Re: Cultural Survival?

Nick Corduan (nickc@IQUEST.NET)
Tue, 9 Jan 1996 12:19:52 -0500


While I share your concern about the destruction of indigenous cultures, I
must admit to a certain trepidation about your connection of the preservation
of those cultures to anthropologists. Allow me to explain my worries . . .

1) All people should be worried about the ruthless and purposeless eradication
of cultures. Period. Bankers should be, farmers should be -- it should not
be the domain of anthropology but of humanity to stop people from being
brainwashed. So when one starts saying that anthropologists should be
leading the way or serving as the main soldiers in the fight, my thought is,
"No -- all people should march as one."

2) Connecting a science to activism can blur lines. I am not suggesting that
anthropologists should abstain from activism -- but that they should do it
not as anthropologists, but as human-beings. When qualifications start being
placed on science (e.g. "To be an anthropolgist you must spend at least two
months out of the year working to fight back the erosion of traditional
cultures in some portion of the world") you stop making the science the

3) Links to one driving force can lead to links with another driving force.
Anthropogists, rather than fighting for any cause, should just fight to do
their job. By linking themselves to an ideology as their grounding, they are
opening the field up for other ideologies being the groundings of other


Nick Corduan "...there is as much dignity in tilling
at a field as in writing a poem."
( --Booker T. Washington