The Secret Society of Anthropologists
In the book Engaging Anthropology, Thomas Hylland Eriksen writes:
In spite of its considerable growth, anthropology still cultivates its self-identity as a counter-culture, its members belonging to a kind of secret society whose initiates possess exclusive keys for understanding, indispensable for making sense of the world, but alas, largely inaccessible for outsiders. (...)Anthropologists simply did not want their subject to become too popular.
Recently, I had to think of this quote several times. As noted, I've registered for the conference Cosmopolitanism and Anthropology. As the conference fee is cheaper for members of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, I thought: Why not have a look at the organisation.
On the homepage section Membership, the first thing you read is this here:
Not a member? Why not lend your support to the discipline? If you would like to join, and fulfil the requirements below, use the NEW online form to apply.
Requirements?? Read on:
The ASA offers membership to persons of academic standing who, by virtue of their training, posts held and published works can be recognised as professional social anthropologists. Nominations and applications are considered once a year, at the Annual Business Meeting of the Association. These must be submitted by December 31st in the academic year in which they are to be considered.
But that's not enough. You can't just apply by yourself:
Applications may be made by nomination through a member of the Association or by a person applying in their own right. In the case of the latter the names of two members of the Association should be provided to whom the committee may refer if necessary.
You should also take a look at the detailed membership application form
In contrast, there are no such "requirements" when applying for membership in the American Anthropological Association (AAA) or in the Norwegian Anthropological Association.
By the way, some days ago, the first conference papers were published on the website. Try to download them and see what happens when you (try to) open them...