EP# 80 Reborn Dolls & The Use of Social Sciences: This Month on TFS 

This week we’re diving into the world of Reborn dolls and celebrating Social Sciences week! Familiar Stranger Carolyn kicks us off by giving us an introduction into the world of reborn dolls, or dolls that have been “reborn” to mimic human babies. The familiar strangers ask about the uncanny valley, the various uses for treatment and where the judgement of these reborn dolls comes from. What do you think? Are these dolls a bit too life-like? Or just another hobby? 

Familiar Stranger Alex then turns the discussion to the purpose of anthropology in honour of social sciences week. The Strangers discuss their personal experiences with reciprocity and what the “true” value of social sciences are. What do you think? Do we still need anthropology? Are we a social science? 

Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats. Let’s keep talking strange, together!

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This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

If you were curious about more reborn baby content:

A Guardian article on Reborn dolls 


The VICE documentary that Carolyn mentioned 

Read more about the uncanny valley here 


Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
Shownotes by Matthew Phung
Podcast edited by Matthew Phung
Feature image “reborns” by Indigo Skies Photography (2014)

2 thoughts on “EP# 80 Reborn Dolls & The Use of Social Sciences: This Month on TFS 

  1. I do believe there is a place for anthropology! I agree with the speakers on the utility of ethnography an de of qualitative work, and that our work can have meaning for both the community studied and for “policy” decisions and applications. We get to know and understand in ways different from those of other disciplines.

    Reciprocity-expectations would vary from one society to another. In my experiences with an independent Afro-Caribbean religious group, very very few members even considered that they might gain in me a convert. Their main “expectation” was that my writing would perhaps give the religion wider exposure and a modicum of the respect they had long hoped for in the face of a history of some ridicule.

    • Yeah! I’m glad you agree. But also glad to hear your thoughts on reciprocity. I think that’s another good point. Reciprocity is essential in our work, but we should be careful trying to guess what those we speak to would value.

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