MOST people believe the local pub is far more important to their community than the church, according to a survey published today. Kate Fox, social anthropologist and co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre, was asked to comment on the findings.
She said: "The survey confirms the status of the pub as a central part of British life and culture, a unique institution, vital for sustaining local communities. The bar of the pub is one of the very few public places in England where it is socially acceptable to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger," she said.
"At the bar, the normal unwritten rules of privacy and reserve are suspended - we are granted temporary `remission' from our conventional social inhibitions, and friendly conversation with strangers is regarded as entirely appropriate and normal behaviour." >> continue
- Buenos Aires has unexpectedly become the new stage for a long-standing battle between an Argentine oil company and an Ecuadorian indigenous community fighting to defend its ancestral land rights in the Amazon rainforest.
Representatives of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku have come to the Argentine capital to call on President Néstor Kirchner to intervene in the conflict. ”Our people's future is threatened. We are living in a constant state of fear,” Marlon Santi, a community leader from Sarayaku, told IPS.
The Ecuadorian government of President Lucio Gutiérrez has now militarised the area in an attempt to ensure that the project goes ahead, claiming that it will bring development and jobs to the region. >> continue
The Grand Island Independent
Eight O'Clock Coffee Co. wanted its advertising push to hit people right where they live: in their own homes, just waking up in the morning, craving that first cup of coffee. To get the right look, the company turned to an increasingly popular form of research known as commercial ethnography, which combines marketing and the kind of observations done by anthropologists.
Kaplan Thaler's director of strategic planning and research, Chris Wauton, says a milestone in developing commercial ethnography came in 1979 with a book written by anthropologist Mary Douglas and economist Baron Isherwood titled, "The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption." (no longer available online)
Found via Bits and Bytes by Fazia Rizvi who writes:
The (quoted) article goes on to add:
"It was difficult for some in the business world to turn from quantitative, survey type information to qualitative, interpretive research, she said."
This has probably been the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. I have over 15 years of qualitative research experience with people's use of the Internet and Internet technologies. I find my observations and conclusions confirmed and validated over and over again. But managers and executives usually only trust quantitiative data and it's hard to make the argument for directions that are informed by the qualitative approach."
AP / The Advocate
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The culture and customs of work are under scrutiny by a pair of anthropologists at Pitney Bowes Inc. trying to improve product designs by watching customers on the job. One prototype Jill Lawrence and Alexandra Mack are helping to develop is a secure mail locker for people frequently on the road.
"It's understanding the work people are actually doing, not what they're saying they do," Mack said. There's a difference between the two, as the anthropologists tell it. They discovered, for example, a group of lawyers who use e-mail to compile lists of projects as much as they use it to communicate electronically, Lawrence said.
Adapting anthropology to industry is becoming more common, said Ghita Levine, spokeswoman for the American Anthropological Association in Arlington, Va. It's helping companies better market their products while boosting interest in the social science. Applied anthropology has grown so fast that in 2002, the anthropological association added it to the basic branches that comprise the discipline, she said. (no longer avaiable online)
Professor Rosemary Joyce proposed that the AAA sponsor an online forum whereby session participants could exchange and discuss their organized topics, even if they do not take place in face-to-face meetings at the annunal meeting as originally planned in San Francisco. The AAA Executive Board enthusiastically endorsed the online forum.
All of our efforts to plan and organize the exchange of ideas, and the conduct of Association and Section business, will be available in a central repository for anyone to search and access. This innovative use of digital technology will facilitate professional and scholarly communication both for this and in future years.
antropologi.info's special on Open Access Anthropology (multilingual)
Steven Shaviro, professor in English at Wayne State University
David Graeber's Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology is filled with interesting and provocative ideas. Graeber wants to ally the discipline of anthropology with the anarchist currents that have shown up, most recently, in the anti-globalization movement. Each, he says, has a lot to offer the other.
What anarchism can offer anthropology, according to Graeber, is a way out of academicist impasses, a way that anthropology might change the world, rather than merely interpret it. This is the most upfront side of the book, but also its least convincing one. For I fear that here Graeber overly idealizes academia, and the discipline of anthropology in particular.
Graeber is far more interesting when he writes about what anthropology can offer anarchism. Graeber discusses Marcel Mauss' theory of the gift as an alternative to orthodox economic assumptions about the centrality of markets and "exchange", and Pierre Clastres' arguments about societies that explicitly sought to avoid the formation of a State.
Many anthropologists would agree that there is an affinity between anthropology and anarchism and there are many convinced anarchists among anthropologists, but fewer of them might support "resistance against civilization" as the webpage Radical Anthropology calls for. Nevertheless, this website has some interesting articles, like Anthropology and Anarchism by anthropologist Brian Morris at Goldsmiths College, London. (UPDATE: The website was closed down, I've linked to copies in the Web Archive)
See also another review on Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology in Green Pepper Magazine that among other states that "in the last three decades of the twentieth century, it was the work of Sahlins and other critical anthropologists such as Richard Lee and Pierre Clastres that produced some of the most outstanding changes within anarchist theory."
This site's layout looks like as if it was last updated in the early 90s, but this is because it is a traditional wiki - a site that everybody is allowed to edit. Besides the guide "How to do Ethnographic Research", you'll also find a list of "Companies That Do Ethno" >> continue
Ghosta is a shaman who lives with his reindeer in the remote forests of northwestern Mongolia. He believes these sacred forests will die if he and his dwindling tribe of Dukha reindeer people abandon their ancestral homeland. Yet if the Dukha do leave, it's they themselves who are almost certain to die out.
This, at least, is the conclusion of Hamid Sardar, a Harvard-trained anthropologist with the Geneva, Switzerland-based Axis-Mundi Foundation. Sardar recently spent three years on the trail of Mongolia's last nomadic reindeer herders. >> continue