Accepted paper:

Social and civil engineering for the common good: is there such a thing as Mutual Applied Anthropology?


Bruce White

Paper short abstract:

Do applied anthropologists share a mutual space of analysis and practice with others engaged in the development of the "infrastructure" of societies such as priests, artists, civil and social engineers, and local and national leaders?

Paper long abstract:

This Lab session simply seeks to bring together ideas and experiences from the participants on the possible linkages between social and civil engineering, with reference to the skill sets of applied/anthropologists and how these or similar skills and methodologies are utilized by other practitioners to improve the infrastructure that supports social and physical life. The session will highlight the work of engineers such as Prof. Nick Tyler (UCL) who employs innovative multidisciplinary analysis on the interaction between people and their environment in order to improve that environment to meet the needs of its inhabitants, and compare and contrast such work to that of applied anthropologists in conflict resolution who conduct analysis on the support (or lack of it) provided by the infrastructure of social meanings (narratives, symbols). In so doing the session hopes to build a framework for understanding that mutual anthropology maybe expanded to include not just those who have developed a "a world view" on the meaning/function of human culture and social life, but might include those "applied anthropologists" that utilize such a view in order to develop, tweek, improve, manipulate and regenerate the social landscape and the infrastructure that supports it.

panel L03
Mutual anthropologies: developing some reciprocal approaches to research