Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Technology
Secondary Theme: Materiality
As anthropologists are increasingly pursuing fields outside academia (e.g. Cefkin 2009; Denny and Sunderland 2014; Jordan 2013), many are finding careers in business, marketing, and consulting. Especially in recent years, there has been increased attention in these fields to the cultural understanding and qualitative insight that anthropologists can bring. While significant attention has been paid to questions of how anthropological skills translate beyond the academy, there has been less consideration of the lived experience of anthropologists transitioning into business, marketing, and consulting roles. Through the personal accounts of applied anthropologists, this panel explores what this transition feels like in lived experience. In particular, we address how anthropologists are navigating different workplace cultures and demands when they enter non-academic employment. Participants will also share their personal advice on how to make this shift, and how they work to stay connected--intellectually, emotionally, and socially--to academic anthropology. Inga Gruß will address the role of qualitative methods in health services research, and Ana Pitchon will discuss validating and positioning the role of anthropology in practice. Steven Garcia will examine the challenges of applying anthropologically-informed insights to brand strategy in the creative industry, while Audrey Winpenny will discuss some of the intricacies involved in accepting the role of expert witness for capital cases as an urban ethnographer. Emilie Hitch, applied anthropologist and brand strategist, will serve as discussant. This panel speaks to anthropologists thinking about or currently working outside academia, and to the larger question of what it means to be an anthropologist in the contemporary world.