Comment from: Robert [Visitor]
“Recipe Nr 1: Elitism” Yes.
“Recipe 3: Insisting on irreducible complexity. Anthropologists are skilled at exposing oversimplifications. This is one of our disciplines strengths, but complex answers are non marketable commodities with respect to the mass media and the general reader, as we all know.”
I think that this notion that anthropologist have a more complex and nuanced “holistic” view than other disciplines is a sign of the type of elitism and short-sightedness that is typical of the discipline. Too often comments like these sound like self-congratulation – we have mastered the obvious.
Simplifying assumptions and models are essential in coming to grasps with complex phenomena.
“Recipe 5: Anthropology as a subversive kind of activity”
Really? Maybe in the days of Durkheim and Malinowski, when social researchers were willing to wager their beliefs. In the US contemporary anthropology is constrained to an ideological strait-jacket, a narrow and puritanical upper middle class liberalism. Beyond this, they work in departments that are actively fleecing undergraduates and graduates in the cynical 21st century university.
“Recipe 6: Priviledging analysis over narrative” Not quite. Anthropologists have engaged in veiling the shallowness of their work with the gibberish of the French “intellectuals” of the 1960s and 1970s.