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Anthropology in Unusual Places

This is a lecture for ATH 175 Peoples of the World at Miami University
by Mark Peterson on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Anthropology in Unusual Places

What Can You DO
With Anthropology?

American Anthropological Association (AAA) recognizes two dimensions
Academic anthropology
includes cultural, archaeological, biological, and linguistic anthropology
Applied anthropology
application of anthropological data, perspectives, theory, and techniques to identify, assess, and solve contemporary social problems
50% of anthropologists with a Ph.D. have careers outside of academia
Anthropology of Education
Help facilitate the accommodation of cultural differences in classroom settings.
Examine the ways classroom practices actually work through ethnographic studies
Urban Anthropology
As human populations become increasingly urban, anthropology offers cross-cultural and ethnographic approaches to helping people adapt to life in the cities.
Anthropology in the Military
WWII
Vietnam
Afghanistan
Propaganda
Policy
Led Troops
Espionage
Human Terrain Teams
ETHICS
1. Do nothing that would harm consultants
2. Scientific Truth
3. Openness
4. Teaching and Mentoring

Anthropology in Business
How does the anthropologist ensure information she supplies is not used for violence?
Anthropology can often provide unique perspectives on organizational conditions and problems within businesses.
Anthropologists may be able to act as “cultural brokers” in translating managers’ goals or workers’ concerns to the other group.
For business, key features of anthropology include:
ethnography,
cross-cultural expertise,
focus on cultural diversity
holistic perspective.
Technology Development
Market Research
Consumer Goods
Media
Focus groups misled General Mills into believing that whole-grain breakfasts were a top priority for parents to serve their kids.
When anthropologists actually observed family breakfast practices they found that snacks on the run and “multicolored cereal” were preferred in reality.
The result?
Disney hired a team of anthropologists to help it rejuvenate its appeal to a stagnating audience: 6-14 year old boys.
Boys tend to be less open than girls in regular surveys, making ethnographic methods better for understanding their interests.
The result? Disney created a new television channel, Disney XD, tailored toward the interests of boys. Disney has also seen a 10% increase in male viewership.
Social Entrepreneurship
Marketing research is often proprietary
Market Research
Apparently, quite a lot.
In 2011 Wal-Mart employed one percent of the American working population. A study by UC Berkeley showed that Wal-Mart paid 12.4 percent less than the average retail industry. Because they employ so many people, they drove overall wages in the retail sector down. (Jacobs et. al. 2011)
POVERTY
DRUG USE
Areas of urban poverty in industrial/informatic societies include substance dependence. Ethnographies of people who use illegal drugs provided the basis for policies to reduce needle sharing, which spreads hepatitis and HIV (Baer et al 2003)
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/9148720@N05/4839742108/">wachovia_138</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
Mexican migrants to the U.S. are often extremely poor--too poor to avail themselves of even low-cost clinics. So for many ailments they turn to curanderos who use traditional remedies. Trotter (1988) found that when these remedies are not available in the host country, and might be replaced with substitutes. In one case, the U.S. substitute was heavily contaminated with lead.
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/8294334@N05/3533571639/">daveblume</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
MIGRATION
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45459869@N00/2684307003/">jotunbani</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
You can even get joint PhDs
in Anthropology and Education
See the full transcript