Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Social Anthropology — Another Meaningless Academic Navel-Gazing Exercise

This is Rika Shiguma (志熊 理科) from Haganai (はがない) 
I want to make sure I'm handing out the credit properly here.  First off, I read this over at Cochran and Harpending's Westhunt blog:

Posted on February 21, 2014 by harpend

The best part of running a blog is the quality of many of the people who show up. A recent customer, “A.J. West”, has a blog of his own here that our readers will surely enjoy.

Periodically on this blog Greg vents about anthropologists. When I name the people in our own department to him he allows that they are all excellent but he insists that most of anthropology is a disgraceful wasteland. He may be right: I pay little or no attention to anthropology any more.

Now on the West blog we have sad but funny confirmation of Greg’s point of view but without the outrage. West went to Oxford to study social anthropology, with interests that many of us share, only to discover that his interests were regarded with disdain and outside the stream of social anthropology. His story is that of a virgin finding himself in a bawdy house, or something like that. That particular post is here and is a good read, along with a later post on obscurantism .

Then I went to that blog, of course, and read the very long, very interesting post on social anthropology that says in part:

I want to emphasise that I am not in any way a political conservative and I don't oppose the social and political aims that have become entrenched parts of anthropology departments. But I don't think those aims are what anthropology is about, I don't think obscurantist pseudo-philosophy is a good way to achieve them, and I don't think writing obscure academic texts about how humans are now trans-human feminist cyborgs empowers minority groups or the working class, or achieves any worthwhile aim in any sphere of human activity.

Of course "social" anthropology isn't a science at all, or even an object of study, but just one of the latest attempts to indoctrinate people in Marxism by means of the dry husk of a dead academic discipline. Not that anthropology should be dead, but it is. It's very revealing that the blogger insists that he's not on the right politically, because he's sure to be accused of it for failing to enthusiastically endorse the aims of "social" anthropology. HERE'S a bit on what anthropology is turning into. I'm assuming he thinks of himself as a liberal or a moderate, and if he hasn't already, he's soon to learn that there's no room on the left for dissent.... I just read through the comments on Westhunt, and West is commenting there! (West and Westhunt are two different entities, remember) And it's worth your while to read them HERE.

Anyhow, I intend to read his blog regularly, because there's lots of interesting stuff there. Some of you will no doubt feel the same way, so I've added  "West's Meditations" to the blogroll.

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