Applied Anthropology? Or, Yes, You Can Get a Job as An Anthropologist! (modified from McGraw-Hill 2004)
What is Applied Anthropology? • Applied Anthropology refers to the application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and methods to identify, assess, and solve social problems. • Applied anthropologists work for groups that promote, manage, and assess programs aimed at influencing human social conditions.
Types of Applied Anthropology • Applied anthropologist come from all four subfields • Biological anthropologists work in public health, nutrition, genetic counseling, substance abuse, epidemiology, aging, mental illness, and forensics. • Applied archaeologists locate, study, and preserve prehistoric and historic sites threatened by development (Cultural Resource Management).
More Applied Anthropology • Cultural anthropologists work with social workers, businesspeople, advertising professionals, factory workers, medical professionals, school personnel, and economic development experts. • Linguistic anthropologists frequently work with schools in districts with various languages.
What is the Role of the Applied Anthropologist? • Three views: • The Ivory Tower • The Schizoid • The Advocate
What is the Role of the Applied Anthropologist? • The “ivory tower” view contends that anthropologists should avoid practical matters and focus on research, publication, and teaching.
What is the Role of the Applied Anthropologist? • The “schizoid” view is that anthropologists should carry out, but not make or criticize, policy.
What is the Role of the Applied Anthropologist? • The “advocacy” view argues that since anthropologists are experts on human problems and social change, they should make policy affecting people.
Jobs for Applied Anthropologists • Professional anthropologists work for a wide variety of employers: tribal and ethnic associations, governments, nongovernmental organizations, etc. • During World War II, anthropologists worked for the U.S. government to study Japanese and German culture.
Responsibilities of the Anthropologist • The primary ethical obligation of the anthropologist is to the people, species, or materials he or she studies. • Researchers must respect the safety, dignity, and privacy of the people, species, or materials studied. • Researchers must obtain the informed consent of the people to be studied.
Responsibility to Scholarship and Science • Anthropologists should expect to encounter ethical dilemmas during their work. • Anthropologists are responsible for the integrity and reputation of their discipline, or scholarship, and of science. • Researchers should disseminate their findings to the scientific and scholarly community.
Responsibility to the Public • Researchers should make their results available to sponsors, students, decision makers, and other nonanthropologists. • Anthropologists may move beyond disseminating research results to a position of advocacy.
Academic and Applied Anthropology • Academic anthropology had its beginning in the early 20th century (Kroeber, Malinowski, Boas). • After World War II, the “baby boom” fueled the growth of the American educational system and anthropology, fostering the further growth of academic anthropology.
The Spread of Applied Anthropology • Applied anthropology began to grow in the 1970s as anthropologists found jobs with international organizations, governments, businesses, and schools. • The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 resulted in the new field of cultural resource management.
The Pragmatism of Cultural Anthropology • In the 1960s, anthropology’s focus fit with prevailing social interests, which began the turn to practical applications. • Anthropology’s ethnographic method, holism, and systemic perspective make it uniquely valuable in applications to social problems.
Applications of Cultural Anthropology • Applied cultural anthropology has excelled in four areas in particular: • Education • Urban social issues • Medicine • Business
Anthropology and Education • In particular, anthropology has help facilitate the accommodation of cultural differences in classroom settings. • Examples include English as a second language taught to Spanish-speaking students; different, culturally based reactions to various pedagogical techniques.
Urban Anthropology • Human populations are becoming increasingly urban. • Urban anthropology is a cross-cultural and ethnographic study of global urbanization and life in the cities.
Urban vs. Rural • Robert Redfield was an early student of the differences between the rural and urban contexts. • Various instances of urban social forms are given as examples (Kampala, Uganda) social networks in particular.
Medical Anthropology • Medical anthropology is both academic (theoretical) and applied (practical). • Medical anthropology is the study of disease and illness in their sociocultural context. • Disease is a scientifically defined ailment. • Illness is an ailment as experienced and perceived by the sufferer.
Disease and World Development • The spread of certain diseases, like malaria and schistosomiasis, have been associated with population growth and economic development.
The Three Theories of Illness • Personalistic disease theories blame illness on agents such as sorcerers, witches, ghosts, or ancestral spirits. • Naturalisitc disease theories explain illness in impersonal terms (e.g., Western medicine). • Emotionalistic disease theories assume emotional experiences cause illness (e.g., susto among Latino populations).
Health-Care Systems and Specialists • All societies have health-care systems. • Health-care systems consist of beliefs, customs, specialists, and techniques aimed at ensuring health and preventing, diagnosing, and treating illness. • Health cares specialists include curers, shamans, and doctors.
What Have We Learned from Non-Western Medicine? • Non-Western systems of medicine are often more successful at treating mental illness than Western medicine. • They often explain mental illness by causes that are easier to identify and combat. • Non-Western systems of medicine diagnose and treat the mentally ill in cohesive groups with full support of their kin.
The Down-side of Western Medicine • Despite its advances, Western medicine has problems. • Overprescription of drugs and tranquilizers. • Unnecessary surgery. • Impersonality and inequality of the patient-physician relationship. • Overuse of antibiotics.
Medical Development • Like economic development, medical development must fit into local systems of health care. • Medical anthropologists can serve as cultural interpreters between local systems and Western medicine.
Anthropology and Business • Anthropologists can provide unique perspectives on organizational conditions and problems within businesses. • Applied anthropologists have acted as “cultural brokers” in translating managers’ goals or workers’ concerns to the other group. • For business, key features of anthropology include ethnography, cross-cultural expertise, and focus on cultural diversity.
Careers in Anthropology • Because of its breadth, a degree in anthropology may provide a flexible basis for many different careers. • Other fields, such as business, have begun to recognize the worth of such anthropological concepts as microcultures. • Anthropologists work professionally as consultants to indigenous groups at risk from external systems.