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OftenBen  ·  2604 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Note I Attached to my Final Exam

I've never seen it presented that way. The third part that you quoted is a slippery bit of writing. It's written several different ways in different sources that I've read about Activist Anthropologist theory, and each different phrasing allows for other, more radical things to slip in. The fundamental problem that I have is with the second sentence in the article.

    First, there is no necessary contradiction between active political commitment to resolving a problem, and rigorous scholarly research on that problem.

If a person learns about a group of people who is in poverty, oppressed politically, or actively waging war against their oppressors, and that person wants to go help, they should do so. If they want to learn about the situation, so that they can convince others to help, they should do that too.

If an academic wants to go study a particular group of people, and while they are there, they are needed to help someone who is sick, or in danger, they should do so. If after their period of study, data collection, analysis and presentation they want to return and do pure activist work, and get their hands dirty, they should do so.

BUT, most of the A.A. reading I've done, is simply worse quality anthropological research. It has less data, more opinions of the researcher about their informants lives and political opinions. They claim to go to these areas to help, but if they genuinely wanted to help, why not do work that is meaningful? Why not go to Somalia, live in a peasant village, buy them desalination equipment, tend their gardens with them? Instead of staying there for a few weeks under the guise of helping, just to go back to the States and tell everyone how shitty they have it? Because that's what's happening. It's the academic equivalent of those 5 day mission trips white kids take to Haiti or somewhere in high school because it looks good on their transcript. It makes you look really sensitive, caring, suuuuuper progressive and charitable. And it's eternally defensible because if you don't like it then 'you just don't care about these people or issues!'