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Anthropology and the International Baccalaureate

History, Practice and Future Challenges

Marzia Balzani

The article contextualizes the educational, political and social context in which the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme was established and describes the place of social anthropology within the general aims of the diploma programme as a whole. The article then discusses the current diploma curriculum for social and cultural anthropology and the issues arising from this for the teaching and learning of anthropology in a global context, including teacher support and comparisons with other national pre-university educational qualifications. Some of the perceptions of the IB diploma among teachers, students and parents are also briefly discussed.

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Who owns Siberian ethnography?

A critical assessment of a re-internationalized field

Patty Gray, Nikolai Vakhtin and Peter Schweitzer

Although Siberian ethnography was an open and international field at the turn of the twentieth century, from about 1930 until the late 1980s Siberia was for the most part closed to foreigners and therefore to Western ethnographers. This allowed Soviet ethnographers to establish a virtual monopoly on Siberian field sites. Soviet and Western anthropology developed during that period in relative isolation from one another, allowing methodologies and theoretical approaches to diverge. During glasnost' and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Siberian field was reopened and field studies were conducted by several Western ethnographers. The resulting encounter between Western and former Soviet ethnographers in the 1980s and 1990s produced a degree of cultural shock as well as new challenges and opportunities on both sides. This is an experiential account of the mood of these newly reunited colleagues at the turn of the twenty-first century.

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Andreea Lazea and Felix Girke

Social and Cultural Anthropology. The Key Concepts. By Nigel Rapport and Joanna Overing, London, New York: Routledge (Key Guides), 2007, ISBN-10: 0415181569, ISBN-13: 978-0415181563.

Creativity and Cultural Improvisation. By Elizabeth Hallam and Tim Ingold (eds.). Oxford, New York: Berg (ASA Monographs 44), 2007, ISBN 978-184520-527-0.

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Afterword

Ethnography between the Virtue of Patience and the Anxiety of Belatedness Once Coevalness Is Embraced

George Marcus

In view of this issue's focus on time and temporalities, I want to discuss a distinctive problem concerning the ethnographic representation of fieldwork experiences. Faced with increased time pressure to complete degree work and the present trend that emphasizes efficiency in graduate training, scholars are finding traditional ideals of temporality in research to be challenged as a professional standard of ethnography at the outset of their careers. To me, this compelling development in the current evolution of social and cultural anthropology needs detailed discussion in reassessing the norms of the long-established ethos of anthropological research.

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Claudette Kennedy, W. S. F. Pickering and Nick Allen

The late Mrs Claudette Kennedy was a niece of Mauss and a great niece of Durkheim. On 1 September 1992, Bill Pickering (WP) and Nick Allen (NA) – of the then recently formed British Centre for Durkheimian Studies at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University – met Claudette Kennedy (CK) in her house in Oxford and recorded a conversation with her. She had certain firm memories of Emile Durkheim, her great uncle, but more of Marcel Mauss. In all probability, she was the only person then alive with such memories, especially those of Durkheim. Pierre Mauss might have had recollections of Marcel Mauss but his memory was said to be failing.

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Dieter Haller

This essay explores what Ethnologie (social and cultural anthropology) can contribute to the study of corruption. It firstly lays bare basic approaches of the study of corruption by conventional political and social sciences and influential political agents such as Transparency International. In these approaches, corruption is shaped by a variety of assumptions: that corruption takes place between the public and a private sphere, that it is an indicator of instability and that it is morally reprehensibly and therefore a clandestine activity. The essay expands on these assumptions from the anthropological point of view, thereby detecting blind spots in the conventional approaches. Finally, by discussing four examples, the essay seeks to show how Ethnologie can enrich other approaches to social scientific corruption research with a genuine contribution.

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Kevin A. Yelvington

Academic social and cultural anthropology concerned with tourism has provided thick descriptions of the tourist exchange in a number of contexts, with exegeses devoted to illustrate the sexualized Other, the appropriation of landscape, the uses of the past in the present, and the detrimental effects of tourism structures on the ‘host’ communities. It has shown us how pilgrimages, beaches and museums become iconic and fetishized in the tourist’s gaze, how the landscape is appropriated and a geographical space is turned into a cultural place. Yet, for applied anthropologists concerned with the impacts of the world’s largest industry on local ‘toured’ populations and how the (unequal) tourism exchange is (unequally) constituted through material and symbolic historical processes, do the theories generated in the academic tradition provide a use-value? Do those anthropologists engaged in community-centred methods such as participatory action research, and working in theoretical traditions through praxis, approach their subject in the same ways as their nonapplied anthropological counterparts? Indeed, what can applied anthropologists, as such, and the consideration of applied projects, contribute to theory in anthropological research on tourism more generally?

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George E. Marcus

For me, since the 1980s, the distinctive event in the recent history of social and cultural anthropology in the United States has been a profound cutting of the discipline (or rather of this influential component of the four-field disciplinary organisation of general anthropology) from moorings that defined it through much of the twentieth century. Certainly the discipline is still wedded functionally to certain aspects of the institutional model which has shaped the identity of social and cultural anthropologists, as pioneered through the works of such figures as Bronislaw Malinowski in England and Franz Boas in the United States. Most anthropologists still begin their careers with a geographical area specialisation outside the U.S. However, few receive the intensive areas studies education that was available and encouraged in the U.S. during the 1950s through to the 1970s when, in the atmosphere of the Cold War and development studies, there was a huge investment in such interdisciplinary programmes that has since waned.

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Ellen Bal, Erella Grassiani and Kate Kirk

This article is based on our own experiences and that of several of our colleagues teaching social and cultural anthropology in different Dutch institutions for higher learning. We focus in particular on teaching and learning in two small liberal arts and science (LAS) colleges, where anthropology makes up part of the social science curriculum and/or is part of the core curriculum. The data collected from our own critical reflections developed during informal discussion and from formal interviews with colleagues, together with literature on recent changes in academia, leads us to argue that neoliberal individualism, shaped by management tactics that constantly measure individual performance and output, is making academia an increasingly insecure place in which to work and study. The consequences of this insecurity include increasing mental health problems among both students and staff, intensifying competition at the expense of collegiality and collaboration and an overall decrease in the quality of academic jobs and teaching. Although the discipline of anthropology can help us better understand our own conditions, the personalisation of problems and the focus on success obscure the anthropological lens, which looks at social and cultural structures of power and depends on critical reflexivity.