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Security and the Culture Expert: Dilemmas of an Engaged Anthropology



What does it mean for anthropology to be relevant in the context of an ongoing global war on terror? This article examines the meanings of “security,” concentrating on the discipline's engagement with the military and the ways in which the anthropological concept of culture has been deployed in post-9/11 security campaigns. It argues that while there are many potential pitfalls awaiting the so-called culture expert in military collaborations, security nevertheless remains an important field to which anthropologists can bring critical scholarly attention and ethical engagement.