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.