the last decade of his life, Bourdieu was outspoken in his writing on “the public,” “the public interest,” ”public good,” the “collective interest,” “collective responsibility,” and “civic virtue” (Bourdieu 1998). He is blistering in his attack on intellectuals and politicians who “are terribly short of ideals that can mobilize people.” Another well-known engaged scholar who has contributed as much to theory as he has to public awareness is Johannes Fabian of the Netherlands, who works in Africa. Fabian 1998 was the first book to introduce the study of popular culture in Africa. Fabian 2001 provides an overview of Fabian’s work and his approach. More recently, another outspoken scholar is the Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen (Eriksen 2005). He suggests that academic anthropologists tend to be less involved in writing for public audiences than they are in writing for one another using a special language. The commentaries in this section examine references to public anthropology in some of the journals published in other countries.

  • Bourdieu, Pierre. 1998. Acts of resistance: Against the tyranny of the market. New York: New Press.

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    This book is passionately argued and usefully conceptualized, as, for example, in Bourdieu’s discussion of the term “interest,” which he includes along with “habitus” and “field” as being among the basic concepts for thinking about reasonable action. He defines interest in terms of “investment” in the “games” of life, in contrast to “disinterestedness” and indifference.

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  • Bourdieu, Pierre, and Loic J. D. Wacquant. 1992. An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    In this book, Bourdieu speaks of “reflexive sociology” as freeing humans from the necessities of social fields by teaching them the mechanisms of social action. He suggests that reflexive sociology teaches people to study themselves as they observe others and thereby to understand the manner in which domination can be dominated.

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  • Eriksen, Thomas Hyllan. 2005. Engaging anthropology: The case for a public presence. Oxford: Berg.

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    Eriksen argues that the core of public anthropological practice begins with teaching, research, and activism through writing for a broad audience. He stresses writing in particular, arguing that the point is not to use jargon in order to demonstrate one’s knowledge of complex theory, but to move minds by passionate engagement with and understanding of social issues.

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  • Fabian, Johannes. 1998. Moments of freedom: Anthropology and popular culture. Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia.

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    Fabian was one of the first anthropologists to introduce the concept of popular culture into the study of contemporary Africa. Before the publication of this book, he had been writing for thirty years about the practices, beliefs, and objects that make up popular culture in an urban African setting: labor and language, religious movements, theater and storytelling, music and painting, grassroots literacy, and historiography.

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  • Fabian, Johannes. 2001. Anthropology with an attitude: Critical essays. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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    This book collects published and unpublished work over the dozen years prior to its publication. Fabian is widely known outside of his discipline, because his work overcomes traditional scholarly boundaries with its insight on central topics in philosophy, history, and cultural studies.

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  • Werbner, Richard. 2004. Reasonable radicals and citizenship in Botswana: The public anthropology of Kalanga elites. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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    This is a study of an African country in which there is a thriving public sphere marked by open discussion and deliberation. Werbner accounts for this in terms of the practices of elites. He argues that in Botswana, acts of public good are not meant to maintain domination but are informed by values of effectiveness and accountability.

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Australia

In 2004, Mary Edmunds and Monique Skidmore convened a session titled “Public Anthropology” at the Australian Anthropology Society’s annual conference (Edmunds and Skidmore 2007). The session examined “a specific stream of public anthropology in the US and Britain as articulated by Robert Borofsky in the aftermath of the Yanomami controversy and Richard Werbner in the African context.” Edmunds and Skidmore 2007 identifies three characteristics of public anthropology: (1) the broader application of ethnography to urgent and political social issues, (2) the inclusion of this approach in postgraduate training, and (3) the engagement in public discussion and debate. These authors distinguish public from engaged anthropology, referring to Firth’s definition of engaged anthropology (Firth 1981). They note the significant history of “engaged anthropology” in Australian anthropology, which they define as “active involvement in issues of public concern that draw on our disciplinary knowledge and skills” (p. 108). They cite the work of a number of scholars, including Werbner 2004 (cited under 21st-Century English Language Examples from Other Countries), a study of Kalanga elites in Botswana, in which he refers to his work as public anthropology . Another engaged issue of significant relevance in Australian anthropology has been Aboriginal land rights, which has involved anthropologists in disputes over the meaning of land. There are a number of works on this subject. These include Hiatt’s work with the Aboriginal people (Hiatt 1996), Tonkinson’s article on the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair (Tonkinson 1997), and Povinelli’s insights stemming from her ethnographic engagement in northwestern Australia (Povinelli 1993).

