On the recent conference by the Society for Applied Anthropology, Mary Odell Butler from Battelle suggested that anthropologists ought to quit using the word ‘culture’ wherever possible, according to Judd Antin at Technotaste who writes:
"The larger and more interesting point she made, is that talking about culture instead of more specific perceptions or processes, is a scapegoat. It relieves us of the burden of talking about specific ideas, habits, and histories. She gave an example that I remember well. Contrast these two statements:
Many African-American women have developed a culturally-based perception that they will be disrespected in community healthcare clinics.
Many African-American women have learned through their experience and that of their friends and family that they will be disrespected in community healthcare clinics.
Culture, in other words, is too often a gloss for actual perception and practice. Why not call a rose a rose?"
Judd Antin has written two more posts about the conference: Wednesday Morning at SfAA and SfAA 2006: To Start. There was no press coverage (no surprise). Jen Cardew at anthroblogs did some conference blogging, but the notes aren't especially reader-friendly.
Jen made an interesting remark about getting in touch with people at conferences. It's an advantage to be a smoker:
I would like to note that the only people who have approached me, or that I have approached at the conference thus far have been smokers outside on a smoke break. I am actually thankful that I am a smoker right now, what a wonderful social tool! I'm kind of shy, so it is not too often that I approach people to chat.
Jen has also written about Smokers as a Subculture