Is Anthropology "removed from reality"?

In a recent article in the Monthly Review Paul A. Baran writes that social theorists and social empiricists criticize each other constantly. The theorists say that the empiricists don't do enough interpretation while the empiricists say that the theorists don't do enough real research. Baran says that the difference between the two is entirely fictitious and that in fact both are far removed from reality. The apparent contradictions between the two kinds of social scientists only cloud the issue. What should be discussed is the dialectical unity of the subject and object. According to Morf, who Baran is reviewing, only the work of Karl Marx is satisfactory in approaching the process of historical change. Feuerbach states that anthropology must be used to emancipate humans and to discover the conditions of such emancipation. Is anthropology being used for social change or is it simply an ivory tower concept? Franz Boas certainly affected a change in the discourse of anthropology, but was his influence limited to the academic world, or did he help further the cause of civil rights? Boas happened to be an activist as well as an anthropologist. I think this is essential. It's not enough to just study humans. We must emancipate them!

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Comment by Mitchell Jones on May 10, 2010 at 3:31pm
I still am not convinced about cultural truth. I think there are always dissenting opinions in a culture, but that doesn't make those individuals any less a part of their culture.
Comment by Mitchell Jones on May 9, 2010 at 9:49pm
There is no cultural truth either since every individual interfaces with their culture in a different way.


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