20 November 2017

Studying People We Don't (Necessarily) Like - Bangstad

Sindre Bangstad wrote (2017) Doing Fieldwork among People We Don’t (Necessarily) Like for Anthropology News' Anthropological Publics, Public Anthropology section. Bengstad writes,

Marcus Banks and Andre Gingrich have suggested that we as anthropologists tend to investigate topics and work with individuals and groups whom we are able to sympathize with. And relatively few anthropologists (though there certainly are some exceptions; if we are honest about anthropology’s checkered past, we should also realize that we have what Didier Fassin has aptly described as a “dual legacy” to contend with here) tend to sympathize with populist right-wingers. In line with this, Joel Robbins has argued that anthropologists since the 1980s have replaced the proverbial “savage slot” with the “suffering slot.”

Anthropologists, in other words, have tended to study those people who in some way or other can be said to “suffer.” When we speak of “suffering,” images of white male populist right-wing sympathizers are perhaps not the first images that cross our anthropological minds though some of them both feel and are marginalized and suffering.

Bangstad ends using Nitzan Shoshan's work which points to anthropologists historical interests in the seemingly abnormal and occult (in addition to the marginal).

Check out his post by following the link the in Quick Links to read more.

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