Hammel & 'Important Stuff'

Fri, 15 Apr 1994 01:45:55 -0400

>I read E.A. Hummel's commentary in the current AAA newsletter.
>Couldn't we discuss his article and what it means to anthropological
>theory and practice

Gladly. What did you think about it? My impression is that E. Hammel was
saying something along the following: "cultural relativism: bad, universal
human rights: good." Something along the lines of, sure, imposing human
rights on other societies is imperialism, but heck, it's a good
imperialism. Also something along the lines of, why aren't us anthros
saying more about the problems in Yugoslavia, except for taking sides with
the various ethnic factions. I thought it was a good article, though I am
still not sure what problems it is supposed to be the antidote for.

> instead all the talk about post structuralism,
>chaos, and all that stuff that will never do humanity any good?

Mary, I'll argue this point with you. Saying that poststructuralism and
chaos theory will never do humanity any good is silly. Let's ignore the
former. But if human systems are governed by chaotic forces, wouldn't an
understanding of chaos theory help us to understand human systems? I don't
think we can do humanity any good by being intellectually dishonest.

> Don't
>we have some responsibility to face the Worlld's real problems?

We certainly do! We also have a responsibility not to go in and make them
worse through naive assumptions. The first rule, whether one is a doctor or
applied anthro, is "Do no harm."

Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
CyberAnthropologist, TechnoCulturalist, Guerilla Ontologist, Chaotician
Matrix Master Control Node #3, Gainesville, Fl.
"I slept with Faith & found a corpse in my arms upon awakening/ I drank and
danced all night with Doubt and found her a virgin in the morning." --