Re: Third Culture

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Sun, 3 Sep 1995 07:03:01 -0600

On Sun, 3 Sep 1995, Danny Yee wrote:

> I've always been
> confused by the relationship between "science" and the "humanities".
> I unthinkingly call both anthropology *and* history sciences...

History is not a science, but traditionally has been the cultural
and social construction of imperialism and domination.

Anthropology, traditionally, has been the terrorist wing of history
and, for the most part, continues to be.

> I seem to have a much broader view of "science" than either the
> cultural materialists who agree with me and the more literary who
> recoil in horror from the thought.

I would suggest you research under the heading of Postmodernist.
There are works there by serious scholars which go beyond
"pop culture" productions designed to increase the heft of
academic dilettantes resumes.

> I think the long reign of physics
> as the paradigm science is over...

There is great debate over physics as paradigm science. Many
consider physics as data collection which serves "objective"
agendas masking technology as means of social control and
exploitation. Read Marcuse and Douglas Kellner.
In anthropology, you must get past the paradigmatic statements
of the obvious, such as exemplified by Rappaport, and begin to
research the newer and more "elegant" work of theorists such
as Mayama.

> Not only are disciplines like
> evolutionary ecology, linguistics and cognitive psychology bringing
> clearly "scientific" work into closer contact with the traditional
> humanities subjects, but the greater acceptance of historical and
> non-reductionist perspectives within the sciences is weakening the
> epistemological boundaries.

In all due respect, if you would put more time into the work of
respected scholars rather than the "Rabinow-Crapanzano-Brodenesque"
fluff that you review, and has become standard fare in the purposely
entertainment oriented dumbed-down graduate programs, you would
realize this is self-serving "psycho-babble" out of the stable of
the newer order of anthropological "pop stars." In ethnography,
Rosario epitimizes this tendency.
There has been a successful cross-discipline methodology lately
used by the one who has pioneered ethnographic fieldwork on the
Internet, I suggest you get yourself a copy of Anthony Giddens'
NEW RULES OF SOCIOLOGICAL METHOD, turn to the index, and read all
sections concerning ethnomethodology.

> But anthropologists (at least judging by this list) still seem divided
> into two cultures...
> Danny Yee.

You're half-right here. Bi-polar disorder has always characterized
academic anthropology, ethnographers/fieldworkers vs ethnologists-ie
those who sit on their tenure and "draw" from the work of others.
Today "applied" anthropology suffers from this tendency in the
division of those who directly serve exploitation employed for
corporate greed/World Bank,IMF grants, and those who staff case study
industries or provide politically correct fronts while blinding
themselves to physical and cultural genocide of indigenous peoples,
creating eco-tourist zoos out of traditional homelands, or further
becoming the gopher chumps of the afore-mentioned.

Robert Johnson