Anthros as policy wonks

John McCreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Fri, 10 May 1996 23:39:54 +0900

Mike Cahill writes, with feeling,

"After all, it's not as if the policy field is already crawling with
anthropologists. In my experience, dealing with child welfare policy makers
and policy implementers at various levels of state and county government, I
have encountered *not one* professional anthropologist who was in a position
to make a real difference."

Is this not, dear friends, because we are trained and train our students to
be paralyzed at the thought of doing anything but protest in a high,
whiney, critical voice whatever happens to offend us? The policy maker is,
above all, someone who, rightly or wrongly, is unafraid to say, "This is a
goal I favor, and this is how we should go about reaching it." It's the
everyday stuff of business and politics alike, and unless we are ready to
lower ourselves from high-minded stands to grubbing in the trenches to make
things happen, we deserve the nasty remark that used to be made of people
in education departments. I.e., those who can do, those who can't
teach...[to which we may now add] those who can't teach...deconstruct.[I'm
not sure I really meant that, but, Hey, these days "meaning" doesn't mean
much anyway, does it?]

John McCreery
At the end of a long business day
May 10, 1996

John McCreery
3-206 Mitsusawa HT, 25-2 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220, JAPAN

"And the Lord said unto Cyrus, 'Shall the clay say to him who moldest it,
what makest thou? Let the potsherd of the earth speak to the potsherd of
the earth." --An anthropologist's credo