Accepted paper:

World Anthropologies and the Audit Culture: WCAA, SSCI, and some possible anthropological futures


Gordon Mathews (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Paper short abstract:

Anthropology has become recognized as not Euro-American but global in recent years. However, the audit culture has increased Anglo-American hegemony in publication. This paper explores how the intellectual and the institutional are profoundly at odds in the shaping of world anthropologies.

Paper long abstract:

As compared to a decade ago, world anthropologies have become globally recognized. There is a greater awareness that anthropology is not only a Euro-American but a truly global endeavor, with a greater understanding of the various kinds of anthropology practiced around the world. One sign of this is that many major Anglo-American anthropological publications have added international anthropologists to their editorial boards. At the same time, however, the global growth of the audit culture and research assessment exercises threatens to further the hegemony of the Euro-American anthropological core. The holy grail sought by those who must be judged in such exercises is publication in highly-cited journals, which are typically those that come from the anthropological core; while many of these journals are indeed internationalizing their editorial boards, those who are chosen to represent world anthropologies are often those most familiar to the core, and thus more likely to share its ideas of what anthropology is. The intellectual and the institutional are thus profoundly at odds in the shaping of world anthropologies. Which will win out—increasing global anthropological awareness, or ever more enveloping audit culture? The anthropological vision of the World Council of Anthropological Associations or that of the Social Science Citation Index? Will Morgan and Tylor's evolutionary schemas finally be transcended or rather institutionally resurrected? In the short term, the audit culture will win, threatening the nascent recognition of global anthropologies. The long term remains to be seen.

panel G55
World Anthropologies Today