Science, Advocacy and Anthropology

3 thoughts on “Science, Advocacy and Anthropology”

  1. It is quite clear that advocacy vs science dichotomies are overdrawn. Napoleon Chagnon has repeatedly argued that he doesn’t support ‘advocacy’ in anthropology, but scientific rigor. others, often outside the universities or secure with tenure, have taken the opposite view. This has proven controversial in Chagnon’s case (see recent New York Time bio articles and responses). But the reality, at least in the academic world I live in, is that many people working on justice or environmental issues are simultaneously scientifc researchers and advocates. Sometimes advocacy is politely labeled ‘engagement’, as at my Research 1 university. This is also argued in a forthcoming book on political ecology that I am finishing editing, with case studies- publish, teach, and work as an advocate. All are posssible. The question for a profession is whether they can get both research and advocacy recognized as valid parts of academic work in universities. This is hard. Especially in pre-tenure situations in North America (the rest of the world does not have tenure, so the need to demonstrate research publications and grants above all else is less vital to remaining in employment).

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