P08
Anthropology as opinion-maker: a dilemma of analysis versus application

Convenors:
Petr Skalník (University of Hradec Králové)
Chair:
Peter Skalník
Format:
Panels
Location:
Sackler B
Start time:
10 June, 2012 at 13:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Anthropologists believe they often know better but they do not know how to make it known. What is needed is to resolve the tension between scientific knowledge and its intelligibility for non-anthropological public. Anthropology must change or face oblivion.

Long abstract:

The anthropologists widely believe that their findings, both ethnographic and theoretical, are relevant far beyond the discipline. They have made major advances in the critique of the race and culture concepts and their recent theories about the changing role of kinship, gender, ethnicity and religion as they relate to politics are certainly relevant for the management of any society.These should be respected and used by wider societies, including the decision-makers. However governments tend to ignore our discoveries, yet they continue making decisions to go to war or impose doctrines which are detrimental to humanity and could have been averted if anthropological opinion were listened to. Conversely the anthropologists and their professional organisations rarely come forward forcefully enough to make their positions known. Engaged and/or engaging anthropology is considered by many anthropologists as desirable but it is hardly practiced. The papers will address the dilemma of scientific knowledge versus its application in policies and social practice. The panel is to find out what kind of anthropology will be able to face successfully the neo-liberal challenge.