Chapter 4 – Applying Anthropology:
is one of two dimensions of anthropology, the other being theoretical/academic
anthropology is the use of anthropological data, perspectives,
theory, and methods to identify, asses, and solve contemporary problems involving
human behavior or social and cultural forces, conditions, and contexts.
is applied as well in cultural resource management and historic preservation
work in public health, nutrition, genetic counseling, substance
abuse, epidemiology, aging, and mental illness.
work with police, medical examiners, the courts, and
international organizations to identify victims of crimes, accidents, wars, and terrorism.
study physician-patient interactions and show how dialect
differences influence classroom learning.
THE ROLE OF THE APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGIST:
Malinowski (1929) proposed that “practical anthropology” should focus on Westernization, the diffusion
of European culture into tribal societies.
He saw nothing wrong with aiding colonial regimes by studying land tenure and land use,
to recommend how much of their land local people should be allowed to keep and how
much Europeans should use.
After WWII, academic anthropology did most of the growing
During the 1950’s and 1960’s, most American anthropologists were college professors,
although some still worked in agencies and museums.
Modern applied anthropology usually is seen as a helping profession, devoted to assisting
local people, as anthropologists speak up for the disenfranchised in the international