This article addresses the relations between archaeology and social anthropology, as exemplified by archaeological research in the Middle East. It is argued that further integration between both disciplines, as well as between archaeological theories, methods and data, is necessary. As an example of such an 'archaeology of relations', an analysis of domestication in the prehistoric Middle East is presented in summary.
Relating the Past and the Present
Reflections on 'Ontology'
This piece reflects on two 'ontological turns': the recent anthropological movement and that occasioned earlier in analytic philosophy by the work of W. V. O. Quine. I argue that the commitment entailed by 'ontology' is incompatible with the laudable aim of the 'ontological turn' in anthropology to take seriously radical difference and alterity.
Birth and Becoming of a New Field of Studies
Laurent Sebastian Fournier and Jean-Marie Privat
In this article we present the ongoing theoretical discussions concerning the relations between anthropology and literature in France. We recall the historical relationship of a part of French anthropology and the world of literature. We then try to show how the anthropology of literature began by using the model of the anthropology of art, mainly concentrating on literary works as individual creations specific to the style or the cosmology of a given writer. We explore a new perspective on the analysis of the social and symbolic meanings of literary worlds, putting the emphasis on what is called ‘ethnocriticism’ in France. In order to understand better the influence of literature and literary motives on contemporary cultural practices, and to grasp the relation of literary works with the outside world and with everyday life, we propose to build up a comparative approach of literary works and rituals. Through different novels or other literary works, we address possible developments of contemporary anthropologies of literature in France.
Grégory Dallemagne, Víctor del Arco, Ainhoa Montoya and Marta Pérez
This commentary seeks to engage the issue of 'impact' in social anthropology by scrutinising the topic of open access. Drawing on the discussions that took place at the international conference 'FAQs about Open Access: The Political Economy of Knowledge in Anthropology and Beyond', held in October 2014 in Madrid, we suggest that addressing the topic of open access allows a two-fold goal. On one hand, it elucidates that public debates about open access rely on a rather minimalist notion of openness that does not yield an adequate understanding of what is at stake in those debates. On the other, we argue that expanding the notion of openness does not only allow us to revisit the debate concerning what we do as academics, how we do it and what its value is, but also to do so going beyond current notions of 'impact' and 'public value' underpinned by the principle of economic efficiency in a context of increasingly reduced research funds.
Abigail Baim-Lance and Cecilia Vindrola-Padros
Academic funding bodies are increasingly measuring research impact using accountability and reward assessments. Scholars have argued that frameworks attempting to measure the use-value of knowledge production could end up influencing the selection of research topics, limiting research agendas, and privileging linear over complex research designs. Our article responds to these concerns by calling upon insights from anthropology to reconceptualise impact. We argue that, to conduct socially beneficial studies, impact needs to be turned from a product to an inclusive process of engagement. Anthropology's epistemologically and methodologically rich tradition of ethnography offers a particularly apposite set of tools to achieve this goal. We present three concrete examples of how we have used ethnography to impact on the work we carry out, particularly in shaping multidisciplinary team-based research approaches.
Its Importance and Implications for Policy and Practice in Pakistan
M. Sajjad Abro
A seminar on ‘Anthropology: Its Importance and Implications for Policy and Practice’ was collaboratively organised by the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, in the University of Sindh in Pakistan, and Anthropology in Action (Figure 1). The event was also supported by the civil society organisations Al-Mehran Rural Development Organization (AMRDO) and Dev-Con. The objective of the event was to create awareness among the public and the media regarding the importance and scope of anthropology and how anthropologists can better design social policies and interventions that have limited negative unintended consequences. The speakers were academic and practicing anthropologists who delivered lectures based on their personal extensive encounters with development in Pakistan.
Medical Design Anthropology, Improvisational Practices and Future Imaginings
Jonathan Ventura and Wendy Gunn
changes. As such, designers are continuously challenged to rephrase their role in relation to the sociocultural climate within which they work. We posit a notion of medical design anthropology as appealing to a deeper understanding of the sociocultural
Reflections from Cambridge
Heidi Mogstad and Lee-Shan Tse
subaltern, his words describe the situation in which we find ourselves remarkably well. As graduate students in anthropology at Cambridge University, we have, inspired by student movements in the Global South, made efforts to bring to light the need to
Materialism with and without Marxism
Penny McCall Howard
The importance of understanding material human relations with their environments was a foundation of Marxism and remains essential to Marxist analysis. Recently, various materialist approaches have become influential in anthropology and other
Historical Obstacles, Current Situation, Future Challenges
Dan Podjed, Meta Gorup and Alenka Bezjak Mlakar
anthropologists, who have up until now not extensively engaged in applied versions of their discipline. While anthropologists have been active in areas such as development and medical anthropology, and have addressed the issues of migration, human rights and