In the beginning of December 2014 the Italian city of Padua hosted the second international symposium ‘Why the world needs anthropologists’, which was attended by more than 200 visitors from Europe and beyond. At the event, annually organised by the Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) in collaboration with various institutions, the speakers and the audience tried to find out how to establish cooperation between academic and applied anthropology.
Report on the Second International Applied Anthropology Symposium in Padua, Italy
Meta Gorup and Dan Podjed
Report on the Third International Applied Anthropology Symposium in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Meta Gorup and Dan Podjed
Dan Podjed and Meta Gorup
Applied Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) started its activities in 2012 and has since then grown to 120 members. The newly established network has already tackled some of the crucial issues in Europe related to applied anthropology, and has so far identified at least three key challenges: (1) how to increase employability of applied anthropologists, (2) how to deconstruct stereotypes about their activities (within and without academic settings), (3) how to boost self-esteem of younger colleagues at the beginning of their applied career.
Historical Obstacles, Current Situation, Future Challenges
Dan Podjed, Meta Gorup, and Alenka Bezjak Mlakar
The article presents the state of applied anthropology in Europe, in particular focusing on the application of anthropological knowledge and skills within the private sector. Firstly, the text depicts the historical context, which has had a strong and often negative impact on the developments in contemporary applied anthropology and specifically on applying anthropology in for-profit endeavours. It then provides an overview of this type of applied anthropology in Europe by identifying its main institutions and individuals. Building on this analysis, the article elaborates on extant challenges for its future development, and outlines the most promising solutions. The authors conclude that it is of crucial importance for European anthropology to make the transition ‘from words to actions’, especially in the areas not traditionally addressed by anthropologists, such as business and design anthropology or consultancy work in the private sector. While the discipline has a longer applied history in areas such as development, human rights and multiculturalism, few anthropologists have played significant roles in the efforts usually associated with the private sector. It is argued that anthropology should – also outside the non-profit and non-governmental sectors – shift from being a descriptive, hermeneutical and interpretative branch of social sciences describing and explaining the past or commenting on the present, to an applied discipline intervening in shaping the future.