Accepted Paper:

Public challenges to anthropology in 21st century South Africa: collaborative approaches, class distinctions and 'progressive' forces  
Andrew 'Mugsy' Spiegel (University of Cape Town)

Paper long abstract:

From its start SA anthropology has focused on socio-politically salient issues, albeit in opposing ways, either for or against apartheid. Apartheid's demise seemed to offer promise for anthropologists to involve themselves in collaborative projects. Yet it also created new fission lines. A new elite arose, influenced by neo-liberal principles and values. It attracts many anthropology students who then develop aversions to association with those excluded, aversions that are often reciprocated. Moreover, with 'participatory process' having been a watchword of anti-apartheid movements, collaborative grassroots projects are hardly novel and have little need for aspiring members of an elite. Suggesting that working 'collaborations' between anthropologists and the country's marginalised will not necessarily become our discipline's new de rigueur, the paper considers the pedagogical work required to guide new anthropologists to understand their positionality vis a vis their disciplinary publics and to recognise the ethical virtues of an activist anthropology with liberationist goals.

Panel W004
Diverse anthropologies with multiple publics: Crisis or imaginative responses? [WCAA workshop]