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Applied Anthropology


Applied Anthropology History of Applied ... helped establish gov. policy on food rationing. provided cultural daa on allies and adversaries. relocation of Japanese ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Applied Anthropology

Applied Anthropology
  • History of Applied Anthropology
  • Ethics of Applied Anthropology
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Anthropologists as Advocates

Applied Anthropology
  • The application of anthropological knowledge,
    theory, and methods to the solution of specific
    societal problems.
  • Cultural anthro in an applied situation want to
    bring about change.
  • i.e. Star Trek prime directive-do not interfere
    or change societies for better or worse.
  • Because hard to judge long-term effect of change.
  • Roles of applied anthros include policy
    researcher, evaluator, impact assessor, planner,
    research analyst, needs assessor, trainer,
    advocate, expert withness, administrator,
    manager, cultural broker.

Applied Anthropology
  • Applied anthro in tough situation but they feel
    they are the best equipped to make suggestions
    for change because of their intimitate knowledge
    of a culture.
  • Anthros have all the things we have already
    talked about.
  • Holistic Approach-looking at multiple variables
    and see human problems in their historical,
    economic, and cultural context.
  • b. Theories dealing with culture change
  • c. Regional expertise
  • d. Local level expertise through part. obs.
  • -fuller understanding of the soicocultural
    realities than might be possible with other
    secondary sources.

Applied Anthropology
  • Anthro try and bring emic and etic views
  • Emic a perspective in ethnography that uses the
    concepts and categories that are relevant and
    meaningful to the culture under analysis. Native
  • Etic a perspective in ethnography that use's
    the concepts and categories of the anthros
    culture to describe another culture. Scientific
  • Cultural Relativism
  • An attempt to understand cultural patterns from
    the "inside" and to see traits of a culture in
    terms of the cultural whole.
  • Opposite of ethnocentrism-perceiving and judging
    other cultures from perspective of one's own

History of Applied Anthropology
  • Applied first assoc. w/ British colonialism
  • During the 19th century, e.g., Britain employed
    anthros to help in the administration of
  • subjugated people, local pops
  • were meeting needs of employer but not
    necessarily the local people
  • Association of Applied w/ colonialism made
    negative impression and was difficult to overcome.

  • Applied anthro really took off again during WWII.
  • Anthro helped in war efforts
  • Society of Applied Anthro founded at Harvard
  • More anthropologists doing applied work at that
    time than any time previous
  • Accomplishments
  • helped establish gov. policy on food rationing.
  • provided cultural daa on allies and adversaries.
  • relocation of Japanese-American interns on the
    West coast.

  • After WWII, refocus on academic anthropology
  • here is a dichotomy that is made between applied
    anthro and academic anthro (applied vs. basic
  • Most anthros after war employed by Univ teaching
    and basic research, as opposed to working for
  • Although not much Applied anthro, an important
    reorientation took place.
  • prior to 1950s, anthros tried to employ "value
    free philosophy" a commitment to avoid
    interjecting any of their own values in their
  • In 1950s, anthros decided it was impossible to
    free your work of your own biases, should set out
    your goals, objectives, and perspective for
    everyone and when working for an employer should
    know their own value positions.
  • this helped erase some of the negative feelings
    toward applied anthro.
  • Examples
  • Fox project-intervention in the problems of
    Native American group.
  • Vicos project-tranforming a nonproductive
    hacienda into an economically productive and
    self-governing community.

New Applied Anthropology
  • Characterized by contract work for public service
    agencies accomplished away from universities.
  • Applied anthro no longer dominated by university
    doing short-term applied work but anthros are
    full time employees of agencies.
  • Today, anthros are still exploring the employment
    opportunities for themselves not only with gov.
    agencies but private businesses, the economiy is
    a world economy and to do business you need a
    global perspective.

Ethical Questions
  • How do you make findings public without revealing
  • Can you be certain presenting your data will help
    and won't eventually hurt the people you studied?
  • How much do you get personally involved?
  • First became a concern with Franz Boas in 1919,
    who spoke out about using science as a cover for
  • Project Camelot (6 million) 1970s
  • To gather data on gorilla forces so U.S. Army
    could cope more effectively with internal
    revolutions in foreign countries. Project
    cancelled after Government heard about it.
  • Immense repercussions in social sciences
  • suspicion on legitimate research.
  • government using social sciences as cover.
  • anthros were misled.

Areas of Responsibility
  • People studied
  • Public
  • Students
  • Sponsors
  • Governments
  • Follow American Anthro ethics-each member of the
    profession ultimately responsible for won ethical

Drawbacks of Applied Anthro
  • Participant observation takes a long time, can't
    just go in and immediately solve problems.
  • Anthros get wrapped up in "their" people, lose
    the go-between attitude so don't work well with
    the managers of the projects.
  • Lack quantitative data, numbers, but this is
  • Idea that the anthro knows best, can't think that
    you know everything.
  • Cultural relativism appears in conflict to
    loyalty to gov. employer.

Anthropology and Public Policy
  • As societies become more complex, become
    heterogeneous-segments tend to become
    increasingly isolated.
  • ethnic group from ethnic group.
  • occupational specialties from one another.
  • elites from the poor.
  • Well intentioned public policies cannot help when
    based on ignorances of pops affected by them.
  • anthro can act as "cultural brokers" between
    policy makers and target pop.
  • anthro fill vacuum.

Medical Anthropology
  • Growing field of applied anthro
  • Inadequate health care major contemporary
  • Model of health care intervention based on
    assumption that modern western medical practices
    were clearly superior to indigenous systems.
  • People would drop traditional practices and turn
    to newer systems
  • Planners assumption incorrect
  • modern facilities not used extensively
  • traditional practices and specialists remained
  • Anthro useful in identifying cultural and social
    factors that acts as barriers inhibiting
    acceptance of new health care measures.

Anthropologists as Advocates
  • Act on behalf of indigenous people whose cultures
    are destroyed and whose rights are violated when
    they are perceived as standing in way of economic
    development and political priorities of nations
    of which they are a part.
  • Indigenous people often stigamatized as clinging
    to backward and primitive way of life and
    obstructing econoic dvlpmnt and nation bldg.
  • Often result is appropriation of indigenous lands
    upon which their survival rests
  • Anthro not trying to preserve people in mythical
    original state-cultures change anthro know this
    well. Anthro support the rights of people to
    have a say in their future.

Cultural Survival
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