Public anthropology, social engagement and activism
Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)Modul:
Course code: 64
Year of study: Not specified
Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminars 30 hours
Course type: general elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, seminars
Objectives and competences
How can anthropological knowledge be used for solving social problems or fostering transformative social actions? What are the implications of an idea about public anthropological engagement? How to think and practice public anthropology in 21st century? The growing interest in advocacy, consultancy and the use of anthropological knowledge in the public, political and commercial sector reveals and confirms significant shifts in the discipline’s most fundamental concepts. The course provides students with a sustained opportunity for critical reflection on the cultural, economic and political implications of contemporary anthropology. Students get acquainted with the dominant approaches of the so-called “applied” anthropology and related concepts – e.g. “public,” “engaged,” “critical,” “participatory action,” “collaborative” – emphasizing renegotiated relationships between academically trained experts and the social partners in the research. The course deals with the latest developments in these fields not just in Western anthropology, but also in Latin American and African theories and practices. Moreover, it provides critical perspective on activist-alike scholarly position and “ethical” anthropology today.
Students will: 1) examine the scholar’s role in advocacy and social justice; 2) learn about collaborative anthropology through theory and practice; 3) explore the connection between anthropology and social movements. This is a highly participatory course. It requires from the students not just active participation at the lectures, by engaging in discussion about the assigned literature, but also development and realization of collaborative research project individually or in collaboration with other students.
Content (Syllabus outline)
- The history of epistemology of applied/public anthropology in the world-wide contexts:
- Pure vs. applied scholarship;
- Public anthropology vs. anthropology of public interest.
- The (engaged) anthropologist, what is that?
- Concept of ethical anthropology;
- (Self) reflexive approach.
- Colonial, postcolonial and decolonial approach in anthropology.
- Collaborative ethnography method and anthropological praxis:
- “Participatory Action Research” by Paulo Freira (PAR);
- Methods of “emancipatory ethnography”.
- Anthropology of conflict, violence and human rights.
- Anthropology of social movements.
- Public anthropology, professionalization and institutionalization:
- engaged anthropology in the global academic market;
- neoliberalization of academic subject.
- Bennett, John W. 1996. Applied and Action Anthropology: Ideological and Conceptual Aspects. Current Anthropology 37: 23–53.
- Field Les W. and Richard Fox G. (eds.). 2007. Anthropology Put to Work. Oxford, NY: Berg.
- Hemment, J. 2007. Public Anthropology and the Paradoxes of Participation: Participatory Action Research and Critical Ethnography in Provincial Russia. Applied Anthropology, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3800/is_200710/ai_n21137686
- Ingold, Tim. 2014. That’s Enough about Ethnography! HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4(1): 383–395.
- Lassiter, Luke E. 2005. The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Lyon-Callo, Vincent and Susan Brin Hyatt. 2003. The Neoliberal State and The Depoliticization of Poverty: Activist Anthropology and ‘Ethnography from Below’. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 32(2): 175-204.
- Lousie Lamphere. 2004. The Convergence of Applied, Practicing, and Public Anthropology in the 21st Century. Human Organization 63(4): 431–443.
- Low Setha M. and Sally Engle Merry. 2010. Engaged Anthropology: Diversity and Dilemmas; An Introduction to Supplement 2. Current Anthropology 51(2): 203–226.
- Marcus, George E. and Michael M. J. Fischer. 1986. Anthropology as Cultural Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Moya, Marian. 2015. Dossier antropología aplicada. Etnografías contemporáneas 1 (1).
- Pink, Sarah (ed.). 2006. Application in Anthropology: Professional Anthropology in the Twenty-first Century. New York: Berghahn Books.
- Sanford, Victoria and Angel-Ajani, Asale. 2006. Engaged Observer: Anthropology, Advocacy, and Activism. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
- Smith, Gavin. 1999. Confronting the Present: Towards a Politically En-gaged Anthropology. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Stewart, Pamela and Andrew Strathern (eds.). 2005. Anthropology and Consultancy: Issues and Debates. New York: Berghahn Books.
Active participation at seminars and a short written paper (8–12 pages) in which the student analyses a particular problem supported by relevant literature. The student must pass a written exam covering the entire course. Development and realization of collaborative research project individually or in collaboration with other students.