Engaging Anthropology : The Case for a Public Presence book cover
1st Edition

Engaging Anthropology
The Case for a Public Presence

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ISBN 9781845200657
Published November 1, 2005 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Anthropology ought to have changed the world. What went wrong? Engaging Anthropology takes an unflinching look at why the discipline has not gained the popularity and respect it deserves in the twenty-first century. From identity to multicultural society, new technologies to work, globalization to marginalization, anthropology has a vital contribution to make.While showcasing the intellectual power of the discipline, Eriksen takes the anthropological community to task for its unwillingness to engage more proactively with the media in a wide range of current debates. If anthropology matters as a key tool with which to understand modern society beyond the ivory towers of academia, why are so few anthropologists willing to come forward in times of national or global crisis? Eriksen argues that anthropology needs to rediscover the art of narrative and abandon arid analysis and, more provocatively, anthropologists need to lose their fear of plunging into the vexed issues modern societies present. Engaging Anthropology makes an impassioned plea for positioning anthropology as the universal intellectual discipline. Eriksen has provided the wake-up call we were all awaiting.

Table of Contents

1. A short History of Engagement 2. What went Wrong? 3. Complexity and Simplicity4. Fast and Slow Media 5. Narrative and Analysis 6. Altercentric Writing 7. Why Anthropology Matters

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Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and the Free University of Amsterdam.


"Anthropologists should be at the forefront of public debates on questions ranging from human rights, multiculturalism and migration to development, education and health. Why are our voices so seldom heard? Thomas Hylland Eriksen demonstrates that the fault is partly our own, and his lively and insightful essay will help us to raise our game. - Adam Kuper A magnificent primer on how anthropologists might engage a wider public and why they generally fail to do so. The proof of the message is in the quality of the writing itself - Keith Hart Anthropology will engage with public issues, or it will wither. This is the central message of Thomas Eriksen's stimulating polemic. As he warns, 'Anthropologists must stop fidgeting, and get on with it'. His provocative essay is easy to read and full of key reasons why anthropologists today more than ever need to face the world and not just one another. We have no option but to put our message across, yet do so at our own peril. - j"