  • Edmunds, Mary, and Monique Skidmore. 2007. Australian anthropologists and public anthropology. Anthropological Forum 17.2: 107–125.

    DOI: 10.1080/00664670701438373Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides an informative survey of issues related to the development of public anthropology in Australia and the Pacific, as seen from the point of view of the authors. In addition to contrasting engaged and public anthropology, they also contrast the anthropology of public policy and “critical ethnography” with public anthropology. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Firth, Raymond. 1981. Engagement and detachment: Reflections on applying social anthropology to social affairs. Human Organization 40.3: 193–201.

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    In this article, Firth refers to “engaged anthropology” as a third dimension of anthropology, which he says is beyond the pure/applied distinction.

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  • Hiatt, Lester R. 1996. Arguments about Aborigines: Australia and the evolution of social anthropology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Hiatt is considered to be one of Australia’s foremost anthropologists responsible for encouraging academic and public research on Aboriginal life, including land title issues.

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  • Merlan, Francesca. 1995. The regimentation of customary practice: From northern territory land claims to Mabo. Australian Journal of Anthropology 6.1–2: 64–82.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1835-9310.1995.tb00145.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the contested principles underlying the legal issues involved in recognizing native title as part of common law. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Povinelli, Elizabeth A. 1993. Labor’s lot: The power, history, and culture of aboriginal action. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Povinelli shows how everyday activities shape Aboriginal identity in the group she works with in the Northern Territory of Australia. She focuses on the women’s interactions with the countryside and on their conflicts with the Australian government over control of local land.

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  • Tonkinson, Robert. 1997. Anthropology and aboriginal tradition: The Hindmarsh Island bridge affair and the politics of interpretation. Oceania 68.1: 1–26.

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    This article describes the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair, which arose from a conflict over a bridge development and led to significant controversy over Aboriginal heritage issues. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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India

In 2006, India Review issued a special double issue on public anthropology. McGranahan 2006 notes in the introduction that the double issue includes articles focused on how to “use and think anthropology” as a public project for addressing various kinds of inequities and thinking about change. McGranahan mentions Borofsky’s public anthropology project and Sanday’s public interest program at the University of Pennsylvania as models and discusses the additional perspectives developed by the authors included. For example, Venkateswar 2006 inserts Aristotle into the definitional mix, and Chatterjee 2006 provides provocative reflection on the role of the ethnographer. Not all of the authors use the term “public” anthropology. Nichter 2006 prefers the adjective “engaged” rather than “public,” “applied,” or “practicing” to describe the author’s work. Kumar 2006 pushes beyond the application of research findings to propose different kinds of interventions, asking, for example, how we can serve our informants. Alley 2006 extends the author’s work by collaborating with the media, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and public activists to further the exchange and circulation of knowledge. In McGilvray 2006, the author discusses how his thirty-year relationship with the people of Akkaraipattu makes a difference in the type of research he does and the reception he receives. Fortun 2006, whose author’s work on the 1984 Bhopal disaster is well known, provides an interesting discussion of the theoretical complexities involved in attending to the practices and promise of a socially responsive anthropology. Some of these authors suggest that the spirit and work of public anthropology is not new, only the label is. In Gutschow 2006, the author suggests that a public anthropology as it is reflected in these articles might help with the ways India is imagined at home and abroad. Other articles focus on the use of ethnography in development, the public interest approach to community archaeology, public archaeology, and problems faced by illiterate English-speaking Indians.

  • Alley, Kelly D. 2006. Anthropology and environmental debate: Reflections on science, resource nationalism, and news reporting. India Review 5.3–4: 447–469.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600939298Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author writes that public anthropology is similar to applied, media, and activist anthropology in striving to link research with real-world problem solving and democratic decision making. She highlights these issues while documenting the environmental problem of wastewater management in northern India. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Chatterjee, Piya. 2006. Taking blood: Gender, race, and imagining public anthropology in India. India Review 5.3–4: 551–571.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600939439Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chatterjee says that her understanding of a “public” anthropology is concerned with questions about social inequity and justice. In this essay, she explores anthropological knowledge production in colonial and postcolonial Indian anthropology, from the standpoint of a feminist and historical anthropologist and as an Indian citizen-subject trained in the academy. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Fortun, Kim. 2006. Poststructuralism, technoscience, and the promise of public anthropology. India Review 5.3–4: 249–317.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600938993Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Fortun focuses on how poststructural ethnographic projects might contribute to progressive change. Using the example of the ethnography she did on the aftermath of the Bhopal disaster, she argues that the flexibility inherent in poststructuralism provides the vocabulary and conceptual models that go beyond the standard functionalist models of how various kinds of systems are ordered and change over time.

