Liam Starkey
  • Manchester
  • United Kingdom
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Do anthropologists 'hoard' knowledge?
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I kind of feel as though anthropologists want to maintain a kind of 'guild' mentality. I have tried in numerous ways to engage with anthropologists from a range of institutions both through…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Liam Starkey Jan 13, 2015.


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School/Organization/Current anthropological attachment
Radio producer, graduate Manchester Anthropology

I'm a graduate of Manchester school of anthropology. I now work as a radio producer for independent production company 'Made in Manchester'. In 2013 I produced a documentary about the Northern Soul music scene in Tokyo and Kobe for BBC Radio 4. I work consistently on numerous documentaries and features, some of which have a link to anthropology and others which do not.

My undergraduate dissertation was a study of the links between anthropology and SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). It was inspired by a paper in Anthropology Today by Steven J Dick. I also got to the interview stage of a Geography PhD at Swansea with an autobiographical ethnography of the tenuous position of the 'creative class' drawing on the work of Richard Florida, amongst others. I was quite surprised about this because I didn't have a masters.  I've given up applying for funded PhD's for the time being because i've realised its hard to get selected without further bone fide academic credentials.

I am a language learner (Spanish, Korean, Japanese) and eclectic reader. I am influenced by (but not neccesarily uncritical of) Taoism, Sufism, Anarchism, Jungian psychology, the writings of US anti civilisational writer Daniel Quinn, Graeberian anthropology, the writings of Ursula Le Guin, Benjamin Hoff, William Blake, Arnold Mindell and anthropology in general (there are probably many other influences too). Recently I have been reading a lot of material and watching films about the DPRK.

I am also a mental health/perceptual diversity activist linked to the UK Soteria Network. Soteria seeks to create non-medical dominated therapeutic settings where people with first instance psychosis can seek treatment without excessive use of neuroleptics, other psychiatric drugs and other coercive practices. I post on the Icarus Project message board under the handle 'Yellowrose' (The yellow rose is a symbol in the Mahmoud Darwish poem 'Assassination').

I am a massive letter writer and essay writer (most of which never see the light of day).

The most influential book in my life is not an anthropological text or a tome by a French theorist, It is Ursula Le Guin's rendition of the Tao Te Ching (influenced by her anthropologist father Alfred L Kroeber). It's hard to express the subjective feeling I get when reading this book but it gives me an enormous spiritiual sense, Le Guin talks about the 'inexhaustible fullness of being'. I sometimes feel that academia is too Eyeoreish and too mired in critqies of various sorts. I think in some ways this is understandable given the state of the world but I still feel this way. I also agree with Chomsky on his criticisms of western intellectuals (sorry can't find citation right now). I feel many academics tend to hoard knowledge. As Hoff says academics are too often like 'frogs in the well', unable to see the whole picture.

I'm a massive lover of anthropology and the way it exposes the 'curve in the universe'. I try to chip away at various conversations and debates by introducing elements of anthropological type thinking.

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