Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

The Future of Anthropological Knowledge

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

The Future of Anthropological Knowledge

Article excerpt

The Future of Anthropological Knowledge Henrietta L. Moore Routledge, London and New York, 1996

This publication is of value primarily as an illustration of the murky vision that bedevils so many conventional academic anthropologists today. Anyone who is conscious of the reality of a sociology of knowledge will already understand that outside the hard sciences the possibility that perception will be influenced or possibly even dominated by the investigators' own value systems is extremely high. This is particularly true in the social sciences, dealing as they do with man's most intimate perceptions of himself and his values. And it is most pronounced in anthropology. Western anthropologists undergo a rough and ready sort of selection process as undergraduates, and a much more precise selection process at the graduate level. Those who are selected to become faculty members, are prone in turn to pass on the prejudices they have acquired to a fresh generation of students. Once a specific slant has gained a majority influence it is primarily a matter of time until it becomes the only accepted ethical standard.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the Afterword which concludes this collection of papers openly advocates the need for anthropologists to become political activists, to take an "affirmative stance" in respect to "social equity and social equality," demanding the "rejection of inaction on equity and social equality issues. …

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