Re: Anthropology is too crowded...?

Tue, 7 Dec 1993 13:50:30 EST

I am afraid I do not understand your point about the discipline
being overcrowded. Because of the holistic perspective of anthropology, there
are literally hundreds of anthropological phenomena in dozens of
areas (just look at the number of Triple A subsections, which continue to
mushroom) that are demanding our attention. There are also plenty of cultures,
whether 'pristine' or not, which no anthropologist has gotten around to
studying... I think that if nothing else, you can argue for continued
expansion of the discipline based on continued expansion of the subject
matter (human population.)
There may be too few research dollars and resources for the number of
anthropologists out there, but that's merely because anthropology is
underfunded as an enterprise, as compared to economics, physics, medicine,
engineering, or whatever else. That fact indicates there is too little
attention to the profession, and not that there are too many of us. Pomo
anthros may be looking for ways to get money without doing research, but it
doesn't seem to me that there are no things left for pomos or positivos
to research... and that there are plenty of problems which should be
approached from *both* perspectives.
I agree that the profession needs a common frame of reference for
communication. But that reference need not be scientific methodology, as
narrowly defined as it is by many of its advocates. We can say as much
about hyperreality as fish can about hydrodynamics - to objectify it is to
ignore that we are "swimming" in it right now.
Anyway, I simply don't understand your argument. Maybe there are too
many pomos because there's too few research dollars. But are you arguing for
a reduction in the size of the profession? I could not agree with you on
that. The world needs more anthropologists, not less, especially with ethnic
conflicts exploding all over the globe. And as long as they communicate the
experience of the Other effectively, whether in scientific or humanistic
terms, they have done the world an important service.