Action Group 4 OAC

The purpose of this group is to have a peg in the OAC for people to share what they can do, or would suggest can be done to carry on the usefulness of having 5000 anthropologists linked (however protractedly).


Essentially Occupy it in the sense of bringing more life and meaning to a space.

Location: Canterbury & Online
Members: 43
Latest Activity: Jun 13, 2013






IMO - architects & techies

TIPI - relations to Occupy movement

AGARIC - offline activities

RHIZOME - members outreach

DIDGE - coherent media

Also see this discussion here: WHAT IS THE OAC FOR?

(you may need to repost your comments from the main thread)

Please still feel free to comment on the main wall.


This group has been instigated due to the reading of this by Keith Hart -

This group has two premises that should be answered (in an on-going fashion).

a) that bringing together 5000 Anthropologists is useful

b) that 5000 Anthropologists can both maintain themselves as a community for the purposes of sharing/learning and conversing on great anthropological stuff 

Proposal: We would also like it to grow to be more able at making this learning more of a total social fact outside of an academic or online discourse.

Elaine summary AG4OAC 1 Dec.odt

Discussion Forum

Isolated Anthropologists 8 Replies

Am I alone? I am indeed alone, as the single anthropologist in a University that specializes in management and technology.  This leads of course to a sort of academic isolation and - with the best…Continue

Started by Charles Kirke. Last reply by Charles Kirke Jan 11, 2012.

Suggestions 15 Replies

a place to post suggestionsContinue

Tags: sustainability, practical, suggestions, action, anthropology

Started by Abraham Heinemann. Last reply by Adonia Lugo Dec 2, 2011.

What is the OAC 4? 11 Replies

We have had some discussion on the main thread concerning a possible mission statement or manifesto for the OAC, with some emphasis on an apparent contradiction between the need to clarify what we…Continue

Started by Keith Hart. Last reply by Adonia Lugo Dec 2, 2011.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Francine Barone on November 24, 2011 at 6:04pm

I have just spent some time catching up on 6 pages of comments, so forgive the fragmented nature of my responses and the length.

1. The "lurkers" reading this make up the majority of our cooperative. There will always be more lurkers than participants, but they will participate if they feel it's worth it and/or easy enough. I have had on my to-do list for the past half-year some ways to participate here that would be quicker and easier (as Ryan also suggests in his comment). For instance, I thought of incorporating simple ways for people to 1. share hyperlinks to content around the web; 2. ask specific questions without needing to create an entire blog post, group or forum post (e.g. Does anyone have any good syllabi for XYZ? or Who wants to meet up at the AAA?) and 3. A suggestion box that lets people vote site suggestions up or down. (Would be useful right about now!).

We already have an overload of channels to communicate on the site, which is why I delayed implementing these additional ideas. Now would be a good time to figure out how to better organize what we have and make room for new things. Anyway, what I'm saying is that where time is a concern, less complicated participation options would help get the lurker's foot in the door. I don't know if Facebook is a viable solution here because I'm not sure how integrated Ning and Facebook can be or if this would cause fragmentation between platforms. These are issues for the tech sub-group which I'll take up there shortly.

2. As for those of us who are somewhere between lurkers and daily participants, I'm sure that there are some who have the skills and inclination to do more, they just need the motivation to join in. I like Ryan's idea of regular columns, interviews or blogs that members can follow from week to week. I'd also reiterate that we are happy for bloggers to cross-post to the OAC. If you're blogging anyway, this will help your exposure and you don't have to write something completely new.

3. Thanks to Paul Chalmers for his comments on the navigation menu. That was probably our most recent edit to improving the site and we had so little feedback on it when it launched. I apologize for the "under construction" pages. They are supposed to be landing pages explaining the sub-menu content.

