Make Anthropology Matter!

Or: “Academia vs the public”? – Part 3 of 3


After reading John Hawk’s article “What’s wrong with anthropology“, that tackles the question of why anthropology as a discipline lost its relevance, I started thinking about my own role as a researcher. In this essay I am going to summarize some of Hawk’s theses, as well as adding my personal experience and thought to the discussion.

In previous parts of this blog series, I spoke about the barrier between the public and the “ivory tower” of academia. Hundreds, even thousands of publications are released annually. However, it hardly reaches public discourse. Are people too lazy to read scientific publications? Are they to blame for not taking a step outside their ideological bubble? Maybe, to some degree. Intellectual laziness exists. But today, instead of pointing fingers, I want to talk about the responsibility of us researchers.

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Thomas Eriksen: Politics and Power

Chapter 11, titled “Politics and power” of Thomas Eriksen’s book Small Places, Large Issues: An introduction to social and cultural anthropology deals with the question of what political power is and how it is implemented in different regions and contexts,  especially in decentralized hierarchies, outside the usual institutions such as states and parliaments for which he cites and compares different case studies.

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