For example the anthropologist’s answer to the question how he became interested in anthropology:
I was always interested in social theory, thinking about what is going on in the world and at one point in college I realized that there are all of these different ways of thinking, ways of doing things around the world - that there is no way you could really understand humans and society and history without understanding all of the variety in the world.
So I guess I was eventually very interested in U.S. society and social problems and had a lot of thoughts about that and realized that you can’t really understand these things unless you understand the tremendous variety in the world.
Or his definition of anthropology:
Sociocultural anthropology is the study of all alternative world knowledges. Political knowledges, religious knowledges, scientific knowledges, medical knowledges - that there are a lot of different ways to think about things.
The situation of anthropology in the US:
I think for most professors in the U.S., that you’re sort of a class of people that’s not very well respected in the wider society, and often your voice doesn’t count in a direct way, unlike in other countries in the world, where if there’s an issue the television might come to the university and ask professors what they think. But that doesn’t happen so much in the U.S.
Or look at his his comparision of anthropologists with garbage collectors when he is asked if anthropologists can change the world:
I also think of it (work as anthropologist) as sometimes as similar to people who collect the garbage. They are not changing the world, but if they didn’t do it, things would get really messy. Somebody’s got to do that. Somebody’s got to be in the academy thinking all kinds of experimental and critical thoughts and sharing that with students and thinking that over with students. If we didn’t have that, things would be a lot worse. I can’t really say that I or any of the other professors are totally changing the world for the better.