John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Tue, 4 Oct 1994 16:58:12 JST

In re the question of 'hooks' for selling anthropology: Several
of us have expressed interest in seeing the results of this
inquiry. Before we can see results, we need to see some
suggestions. So far we've seen the following:

[I list them in an order which suggests a story]

" When I have done some consulting work, all I have to do is
say the word anthropology and corporate types salivate like I
have some inner tap into knowledge... of course I do." --Patsy

[Really? Why should this be?]

"anthropologists know people"--Bonnie Blackwell

[What could you possibly mean by that?]

"How about this:

People can seem crazy when you don't know their culture.
You can't dobusiness with crazy people. What an
anthropologist is trained to do
is to consider that the others are not crazy but that he himself
ignorant. People from other cultures are making assumptions
from yours -- understand the assumptions and they end up as
understandable as anyone else. Understand the assumptions
and you can do business with them. Anthropologists are
experts in figuring out
other people's assumptions about manners, fairness,
friendship, and
humor." --Jerry Barkow

[Yes, but what's the bottom line?]

"actually a rough one to answer. the potential considerably
greater than the current reality. I keep coming back to US
Census demographic studies of the shifting ethnic pattern in
US Culture, the fact that the long term shift from a euro-based
to more latino-asian-american-afro-american mix with that
euro-based culture is in the making, already reflected in our
cities to a high degree, and that the projections are that these
shifts, in part cultural, will also be reflected in the changing
nature of the work force, which business people don't know
enough about. long term thinking - a rare commodity in
certain circles would suggest that cross cultural knowledge
might be of some advantage to corporate leaders. (indeed some
of the bigger corps are heading in this direction - here in
Colorado, firms like US West taking the lead). tack 2 is to
point out that in this post cold war world that is seeing a
gradual but long term decline in us power, and one in which a
growing component of corporate sales and profits come from
exports, it becomes more important for us companies,
corporate managers and the like to 1. learn certain foreign
languages: German, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Russian
come to mind. believe it or not there are actually people
making big bucks doing such things." --Rob Prince

[It seems to me that we're getting somewhere. But I'd like to
see some more brainstorming before we start to weed and edit.
To keep things rolling, I'll throw in my own experience
working for Japan's 2nd largest ad agency:]

"Most of the folks I work with are totally focused on pressing
tasks. Thecreatives trying to come up with ideas; the
marketing department trying to put together strategies; the
account executives massaging the client and worrying about
money. Rare, indeed, are the people who see the business
whole, notice how different parts (cultural, oganizational,
ecological ) fit together, have a sense of how and why it
developed the way it did, and where it might be going, given
the way its world is changing...Anthropological training? If
you want to be a creative director or a better than average
manager, it's hard to imagine better preparation...<g>"

[Ah, yes, the old holistic understanding story. Sounds
plausible. But at the end of the day, what do you do that
people with other types of training can't do as well or better?]