Reading this review of a new book about the "anti-utopian reformer with keen eye for detail" Albert Hirschman, I found myself thinking of OAC founder Keith Hart. I wonder what Hart will think of being seen as resembling Hirschman, in a complimentary way.
Help is at hand. Check out Gene Bellinger's Insight Maker. It's Web-based, it's free, you can play with it by yourself or with friends or colleagues.Think of it as a mind map where the pieces interact.If you are a programming Ninja, you may find the models too simple. But it's plenty sophisticated enough to provide instructive entertainment for the rest of us.
Added by John McCreery on April 10, 2013 at 8:44am — No Comments
With a tip of the hat to Ryan Anderson, who posted the following on Savage Minds.
Check out this interview with Sarah Kendzior about life after the PhD. A lot to think about. And a lot that many people do not want to talk about. Here’s my favorite quote: What I realized during my year on the job market is that having a traditional academic career is not as important to…
Added by John McCreery on April 9, 2013 at 7:42am — No Comments
A tweet from Biella Coleman, led me to Limor Shifman, Memes in a Digital World: Reconciling with a Conceptual Troublemaker. I must say that I like the way Shifman thinks, asking how we could sort this [memes] out in a useful way. Instead, that is, haggling over definitions and why memes aren't genes (no, duh).
Just stumbled across these thoughts from Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, on Boing-Boing.
There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this:
1. Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure.
2. You pull instead of push. That means you pull the resources from the…Continue
Reviewing my recent contributions to Savage Minds and OAC, I see myself writing about anthropology in an increasingly severe and critical tone. As I reflect on where that tone is coming from a phrase pops into my head: disciplinary involution. The words are a twist on Clifford Geertz's "Agricultural Involution," the title of a book in which he describes the economic plight of Javanese peasants who, as part of a growing population, cultivate smaller and smaller fields with increasing…Continue
Let's face it. For all of the intense moralizing and half-baked political commentary that now passes for anthropological "theory," when it comes to political action anthropologists suck.
Why aren't we outraged? Why aren't we....? We see these questions online every bloody day. Have they made any difference? The evidence is thin, likely non-existent, and that's not surprising.
Outrage is an industry. There is so much of it online that another ranting voice is unlikely to be…Continue
I have just begun a new translation/writing project that may be of particular interest to people with an interest in Japan or Japanese advertising. It involves translating a little red book by one of Japan's most distinguished copywriters. Should you be interested, you can find the project here.
An important thought, attributed to one of my favorite philosophers, Stanley Cavell.
Language, to Cavell, is ambiguous not because it is imperfect, awaiting precise definition, but because we do not all see in the same way; it is a reflection of our basic predicament as distinct human beings. Thus, we must dare to mean what we say, take responsibility for all the meanings our words might be taken to have—even if those meanings go beyond what we understand as our…
Could it be that close kin ties produced by endogamy inhibit democracy? Some evidence points in that direction. From a network analysis perspective, I would add the suggestion that the association of democracy with individualism points to the importance of weak [out-group], as opposed to strong [in-group] ties. I note, too, that I once heard it asserted that parallel cousin marriage is common in Southwest Asia, a.k.a., the Middle East. Could kin ties be a factor in the difficulty of creating…Continue
In many of our discussions we see the meme that describes anthropology as a tool of first imperialism and then globalization. We now have an opportunity to reflect on the experience of those who entered the field and participated in U.S. government-funded research and outreach programs in the 1950s and 60s. Forwarded from EASIANTH:
ROBERT BAYARD TEXTOR (1923-2013): IN MEMORIAM
Robert Textor, one of the first anthropologists to carry out…Continue
Added by John McCreery on January 21, 2013 at 3:30am — No Comments
From the online Journal of Social Structure
ABSTRACT: Advances in text analysis, particularly the ability to extract network based information from texts, is enabling researches to conduct detailed socio-cultural ethnographies rapidly by retrieving characteristic descriptions from texts and fusing the results from varied sources. We describe this process and illustrate it…Continue
Added by John McCreery on January 12, 2013 at 6:58am — No Comments
The Greenwall Report (click here for PDF) is titled Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy. It addresses ethical and policy issues arising from military-supported research and development programs designed to enhance the physical and cognitive performance of soldiers using mechanical, chemical or biological means. Much of the discussion is devoted to the concept of "enhancement" and how it differs…Continue
The Economist's obituary for Alfred Hirschman attributes to Hirschman the idea that systems from which the disgruntled can exit can achieve a perverse stability, in which those capable of revolution leave the scene and leave those less capable at the mercy of the incompetent and corrupt. I find myself thinking about those of us with the…Continue
Added by John McCreery on December 24, 2012 at 6:59am — No Comments
My browsing brought me today to this article in the Guardian about Colombian thinker Arturo Escobar. Has anyone hear heard of him? Or referred to his work? I'd particularly like to hear Keith Hart and David Graeber's take on him.
While browsing the Web, I came across a paper titled Real Environments—Video Ethnography for True Understanding by Kunal Sinha and Prashant Ramachandran. The authors, both Indian, work for Ogilvy and Mather in China and Singapore. An interesting mixture of ethnographic detail, video analysis, and cultural stereotypes (India v China). If you are interested in the uses of video and…Continue
This question is directed at the younger members of OAC. It is stimulated by stumbling across a piece that Grant McCracken wrote for Harvard Business Review and announced back in October. The title is
CULTURE IS THE SEA IN WHICH BUSINESS SWIMS. MILLENNIALS GET THIS. BOOMERS NOT SO MUCH.
The first three paragraphs…Continue
The interpreters (the pundits) were all over the place. The nerds (statisticians like Nate Silver and Sam Wang) came through with amazingly accurate predictions. Nate Silver's new The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don't should be on everyone's reading list.
What is this madman McCreery up to, interrupting a conversation about ideas about democracy with, on the one hand, the suggestion that political and economic ideas may be essentially irrelevant in a world where the haves increase and hold on to what they have while the have-nots get increasingly screwed until things get so bad that they fall apart and, on the other hand, in the same conversation, posting notes on a condominium association special committee meeting in…Continue
On OAC Facebook, Keith Hart points us to Diego Basch's blog "Social Networks Implode Quickly" and asks if its conclusions apply to OAC? Here I will briefly summarize the argument and offer a few thoughts along the way.