Links of the Day #14

It has been a while since I've posted a link roundup. This is mostly for technical reasons (the feed stopped working) and also because I've been busy. Now that it's all working, I'll clear the backlog and then try to make these more regular again. Today's links include various perspectives and reflections on anthropology with some humor, technology, news and urban art mixed in.

Posted: 23 Feb 2013 09:45 PM PST
Philip Salzman via the OAC: "What happened in anthropology during the second half of the 20th century was the increasing politicization of anthropology. Political influence became not just an influencing factor, but the raison d'etre of anthropologists. One index of this was the formation of political identity groups within the American Anthropological Association. Currently there are formal Sections devoted to political advocacy: The Association for Feminist Anthropology; The Association for Indigenous Anthropologists; The Association of Black Anthropologists; The Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists ... Who ever thought that anthropologists would segregate themselves by race? By ethnicity? By ideology? By personal preferences? But it is not just self-segregation; rather, anthropology has become a tool for lobbying for benefits of particular groups. The goal of anthropology becomes advancing certain political objectives: gender specific, racially specific, ethnically specific, preference specific."
Posted: 23 Feb 2013 01:42 PM PST
"The corporate anthropology that ReD and a few others are pioneering is the most intense form of market research yet devised, a set of techniques that make surveys and dinnertime robo-calls ("This will take only 10 minutes of your time") seem superficial by comparison. ReD is one of just a handful of consultancies that treat everyday life—and everyday consumerism—as a subject worthy of the scrutiny normally reserved for academic social science. In many cases, the consultants in question have trained at the graduate level in anthropology but have forsaken academia—and some of its ethical strictures—for work that frees them to do field research more or less full-time, with huge budgets and agendas driven by corporate masters."
Posted: 06 Apr 2012 09:43 AM PDT
Yes, aliens: "Before we can understand an alien civilization, it might be useful to understand our own. To help in this task, anthropologist Kathryn Denning of York University in Toronto, Canada studies the very human way that scientists, engineers and members of the public think about space exploration and the search for alien life."

Posted: 12 Apr 2012 08:54 AM PDT
Funny Tumblr: "Anthropology: You're doing it wrong".

Oxford Bibliographies
Posted: 21 Mar 2013 12:44 PM PDT
Multisubject resources, including Anthropology: "Developed cooperatively with scholars and librarians worldwide, Oxford Bibliographies offers exclusive, authoritative research guides. Combining the best features of an annotated bibliography and a high-level encyclopedia, this cutting-edge resource guides researchers to the best available scholarship across a wide variety of subjects."
Posted: 23 Mar 2012 01:59 PM PDT
Vanishing city: "Northern Saskatchewan's Uranium City may be a life too isolated for the likes of most city dwellers, but as photographer Ian Brewster and anthropologist Justin Armstrong discovered on their trip to the ghost town, the city's sense of community has kept its remaining 70 inhabitants going strong. "I have this idea of writing a place into existence," says the 35-year-old Armstrong, a professor at Wellesley College outside of Boston. He wrote his dissertation on vanishing cities across Canada and the United States, and wanted to continue his work with the Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation through Uranium City. "So how do you take it from being just a sad, abandoned place to having a really rich narrative and history that might otherwise have been evacuated?""
Posted: 23 Feb 2013 01:50 PM PST
"It is the constant impression of people outside Italy that Mr. Berlusconi is some kind of evil buffoon and that the vast majority of Italians repudiate him. They cannot understand how a man so constantly on trial for all kinds of corruption, a man with a huge conflict of interest (he owns three national TV channels and large chunks of the country's publishing industry), remains at the center of power. The answer, aside from the extraordinarily slow and complex judiciary and a distressing lack of truly independent journalism, is that Mr. Berlusconi's political instincts mesh perfectly with the collective determination not to face the truth, which again combines with deep fear that a more serious leader might ask too much of them. One of the things he has promised is a pardon for tax evaders. Only in a country where tax evasion is endemic can one appeal to evaders at the expense of those who actually pay taxes."

Mayor Bloomberg’s Geek Squad
Posted: 24 Mar 2013 08:50 AM PDT
Big data is actually useful for something? "Now the city has brought this quantitative method to the exceedingly complicated machine that is New York. For the modest sum of $1 million, and at a moment when decreasing budgets have required increased efficiency, the in-house geek squad has over the last three years leveraged the power of computers to double the city's hit rate in finding stores selling bootleg cigarettes; sped the removal of trees destroyed by Hurricane Sandy; and helped steer overburdened housing inspectors — working with more than 20,000 options — directly to lawbreaking buildings where catastrophic fires were likeliest to occur."
Posted: 10 Aug 2011 10:55 AM PDT
This guy makes people out of re-assembled typewriter parts.
Posted: 10 Apr 2012 12:48 PM PDT
Street art: "John Locke thinks people should read more. So in the past few months, the Columbia architecture grad has slipped around Manhattan with a sack of books and custom-made shelves, converting old pay phones into pop-up libraries.


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