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Three reflections on public anthropology (Respond to this article at http://www.therai.org.uk/at/debate)

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Abstract

Clarifying the difference between engaged and public anthropology rests on the collaborative, confrontational, and transformative orientation of the former and the messaging concerns of the latter. Both are strengthened by a solid foundation in key theoretical concepts that distinguish the discipline's fundamental ways of knowing from other forms of social inquiry and engagement, like journalism and activism. These concepts include empiricism, translation, incommensurability, obligation, critique, subjectivity, circulation, emergence, rupture, and imagination. I also suggest an exploration of ‘ethnography-scapes’ that trace the impact of ethnographies on readers, subjects, and most especially the connections among them.

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