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Public Anthropology in a Borderless World

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Volume 8

Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology

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Public Anthropology in a Borderless World

Edited by Sam Beck and Carl A. Maida

412 pages, 44 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-730-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-515-0 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (April 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-731-2 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“[This] collection fruitfully examines how the turn to public engagement is transforming the discipline, leading anthropologists to reconsider the researcher's subject position and to use new techniques for conducting, communicating, and applying research to communities and publics. Contributors offer candid perspectives on their personal and professional transformations as they turn to a more engaged scholarly practice.”  ·  Krista Harper, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“A truly fascinating read. It should provide countless inspiration for anthropologists of today and tomorrow. The case for public anthropology has now been well made.”  ·  Angie Hart, University of Brighton


Anthropologists have acted as experts and educators on the nature and ways of life of people worldwide, working to understand the human condition in broad comparative perspective. As a discipline, anthropology has often advocated — and even defended — the cultural integrity, authenticity, and autonomy of societies across the globe. Public anthropology today carries out the discipline’s original purpose, grounding theories in lived experience and placing empirical knowledge in deeper historical and comparative frameworks. This is a vitally important kind of anthropology that has the goal of improving the modern human condition by actively engaging with people to make changes through research, education, and political action.

Sam Beck is Senior Lecturer in the College of Human Ecology and Director of the Urban Semester Program at Cornell University. His publications include Manny Almeida’s Ringside Lounge: The Cape Verdean Struggle for Their Neighborhood (1992) and Toward Engaged Anthropology (2013, ed. with Carl A. Maida).

Carl A. Maida is Professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and Director of the Pre-College Science Education Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. His publications include Sustainability and Communities of Place (2007) and Pathways through Crisis: Urban Risk and Public Culture (2008).

Subject: Applied Anthropology


List of Illustrations

Carl A. Maida and Sam Beck

Chapter 1. Community-Based Research Organizations: Co-constructing Public Knowledge and Bridging Knowledge/Action Communities through Participatory Action Research
Jean J. Schensul

Chapter 2. Crossing the Line: Participatory Action Research in a Museum Setting
Alaka Wali and Madeleine Tudor

Chapter 3. Monitoring the Commons: Giving “Voice” to Environmental Justice in Pacoima
Carl A. Maida

Chapter 4. Political-Ethical Dilemmas Participant Observed
Josiah McC. Heyman

Chapter 5. Public Anthropology and Structural Engagement: Making Ameliorating Social Inequality Our Primary Agenda
Merrill Singer

Chapter 6. Public Anthropology and the Transformation of Anthropological Research
Louise Lamphere

Chapter 7. Public Anthropology and Its Reception
Judith Goode

Chapter 8. Anthropology for Whom? Challenges and Prospects of Activist Scholarship
Angela Stuesse

Chapter 9. “We Are Plumbers of Democracy”: A Study of Aspirations to Inclusive Public Dialogues in Mexico and Its Repercussions
Raúl Acosta

Chapter 10. What Everybody Should Know about Nature-Culture: Anthropology in the Public Sphere and “The Two Cultures”
Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Chapter 11. Reimagining the Fragmented City/Citizen: Young People and Public Action in Rio de Janeiro
Udi Mandel Butler

Chapter 12. Urban Transitions: Graffiti Transformations
Sam Beck

Chapter 13. Recreating Community: New Housing for Amui Djor Residents
Tony Asare, Erika Mamley Osae, and Deborah Pellow

Notes on Contributors

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