One of the most popular jokes among anthropologists is how often our work is mistaken for palaeontology. Almost every one of my colleagues and even a few of my students can relate an anecdote involving a situation where they were asked if they “dug up dinosaurs.” Imagine the difficulty I now face in my own work where the answer is effectively, “Yes, but not for the reasons you’re thinking.”
Using Mary Douglas's notion of matter out of place, I posit that when the government changed the law and increased their negative rhetoric about foreign workers, people like me got switched to a new category in the collective consciousness: from ‘just another member of the employment landscape’, to ‘imminent threat to the locals' jobs’.
Comparing my own experiences of death to those of the Tiwi culture that I learned of in my anthropology studies, the void that I felt in the months since the passing of my father has manifested as feelings of disbelief, isolation and under-preparedness -- prompting me to write this blog.
Are you keen to understand more about what anthropologists do and why they do it? This post compiles the reasons of anthros from around the world in honour of #AnthroDay 2018.
As the dust settles on Iran’s recent bout of protests, the surge of commentary, punditry, and analysis is likely to continue, no longer working to explain these apparently ‘spontaneous’ protests, so much as to understand why they have petered out. Much of the commentary on what has been labelled the ‘greatest challenge to the Islamic … Continue reading The Price of Eggs: Iran beyond liberalism and capitalism
Feeling 'well' can mean many different things. Generally, though, intentions still count, and even more powerful are the social connections we feel along the way. “That will be next year’s project”, say many of us. “By then, I’ll be ready for it”, we might add. These kinds of statements also featured in several conversations with my … Continue reading This New Year, Think About Your Social Health Too
For this week’s blog, we decided to each write some thoughts on Christmas, from varied anthropological perspectives. We come at this from the position of people who were born and raised in societies that celebrated Christmas in both secular and religious incarnations. In our desire to write to a more ‘public’ anthropology, we present our … Continue reading A Christmas Anth(rop)ology
Can you engage in the present moment and let go of your other concerns while not engaged in a) an activity that demands all your attention, or b) under the influence of any drugs, or c) taking a sick day? Reading this might be a start, but hardly enough to free yourself from the pull … Continue reading Are You Living in Haste?
For those of us who have grown up in the ‘West’, we tend to think of religion as a customizable category. Some of us are born into a particular sect, others with no particular orientation, and as we travel through life, we’re presented with a panoply of options from which to choose. Many of us … Continue reading Like a Skin
Did you know that your mind is a cesspit of anger, and fear, and unresolved moments from your childhood? It’s not just you. Apparently everyone is living in a minefield of emotional triggers and traps. And underlying all of your behavior is a completely individualized personality structure, built up from stray comments and the subtle … Continue reading It’s Not Just Your Parents’ Fault