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Applied anthropology

- Using the tools, methods, concepts of anthropology to help solve contemporary problems in the world
- Sometimes called ‘engaged’ or ‘activist’ anthropology
- Often involves working in collaboration with other academics, but also community groups, policy experts, the media
- Dissemination of results often goes beyond the academy (newspaper, policy implications, business)


Why study anthropology?

- Brings us into contact with different ways of life
- Makes us aware of how arbitrary our understanding of the world is
- Makes us aware of how much our own tradition has contributed to the form of the modern world
- Makes us aware of how much our well-being is situated in wealth and resources generated elsewhere
- Such awareness may give rise to doubt
E.g. is ‘democracy’ the best political system? Example of the faamatai or chief system in Samoa. Each matai (chief) is head of extended kinship group


Doing business in Japan

- Anthropologist Richard Reeves-Ellington (1993) designed and implemented a cross-cultural training program for a North American company doing business in Japan
- Many of the traditional methods of anthropology helped managers conduct business in Japan
- Coming to understand Japanese cultural logic is of great importance to foreigners wishing to live and work in Japan.
E.g., the presentation of the meishi (business card) and how one US business owner offended a Japanese owner by not paying enough respect to the meishi exchange


Outcomes of understanding Japanese culture

- Promoted effective working relationships with Japanese executives
- Shortened project times
- Improved financial returns
- The North American company’s employees and their Japanese counterparts felt more comfortable working with each other


Examining HIV risk and marriage fidelity in New Guinea

- Anthropologist Holly Wardlow (2007) examines HIV risk in rural Papua New Guinea as it relates to marriage
- Married women at high risk of HIV because men often have extramarital affairs
- Women’s fidelity cannot protect them or lessen their risk
- ABCs premised on idealized Western construction of marriage that may not fit with Huli ideas of marriage


What shaped men's infidelity in New Guinea?

- Huli men often have to migrate for work, leaving wives/families at home
- Men bond with each other while traveling for work by seeking out prostitutes
- Men do not believe that fidelity is what leads to ‘happy marriage’
- Men do not believe that extramarital affairs are a transgression against their wives
- They do fear transgressing against other men – are careful not to sleep with women who are married


Examining HIV risk and marriage fidelity in New Guinea - OUTCOMES

- Her conclusions are that there are more structures that enable/normalize men’s extramarital affairs than - discourage it
- She argues for recognition of socioeconomic structures that make ‘choice’ of extramarital relations so likely (e.g. migration for work, stigma of condoms)
- One solution she suggests is that employers provide family housing


Increasing health services for migrant workers in Canada

- Janet McLaughlin’s work and how it has been used to argue for better access to health services for migrant workers
- She, working with many others, advocated for migrant workers, pushing governments to act
Found some success in 2 communities in Ontario
- Co-founded


Pragmatic solidarity

- Holmes calls for this with respect to migrant farmworkers
- Not only studying them and advancing critical arguments that draw attention to the structural forces, but also proposing practical solutions
- To join in practical ways with the “struggles of oppressed people”
- E.g. including pickers in English classes, improving pesticide safety, developing fairer means of hiring and advancement


Holmes' goals

- Denaturalize ethnic and citizenship inequalities in agricultural labour
- Understand how and why certain classes of people are written off, or seen to be deserving of suffering
- Make the plights of migrant farmworkers visible and heard


Holmes' goals: how to get there

- Critiquing language (farmworker = only Latin American migrant pickers; ‘illegal’ aliens; language vs. dialect)
- Asking what migrant labourers want themselves and listening to them (e.g. soccer field vs. gravel driveway)
- Educating physicians differently (cultural competency -vs. liberation medicine
- Sharing perspectives in academic and non-academic (social justice movements) circles