Thursday, February 16, 2006

Moderating Comments

Just a note-to comment on Consumption you'll need to register. If you would like to provide spirited commentary, complaints, compliments, or just fun banter, I'd like to know who you are. Its only fair. Such is the case when I post to other blogs. This is not done to stifle comments, but only to allow for fair discussion.

This blog doesn't tow the old anthropology line. Its a place for "tales for a *modern* anthropology", a forum for interesting topics that can provide food for thought and discussion, and also dissension [which is defined as "disagreement among those expected to cooperate"].

The current state of the anthropology discipline puts great weight on expectations of peer cooperation, forced agreement, and plenty of barn-burnings and discrediting of those who find much to disagree with and choose to speak up. Anthropology in 2006 is not the healthiest of humanities disciplines. Most are aware of universities questioning their anthro department's relevance, cuts in funding, merging of anthro depts, and loss of prestige in the larger scientific community. The public face of anthropology also suffers as we are greatly misunderstood by the public, who are the ones behind much of public university funding.

While the occasional TV show projects us as modern-day Quincys or sitcom Jane Curtains, the majority of anthropology PR is non existent. We are Indiana Jones or shovel-wielding "bone-diggers" to most.

Although physical anth and archaeology are blooming, cultural anthropology is faltering. Applied anthropology continues to grow outside the core university culture in areas some consider less than "pure"--obscured from everything but the most peripheral anthropological vision.

The current state of cultural anthropology is ironic. If ever there was a time humanity needed anthropology's depth, it's now. But I don't hear anthropology. I hear sociology, poli sci, military strategists, pundits, and talking heads. Don't understand? Just google "War on Terror".

"Consumption" exists in every culture, past and present, but it is only the last century's globalization/westernization pressures that has raised it to a culture-crushing artform. Such culture change ripples affect everyone. The affects of globalization, new media, technology, and advertising cannot be ignored. My studies of these topics made me question the discipline's relevance in, and contribution to, the modern world. The ipodded, myspaced, information-overloaded world. I found research inroads there anemic. Thus, this blog--fun, unusual new media topics, tech, globalization, ads, and criticism of the current state of cultural anthropology.

If you're allergic to anything new, questioning outdated systems, or open mindedness, and feel your education and/or experience insulates you with know-it-all smugness, why are you here? You should get busy with your own blog.

If you're curious, open minded, and think creatively, you might find something here of interest. I encourage your comments whether you're an anthropologist or just play one on TV. I don't pretend to have answers, but I believe this new media tool can foster intelligent discourse and creative thinking. So enough on this…lets explore!


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