“The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences”. Ruth Benedict’s now-famous dictum echoed so artfully by Nancy Schepher-Hughes (see this post) is a powerful way to conceptualize what purpose anthropological practice can play in the world at-large.
Nature :: Technology Anthropologists pursuing the study of material culture have been perennially interested in the relationship between nature, culture, and what role technology plays in the what it means to be human (c.f. Pfaffenberger 1992).
Myth 2: Corporate culture is “fluffy” After reading Michel Foucault’s deeply moving and oft-disturbing Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, I don’t know of another book that so radically changed the way I thought about the role of the education, health “care”, and the state.
Anthropologists are often very deliberate about the way we deploy concepts and theories. This comes from a well documented disciplinary history that has taught us to be mindful and explanatory lest we do more damage than good.
Notes from an Agency Anthropologist In 1946, Ruth Benedict, a US anthropologist published the study of Japanese culture entitled: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. The book was a product of Benedict’s wartime research completed at the behest of the US Office of War Information. Given the political situation at the time,…