Anthropology in 1997
TOP FIVE IN FREQUENCY OF AUTHORSHIP IN JOURNALS
THE MAJOR THEMES IN JOURNALS by NUMBER OF ARTICLES
2 Economic Anthropology
3 Symbolic Anthropology
4 Gender/Feminist Anthropology
KEY THEMES IN ANTHROPOLOGY DURING 1997
As evidenced in articles from the anthropological journals (Ethnos, Anthropologica, Ethnology, American Ethnologist, Current Anthropology, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and American Anthropologist) of 1997, there is concern over the current state of anthropology both theoretically and methodologically. Theoretically-established paradigms of the past are revisited in new and discursive ways while a strict adherence to the structure of positivism (found for example in the neo-classical treatment of economy) is eschewed. Controversies and current trends (e.g. subjectivity theory and post-modern approaches on the representation of "truth") are discussed and critiqued in a forum which pushes the boundaries of the discipline, questioning assumptions about the embeddedness of the culture construct and positionality of the anthropologist.
Reflexivity and the crisis of authority are themes central to the current re-thinking of anthropological methodology and writing. Concern with these issues is apparent in the very style in which anthropologists tend to write, at times adopting the 1st and 3rd person perspectives within a single article. This self-consciousness in positionality emerges directly from the concern over assuming authority in representing the "voice" of "others." Attempts to de-center this authority in representation are found, for example, in the case of an anthropologist incorporating lengthy quotations from an informant in a collaborative approach to ethnography (1997 Gold American Anthropologist: vol. 99, no. 1). The recurrent themes of identity and borders illustrate anthropologists’ occupation with the incorporation of multi-positionality in their work. Those whom anthropologists study are no longer construed as distanced "others " living in a primordial vacuum, but are contemporaries with multiple identities actively engaging in myriad contexts. Reflexivity serves not only to convey a concern over assuming authority in the representation of "reality", but also to relate practical field experiences to fellow anthropologists, as in the case of an anthropologist who reveals a romantic relationship encountered in the field (1997 Willson Ethnos: vols. 3-4).
The incorporation of alternative methodological approaches and of perspectives from other disciplines is apparent in the anthropological journals of 1997. Narrative, film, and print-media analyses are employed along with the more traditionally-established methods of ethnographic fieldwork and participant-observation. Comparative studies seek to reveal cross-cultural perceptions or diachronic dimensions on a given topic. The disciplinary domains of anthropology are de-constructed and appear to be in a state of continual re-negotiation. Anthropologists not only advocate for a review of anthropological contributions on a given topic, but also urge their colleagues to borrow from other disciplines and to re-evaluate spaces of inquiry already addressed outside of the "traditional domain" of anthropology. Several of the journals adopt the principle of integrating various academic and professional perspectives in the discussion of a single issue (See for example, 1997 American Anthropologist: vol. 99, no. 3 on race). Such a dialectical approach to anthropology serves to not only challenge widely-held doctrines of the past but also to forecast particular directives for future research.
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