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  • Gutschow, Kim. 2006. The politics of being Buddhist in Zangskar: Partition and today. India Review 5.3–4: 470–498.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600939306Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This essay examines the relevance of partition narratives to contemporary communal and caste identification. Gutschow also discusses the importance of marginal or subaltern perspectives in the study of religion and identity more broadly.

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  • Kumar, Nita. 2006. The scholar and her servants: Further thoughts on postcolonialism and education. India Review 5.3–4: 519–550.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600939389Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper considers the ways in which those who work with anthropologists as assistants can and should benefit from the experience.

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  • McGilvray, Dennis B. 2006. Tsunami and civil war in Sri Lanka: An anthropologist confronts the real world. India Review 5.3–4: 372–393.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600939132Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    McGilvray traces the effects of changing fieldwork circumstances, including the tsunami and the civil war in Sri Lanka, on his work as a long-term ethnographer in the area. He notes that, like other recent anthropology in Sri Lanka, he seeks ways to address public issues while pursuing basic anthropological research.

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  • McGranahan, Carole. 2006. Introduction: Public anthropology. India Review 5.3–4: 255–267.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600938936Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a detailed introductory article to this special double issue of India Review. The authors come from India and the United States. The editor and twelve contributors explore the meaning of public anthropology in their work; two of the contributors are archaeologists. Others range from applied and developmental anthropologists to medical and theoretically oriented cultural anthropologists.

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  • Nichter, Mark. 2006. Anthropology and global health: Reflections of a scholar-activist. India Review 5.3–4: 343–371.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600939124Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nichter describes his attempts to introduce medical anthropology to local communities and public health practitioners in developing countries. He discusses the model that guides his work as a scholar activist. He says that anthropology needs to be accepted as a field of policy engagement for those developing and assessing public policy. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Venkateswar, Sita. 2006. Manifesto for a public anthropologist: Insights from fieldwork. India Review 5.3–4: 268–293.

    DOI: 10.1080/14736480600938977Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article presents a framework for an anthropology that transcends the usual dichotomies: applied versus pure and prescriptive versus descriptive. Working with indigenous groups in the Andaman Islands, the author reworks “Aristotelian phronesis” to provide an “emotional, embodied, ethico-political existence, which is explicitly tied to the goal of human flourishing” (p. 269). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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United Kingdom and Anthropology Today

The international outreach of the journal Anthropology Today (see Journals in Other Countries) is evident by the number of foreign anthropologists represented in it is pages. Scheper-Hughes 2009 is a guest editorial defining public anthropology from the perspective determined by the author’s research. Gusterson 2003 is an article on anthropology and the military in the United States, and Price 2002 is on American anthropology’s links to intelligence agencies. Articles illustrating engaged, action, media, and other forms of public anthropology, both in England and in other parts of the world, are also represented. “The politics of anthropology” is discussed in Peace 2003, in which the author describes the combative relations that developed among property developers, state functionaries, politicians, the press, and Aboriginal environmental and trade union interest groups regarding the Hindmarsh Island affair, in which opponents of the bridge to the island ceremonially reclaimed the island for its Aboriginal owners. Eindhoven, et al. 2007 is an interesting article by Dutch anthropologists surveying commercial television’s coverage of how anthropology is portrayed on TV. The subject of “applied anthropology in the 21st century” is discussed in Pink and Fardon 2004. Both authors are prominent members of the Association for Social Anthropologists (ASA), the second well-known anthropological society based in England. Butler and Flores 2007, covering the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) annual meetings in 2006, makes some interesting observations about a panel on public anthropology.

