Re: R:....& the Future of Anthropology

Mon, 10 Oct 1994 09:41:27 +0100

two anthropologists, two opinions ;-) great!

> On Sunday, 9 October M.R. Kleindienst writes:
> >
> > As a colleague, Prof. Anne Zeller, once observed: Anthropology is not
> > just a discipline, or a profession. It is a philosophy, a way of life,
> ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^
> > and a way of looking at life.
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^

Ken Jacobs writes:
> ........... Much of the current fuss arises, IMHO, from anthropologists' taking
> their apparent commonalities of interest much too much at face value. As
> any readings in the history of North American anthropology in the early 20th
> century will show, <<Plus ca change, plus.......>> The field is and always has
> been a catch-all for disgruntled physicists, MDs, sociologists, historians and
> Lord knows what else. The one thing they all shared was a desire to see/do
> things differently than in their "home" disciplines. Our mistake is in
> assuming that this eclecticism was magically transformed into a rhythmically
> harmonious view of the world when all donned the mantle of anthropologist.
> We only compound the error when we react vehemently and negatively on those
> occasions when the cloak slips and some of our diversity shows.

i fully agree with the first way of seeing anthropology, stressing the unique
"gestalt" of anthropology - haven't we all read the same basic books and made
similar experiences during fieldwork? - anyhow, more important to me seems
the point that unity and heterogeneity do not exclude each other.

stressing the common grounds doesn't imply to completely neglect the differences

when de-scribing a culture there will be always these oppositions/contradictions/
dualities or whatever you like to call them. any ethnography of a certain group
of people will differ depending on who write it but i am sure they also will
be similar somehow, creating a more general description.

sabine helmers