4. As far as site organization, also brought up by Christos, the admin team have been fighting Ning's file structure for some time. For instance, the way photos are added, poorly titled and then lost among thousands also bothers me. It is up to individual members to title and tag their photos properly, yet most ignore this rule. Since some members have uploaded 200 raw images straight off of their cameras, apart from deleting them, it would take a volunteer to step in and tag/re-title/organize them. If someone is happy to do this, a photo and video manager can help enliven our media offerings.

5. Regarding a site "manifesto" (too political a word for my liking), we've been here before. I've read pages of notes, comments, philosophies and expectations. They're available all over the site. Whatever reams are produced, I'd like to see it all distilled down to a preamble that can be easily shared.

6. Thanks to John for sharing how he views the OAC in his own life. I think that's a great start, because it means something unique and works for us all in different ways. For me, I was writing up my PhD when I first joined the OAC and admin team. It was both an escape and a way for me to focus my attention and optimism to take an active role in anthropology beyond the confines of a single academic department. What I enjoy most about the site is the ease of contacting other people with similar interests and breaking down barriers like the static hierarchies of academic life. The OAC is also a great platform for experimenting with new media. This was part of our goal from the beginning and I think we can do more.

7. Thanks to Heather and Abraham for taking on new roles in our cooperative. I am on the same page as Heather in that I think we have gotten to the point of having a great resource here, a place of note with a wide audience. But we need to move forward on more actionable initiatives. I have to admit that we have arrived at this point several times before in the history of the OAC, but few were willing to take the ball and run with it. I'm pleased to see some new and familiar faces coming forward. Let's see where it takes us.

8. On incorporating university departments: In line with John's suggestion about personal engagement, I wonder how many of our members have taken the time to present the OAC to their university departments at a weekly seminar or social meeting or some such event. Maybe if we had some literature (a simple .pdf flyer) that people could download and share on the ground, knowledge of our site would spread within actual buildings where there are people who have the resources to collaborate together face to face. I know that when I was an undergrad I would have very much wanted to have a resource like the OAC to help me figure out anthropology. This site is an amazing repository of knowledge and knowledgeable people whose feedback to students and teachers alike should be sought after.

Having said that, I don't think that universities should be given pride of place on the site. It becomes a recruiting board. That can already be done on Facebook and But if individual educators want to incorporate the OAC into learning and teaching in their classes and with their students, we should welcome them.

9. As an aside, we have to be careful about denying plagiarism or dismissing Elaine's suggestion that people might fear putting their best work online for free. Just because many academics are  now awakening to the OA movement and creative commons, does not mean that plagiarism has become a figment of some bureaucratic imagination. The CC movement doesn't seek to efface intellectual property rights, quite the opposite. I'd rather see the tone at the OAC be one of pride in one's ideas and willingness to share them because of the inherent reward in publishing to thousands of peers that one values as equals, much like wanting to appear in a prominent academic journal or web magazine.

Comment by Abraham Heinemann on November 24, 2011 at 3:35am

By the way, I think the reaction this group has gotten is great, bear with me while I get together some material and direction for each of the working groups, in the meantime feel free to take them where you wish

Comment by Keith Hart on November 24, 2011 at 12:43am

Patty, I didn't mean by referring to apathy to suggest that members who don't post are lazy couch potatoes. I know that many people are very busy, especially academics trying to keep the ship afloat while everyone else is trying to wreck it. I was referring to the fact that, if there is to be something available at the OAC, some people have to generate it. Or maybe there is something else to do that is not so focused on generating content. In any case, this will always be the product of very few out of our membership. My call was to anyone who felt they had the time to contribute. One result is this group because someone felt stimulated to suggest how he might do that.

Comment by Rachelle Annechino on November 24, 2011 at 12:39am


Comment by Abraham Heinemann on November 24, 2011 at 12:36am

apologies, links fixed





IMO - architects & techies

TIPI - relations to Occupy movement

AGARIC - offline activities

RHIZOME - members outreach

DIDGE - coherent media

Also see this discussion here: WHAT IS THE OAC FOR?