  • Butler, Udi Mandel, and Carlos Y. Flores. 2007. Critical intersections/dangerous issues. Anthropology Today 23.3: 26–27.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2007.00517.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This commentary on the AAA meetings in San Jose, California, in 2005 by anthropologists based in Brazil and Mexico refers to a panel titled “The Uses of Public Anthropology,” in which the speaker made note of the fact that in Brazil, public anthropology is normal anthropology because anthropologists are involved both with subjects of public concern and serve as public intellectuals. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Eindhoven, Myrna, Laurens Bakker, and Gerard A. Persoon. 2007. Intruders in sacred territory: How Dutch anthropologists deal with popular mediation of their science. Anthropology Today 23.1: 8–12.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2007.00483.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In an eight-part TV series, one Belgian family and two Dutch families spent several weeks among “the most primitive tribes” in Indonesia and Togo. With an estimated average of 1.5 million viewers, the series was declared an overwhelming success. This article examines how the program was received in Dutch anthropological circles and surveys similar media events elsewhere.

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  • Gusterson, Hugh. 2003. Anthropology and the military—1968, 2003, and beyond? Anthropology Today 19.3: 25–26.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8322.00195Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gusterson writes about the AAA’s issuance of “Principles of Professional Responsibility” in response to the Vietnam War and how these principles must be navigated in the “war on terror.” He suggests ways of working ethically with the military and with the local people who are classified as the enemy in wartime zones. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Peace, Adrian. 2003. Guest editorial: Hindmarsh Island and the politics of anthropology. Anthropology Today 19.5: 1–2.

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    This article chronicles the disagreements and rivalries among various Australian anthropological groups regarding the claims made by Aboriginal women who objected on spiritual grounds to the building of a bridge to Hindmarsh Island. It also discusses the outcome. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Pink, Sarah, and Richard Fardon. 2004. Applied anthropology in the 21st century. Anthropology Today 20.4: 22–23.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.0268-540X.2004.00283.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors, who are members of the ASA, note that the organization is committed to initiatives for bridging the gap between applied and academic anthropology. They go on to list some of the developments that they and other members have encouraged. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Price, David. 2002. Interlopers and invited guests: On anthropology’s witting and unwitting links to intelligence agencies. Anthropology Today 18.6: 16–21.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-8322.00148Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides a useful and detailed historical survey of anthropology’s links to intelligence agencies from the time of Boas to the early 21st century. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2009. Making anthropology public. Anthropology Today 25.4: 1–3.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00674.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Scheper-Hughes defines public anthropology in terms of its practices: writing for the public, making anthropology more accessible and more accountable, and actively collaborating with journalists and the media. She illustrates these approaches by reference to her involvement with public anthropology and activism with respect to the global traffic in human organs. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Canada

Anthropologica, the journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), was created from the merger of the society’s former journal, Culture, with Canada’s oldest anthropology journal, the original Anthropologica. The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles both in French and English, which are devoted to social and cultural issues whether they are prehistoric, historic, contemporary, biological, linguistic, applied, or theoretical in orientation. Most of the articles in issues published in the first decade of the 21st century could be classified as publically oriented. Articles such as McCutcheon 2006, King 2004, Marcus 2005, Swedenburg 2004, and others suggest this conclusion. In their focus on public issues, these articles provide the basis for public intellectualism and public outreach to the media.

  • King, Richard. 2004. Preoccupations and prejudices: Reflections on the study of sports imagery. Anthropologica 46.1: 29–36.

    DOI: 10.2307/25606165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author suggests that the anthropological study of sport offers unique opportunities “to fashion engaged, critical, and public anthropologies.” The author approaches his task by focusing on sports mascots as symbol and statement. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Marcus, Anthony. 2005. The culture of poverty revisited: Bringing back the working class. Anthropologica 47.1: 35–52.

    DOI: 10.2307/25606216Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines the assumptions of poverty studies that have excluded a Marxist analysis and identifies the weakness of such studies, based on the author’s ethnographic field data on homelessness in New York City during the Reagan/Bush years. Marcus sees poverty studies as part of the political history of the American working class in the 20th century. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • McCutcheon, Richard. 2006. Rethinking the war against Iraq. Anthropologica 48.1: 11–28.

    DOI: 10.2307/25605294Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author expands the concept of violence by bridging the literature on the anthropology of war and the ethnography of violence. From this framework, he sees the war against Iraq as a continuous one, beginning in 1991 and ending in 2003. He identifies three dimensions of violence: direct physical violence, structural economic violence, and cultural symbolic violence. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Swedenburg, Ted. 2004. The “Arab wave” in world music after 9/11. Anthropologica 46.2: 177–188.

