Fox, Flames, and the Future of Anthropology (fwd)

Thu, 6 Oct 1994 09:00:55 +0100

yes, flaming isn't very nice and i wont comment on what had happened in the
mail recently (like had happened many times before) - instead i would like
to comment on some thoughts expressed in johns' mail:

> I, myself, represent another possibility: pursuing anthropology while making a
> living at something else. My heroes are Lewis Henry Morgan (a lawyer) and
> Benjamin Whorf (an insurance adjuster). When I came to Japan in 1980 and went
> looking for a job to support myself and my family, my anthropology was
> not what got me a job. Writing and editing skills, a better-than-average
> knowledge of computers and office automation did that. Chinese and Japanese
> language skills also helped.
> I am convinced, however, that anthropological training made me better at what
> I and my "henchmen" do: creating marketing strategies and advertising
> campaigns. In today's increasingly information-saturated world, the
> anthropologist's skill in synthesizing data from wildly different sources is, I
> believe, increasingly valuable.

i agree because - as s.o. else put it - "anthropology is a frame of mind". and
this "looking-at-the-world-from-an-anthropological-point-of-view" does a good
job in any kind of situation one is into, any workplace, any time.

in germany, many anthropologists still stick to a certain field of study like
"in the good ol' days" and sometimes seem to suffer by a sort of identity crisis
caused by new or unconventional fields of inquiry and interdisciplinary work.

after a short intermezzo as a "real anthropologist" in the south pacific
department of an ethnographic museum, i then got a job in a social science
centre, working together with sociologists, political and managerial scientists.
my fields of interest are technological developments, organisations and
technoculture, and whatever i'm doing i do it as an anthropologist, which means
a specific frame of perception, theoretical and methodological approach, and
background. i like it and i'm rather convinced about that, but of course i wont
say that anthropology is the one and only way and is all the world will need
to be a better place :-)

what do you think?