The Global Community

The Role of the Anthropologist in the Global Community 4 4 unread replies. 4 4 replies. I would like you to consider the role of anthropologists in the global community. As discussed at the beginning of the course Applied Anthropology has frequently involved Anthropologists providing intel to the U.S. Government for a number of reasons. Here is a clip from one such anthropologist: Anthropologist Montgomery McFate, who is employed by the U.S. Navy, writes: “Regardless of whether anthropologists decide to enter the national-security arena, cultural information will inevitably be used as the basis of military operations and public policy. And, if anthropologists refuse to contribute, how reliable will that information be? The result of using incomplete ‘bad’ anthropology is, invariably, failed operations and failed policy.” (McFate, 2005:37) What is your reaction to McFate’s statement? Do you think that it is ethical or unethical for anthropologists to assist a government in the pursuit of a military agenda? To give a quick example, the classic enthography Nisa. Consider that for some reason the U.S. suddenly goes to war with the country Nisa’s people inhabit. The U.S. Government would like Marjorie Shostak to provide them with information about the !Kung people (which she obtained through fieldwork under the ethnical obligations of full disclosure of use that comes with informed consent) that would enable them to successfully pursuit their military agenda in the country. Would it be ethical or unethical for Shostak to provide them that information? Why or why not?? Note – there is no right or wrong answer as the question is a philosophical one based on ethics which are not absolute. Be sure to support your answer logically to the best of your ability.

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