    DOI: 10.2307/25606193Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This author investigates the paradoxical surge in popularity of Arab music, post-9/11, in the US world music scene. Noting that this has been a source of pride for Arab Americans, he links the consequences of this development to the relationship between political mobilization on Middle East issues in the United States and how it is aligned with cultural practice. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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Critical Anthropology and the Marxist Influence

Critique of Anthropology and Dialectical Anthropology (see Journals in Other Countries) are the most activist and publically oriented of the scholarly journals considered so far. Recent articles published in Critique of Anthropology include an article about the culture of Mexican migration by Tamar Diana Wilson (Wilson 2010) from the University of Missouri, St. Louis; an article about world anthropologies by Gustavo Lins Ribeiro (Ribeiro 2006) of the University of Brasilia; and an article on gender issues within British universities by David Mills and Mette Louise Berg (Mills and Berg 2010) of the University of Oxford. Dialectical Anthropology seeks “to invigorate discussion among left intellectuals” by publishing peer-reviewed research as well as political commentary and exchange from across the social sciences and humanities. The journal provides a forum for scholars and activists working in Marxist and broadly political–economic traditions. Recent articles include a discussion of activism in anthropology through a survey of Eric Wolf’s work in Vietnam, by Josiah McC. Heyman (Heyman 2010); a forum of articles on the prison reentry industry edited by Douglas Thompkins, Ric Curtis, and Travis Wendel (Thompkins, et al. 2010); and an article contrasting the concept of labor anthropology as opposed to the anthropology of labor (Kasmir 2009). These authors are all based in US universities.

  • Heyman, Josiah McC. 2010. Activism in anthropology: Exploring the present through Eric R. Wolf’s Vietnam-era work. Dialectical Anthropology 34.2: 287–293.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10624-010-9186-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Heyman thinks about political action as an anthropologist in this article. In doing so, he reflects on Eric Wolf’s ideas and practices during the Vietnam War era and more recent examples of activism by anthropologists. This is a good example of reflexive anthropology. Article available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Kasmir, Sharryn. 2009. Building a labor anthropology. Dialectical Anthropology 33.1: 73–77.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10624-009-9092-ySave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author suggests a distinction needs to be made between “the anthropology of labor” and “labor anthropology.” She suggests that the former documents the impact of labor practices on workers in various parts of the world, and the latter asks how anthropology might be both relevant to and part of an emerging international labor movement. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Mills, David, and Mette Louise Berg. 2010. Gender, disembodiment and vocation: Exploring the unmentionables of British academic life. Critique of Anthropology 30.4: 331–353.

    DOI: 10.1177/0308275X10372470Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is unusual for its upfront consideration of gender and other status issues that are below the surface but nevertheless controlling processes in academic departments. The authors draw on their own experience to describe what they see as the “disembodied vocationalism” fostered by departmental cultures. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Ribeiro, Gustavo Lins. 2006. World anthropologies: Cosmopolitics for a new global scenario in anthropology. Critique of Anthropology 26.4: 363–386.

    DOI: 10.1177/0308275X06070121Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article is inspired by the collective movement called the World Anthropologies Network (WAN), of which the author is a member. He frames his argument as being a critical anthropology of anthropology. He introduces a number of interests driving the movement and offers promising suggestions for codifying the global reach of the public anthropologies.

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  • Thompkins, Douglas E., Ric Curtis, and Travis Wendel. 2010. Forum: The prison reentry industry. Dialectical Anthropology 34.4: 427–429.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10624-010-9164-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This guest editorial introduces a series of articles on the emerging prison reentry industry (PRI). The articles are global in scope, featuring authors on three continents representing a wide diversity of perspectives and experiences, including prisoners, ex-prisoners, PRI workers, activists, and scholars, all of whom are involved in academic and policy research in some capacity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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  • Wilson, Tamar Diana. 2010. The culture of Mexican migration. Critique of Anthropology 30.4: 399–420.

    DOI: 10.1177/0308275X10382728Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This author seeks to develop a definition of the Mexican culture of migration within Mexico and across the US-Mexican border, through examining the long history of Mexican internal and external migration. She concludes that migration rests on attitudes and norms regarding the maintenance of reciprocity networks and other family-oriented and religious practices aiding migrants. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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LAST MODIFIED: 01/11/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199766567-0020

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