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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Power, privilege, suffering and essentialism: the exclusion of anthropologists in the era of political correctness
Author:Van Rensburg, Fanie JansenISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Volume:5
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:55-80
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:South Africa
Southern Africa
Subjects:anthropology
Anthropology and Archaeology
Bibliography/Research
Development and Technology
Politics and Government
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Anthropologists
Politics and culture
Abstract:In the long history of criticism of anthropologists and the political role they play one can discern two intersecting fields of debate, on the one hand, public response to scholarship, and on the other hand, the positioning of scholars with regard to the context in which they work. The author reexamines the politics of anthropology within the context of the debate concerning the validity of science and teaching within and beyond the universities of South Africa, inspired by the transition to democracy. He refers to public debates in order to estimate opinions on issues such as the relevance of science, 'Africanization' of higher education, and racism, and their potential to exclude academics, and, in particular anthropologists, from the intellectual debate itself. He argues that, in view of the experience of other societies which have experienced rapid political and social change, the possibility of the exclusion of 'independent' inquiry by anthropologists is a very real one. The clamour for the exclusion of social anthropologists from intellectual debate is often underpinned by essentialism, and encouraged by ill-defined arguments on 'correct' political stances. The author warns that South African anthropologists should not let judgement in the choice and development of a scientific approach tailored for Africa be clouded by feelings of shame about a common history. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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