Antropolog badaczem czy działaczem?

Janusz Barański


Anthropologist as a researcher or activist?
There are a number of sub-disciplines of humanities and social sciences which represent a kind of „non-scientific”, engaged attitude to human being and culture, to name only a few: applied anthropology, action anthropology, public anthropology, cultural critique, cultural policy, cultural animation, socio-cultural animation. For the purpose of this presentation the relation between applied anthropology and action anthropology is of crucial importance. The previous one is rooted in the colonial ideology of using an expert knowledge in supporting colonial policies, although these days it is also used by business, the media, governments or other institutions. The purpose of the latter is ideologically and emotionally oriented as a tool of helping endangered native or ethnic cultures, supporting various kinds of minorities or implementing important educational policies. One might suggest that these two approaches represent respective attitudes: objectivity and solidarity, according to Kirsten Hastrup. However, it seems impossible to separate them, therefore one should agree with an epistemological conclusion that every anthropological thesis consists of a portion of an emotional, critical attitude which seems unavoidable. The crucial thing is to take this truth into account in order to avoid as much as possible misunderstandings and misuses of gained knowledge and to agree that every anthropology is in this or other way „engaged”.

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