The Future of Anthropology…

Inspired by: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janice-harper/rick-scott-anthropology_b_1010881.html

I have often fielded the question; “Why did you chose Anthropology?” When I try to answer this question, I find myself being long-winded and losing the attention of my audience (usually of one) very quickly. But the question still stands. The reason I chose anthropology as my field of study is because it fascinated me, excited my curiosity and I can never seem to get enough. In my mind, this more than makes up for the high cost, the low job prospects, and the poor reputation liberal arts seem to get in our society. If it is outside of the S.T.E.M. fields (Science {Meaning hard science like physics}, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. {I also think it could be spelled S.T.E.M.M. by adding Medicine to the end}, why would you study it? I cannot help but wonder if Aristotle would have been asked such a question if he lived in this day and age?

First, I think most fields, whether liberal arts or social sciences, have some merits and value to society as a whole. Anthropology particularly. As a (budding) intellectual myself, the very exercise of the reason has intrinsic value, in my opinion. Knowledge is important for its own sake. It is what allows our societies to make discoveries, innovations as well as social and cultural progress. Very few fields have done as much as anthropology in shaping our view of the human past, as well as shaping contemporary issues and policies.

I really think the bias against liberal arts is a socioeconomic phenomenon, a product of our capitalist society. If a field cannot be measured in economic value (significant number of jobs created, taxable income from said jobs and so forth), then it is seems to be looked down upon. This has important repercussions for the field of anthropology, because if it is perceived to have less value, then less investment is made into its future, and with less funding comes less jobs. Its cyclical. Such a devaluing of the social sciences seems to me to be cultural. How widespread such an idea is, I have no idea. But it can be said that such an idea is popular enough for Rick Scott to comment on it, and probably any of his followers.

So, as a final question, how will anthropology continue to stay relevant in the future? Anthropology has done so much and has been noticed so little… I wonder what can be done to change that?

One (negative) view on anthropology, just to strengthen my point.

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About Nicholas Haney

I am a writer, author, hunter, craftsman, and student of anthropology/archaeology. View all posts by Nicholas Haney

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