Accepted paper:

Does anybody need it? Applied anthropology in contemporary Russia


Dmitri Funk (Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS)

Paper short abstract:

The paper presents an overview and analysis of contemporary practices (not)training of applied anthropologists at Russian universities and spheres where knowledge and skills of applied anthropologists are (not)used. The analysis is based primarily on the author's own practice of the last 35 years.

Paper long abstract:

The possibilities and spheres of work of anthropologists (ethnologists / ethnographers) in the applied field have changed significantly in Russia over the last 30-35 years. Practically the entire period after World War II and until the mid-1980s could be described as the time of memoranda after expeditions sent by many researchers to the departments of social development of the communist party and state structures in the hope of alleviating the complex conditions of existence of indigenous communities. Special training of applied anthropologists in universities was absent. For the modern period, special programs of university training, as well as a significant expansion of the scope of applied anthropologists, become characteristic. In some universities, specialized master programs ("ethnological expertise", "migration studies", "management in the sphere of interethnic and state-confessional relations", etc.) have appeared. A special phenomenon of Russian practice (however, of politics as well) is the so-called ethnological expertise, a distant similarity to the practices of SIA, the analysis of the methodological tools of which the paper pays special attention. Based on the analysis of university programs, the paper assesses the existing practices of training applied anthropologists and, on the basis of the materials of "ethnological expertise", shows the role of anthropologists in applied research/practice. The presented materials testify to the direct dependence of university programs and employment spheres of applied anthropologists on changes in state policy, which does not always positively affect both the quality of these programs and the expansion of the capabilities of applied anthropologists.

panel P002
The mobility of applied anthropologists: in and out of fields and between jobs [Applied Anthropology Network]