Category: "applied anthropology"
NPR (Radio Interview)
NPR's Eric Weiner reports on the emerging field of corporate anthropology, where researchers dissect consumer appetites and help engineers build user-friendly products. >> continue
Ingvild Solvang, social anthropologist, Jesuit Refugee Service Indonesia (JRS)
JRS Indonesia has experienced that traditional ways to solve issues of displacement can be very fruitful, not only in West Timor but also in other parts of Indonesia. Finding the appropriate traditional approach becomes a process in itself, which ties the refugees and local communities together. It creates an arena where people sit down to discuss values that are essential in their culture.
In the local community, the binding of local tradition is stronger than formal legal documents. That makes the Fetsawa Umamane ceremony, in this case, an important supplement to the legal process. The combination of a formal legal and traditional approach will hopefully lay a solid foundation for good durable solutions for old and new families in Sukabitetek. >> continue
To a cold Stockholm, at the invitation of Ulf Hannerz, Professor of Anthropology at Stockholm university. Together with Mils Hills from the Cabinet Office, I was presenting to the department a few thoughts (1 MB ) on life after a PhD. In the afternoon we ran a workshop for a undergraduates focusing on the skills they have after a few years reading and doing anthropology. >> continue
Ross Teague, Manager of Design Reseach and Senior Human Factors, Local Tech Wire
The use of anthropological principles in conducting product and customer research has become very popular of late, and for good reason. Anthropologists can be viewed as the first market researchers, and their discoveries can provide truly actionable learning.
Researchers have typically focused on the method of contextual research – that is, getting out into the customer environments to see how they really work and to interview them in their environments. A method that is often overlooked that can provide valuable insight is key informant interviewing. >> continue (updated link)
The Tufts Daily
Nina Kammerer, David Guss, and Mark Auslander (L-R) were three of the six professors from four different schools engaged in a roundtable discussion over the growing field of Public Anthropology. In her presentation, Wellesley professor Sally Engle Merry pushed for a return of the kind of public intellectual exemplified by Margaret Mead. "Anthropology has been doing much less of that," she said.
Due to their extensive research and connections to the community, anthropologists may be qualified to participate in community decisions. "There's somewhat of a shift between the researcher and the activist, which is interesting and sometimes uncomfortable," Merry said. >> continue
More info on this conference
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)
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