(you may need to repost your comments from the main thread)

Please still feel free to comment on the main wall.



Comment by Rachelle Annechino on November 23, 2011 at 11:41pm

I think the links to working groups above are messed up, or maybe I don't get how to use them? When I do a search for TIPI I get this link, which seems to work for me:

Comment by Abraham Heinemann on November 23, 2011 at 9:30pm

I whole heartedly agree with Patty.

Comment by Patty A. Gray on November 23, 2011 at 9:03pm

This will be cryptic as I haven't time to read all the comments and I am actually responding to Keith's call from October (I didn't even see it until now!) - it is not apathy, it is overwork. In fact, lack of presence here might more properly be interpreted as anything BUT apathy, as strong engagement elsewhere. I love the idea of this online community and forum, but great god almighty, I am running flat out, a pack of squabbling monkeys on my back (named Teaching, Advising, Committees, Bureaucracy, Research-Squeezed-to-the-Margins, Etc., Etc. Etc.). I haven't even the time or energy to move my own research forward, let alone to write contributions on this forum. As I am writing this, I am hearing the "ding" of new emails dropping their unwelcome presence into my inbox. Keith, I haven't a clue what to do about this but grow a few more heads to manage the workload. But I do like OAC. I'm glad it is here. I visit on occasion, when I can. Does it have to be more than that? Jeez, I'd hate to start putting OAC in the same category as I put my university managers who always seem to invent some new way of demanding evidence of my performance (without bothering to actually look for themselves at the my constant activity).

Maybe one thing... maybe too many groups, maybe too many discussions, maybe too diffuse. How many groups could I join? how thin could I spread my presence? how could I possibly keep up with all the different threads? Ouch, my head hurts.

But apathy this is not. I'm following manifestations of Occupy closely and working my backside off trying to draw my Irish students into awareness of the implications. We are reading and taking apart Karen Ho's Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street right now (I'm using it in two classes, one undergrad-level, one PhD level). The more chatter you would see from me here, you can be guaranteed the less I'd be transmitting any of this to my students.

Actually, I would say one more thing: more anarchy, anarchy is a good thing. OWS seems to be the first movement that is managing to get across the idea that a single central purpose and a visible leadership is not needed in order for people to come together around intersecting interests.

Sorry for posting without having read the foregoing discussion, I apologize if I am totally in left field with my comments.


Comment by Keith Hart on November 23, 2011 at 7:56pm

Heather, your offer is noted with many thanks. Since the organization in charge has opened itself up to the possibilities generated by this forum, we have to figure out how to turn such offers into practical action.

"I see the potential for the OAC to become a strong organization and community united in whatever it so chooses."

With this in mind, I have opened a thread "What is the OAC 4?" in this Group where members can air their general aspirations for the OAC.

Abraham has opened three discussion groups for the areas that interest him and sent a message to members of the group.

WORKING GROUP IMO- web architects & techies

WORKING GROUP AGARIC - offline activities

WORKING GROUP TIPI - relations to Occupy movement

but I am not sure how widely knowledge of these is disseminated and how they are linked to the posts on this group.

Comment by Heather Lynn on November 23, 2011 at 7:41pm

Casting a wide net, for now is good. There are a number of things that could be done further, but the creation of this group and ongoing discussion has been a needed and valuable step in the right direction. I think it can offer people the sense that they are needed and most people, when given an opportunity and understanding of their potential roles, love to offer help, eg. Open Source Movement.

I spoke up because I love anthropology and gravitate to like-minded individuals. I, like most consumers, am looking for a "tribe". Rather than to continue lurking around and eventually either outright abandon or delete my account. I perceived this to be a fork in the road and recognized a need to at least articulate my thoughts.

I would be more than happy to help in anyway deemed fit. As I mentioned before, I see the potential for the OAC to become a strong organization and community united in whatever it so chooses.





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