Anthropology is the study of humans, what we do and why we do it. Anthropology provides deep insights into what it means to be human and the differences and similarities experienced by humans around the world, but Anthropology is often convoluted and difficult to read. It is difficult to read because it is designed that way. Claiming to understand cultural, social and power structures doesn't exclude Anthropologists from the influence of those structures on their own work. Anthropologists work in an ultra-competitive environment. They must jump through an ever-increasing number of hoops set up by university administrators, publishers and colleagues. If no one can understand their work, but they can convince others its vital, they keep their positions. Pierre Bourdieu said himself that 10-20% of his work was incomprehensible. The reason for this was that French academics wouldn't take him seriously if it wasn't. Anthropology can explain many forms of power differentials and inequality experienced in the world today, but the research is usually locked behind paywalls, inaccessible jargon and faculty politics. The aim of this website is to share reviews on Anthropological writing that are written with a broad audience in mind. It is also intended as a forum for students to share their own writing and discuss books and articles.
I've heard it said that if someone doesn't understand you, it's because you need to explain things better. I encourage all Anthropology students and those interested to review an article or book and write an accessible review which:
1) Summarises the key arguments.
2) Clearly explains theoretical concepts and raises critical questions.
3) Attempts to bring the benefits of an anthropological approach to the broad, but interested audience who might use this website.
Use the Contact Form to get in touch if you have something to contribute.
Education should not be treated as a commodity and convoluted writing is just as much of a barrier to access as paywalls on the results of publicly funded research are.