Accepted paper:

Imagining global anthropology: diversity, equality and the politics of knowledge


Thomas Reuter (University of Melbourne)

Paper short abstract:

WCAA was created to improve international participation in the production of anthropological knowledge by promoting dialogue and equality. In this paper I discuss efforts by WCAA to address challenges within the discipline, and to provide an alternative model of globalisation for the world at large.

Paper long abstract:

Over the last century anthropological studies have been a testimony to human cultural diversity, as well as highlighting the existential challenges we all share, but the discipline has failed to provide an undistorted mirror of this unity in diversity. Critics from postcolonial studies and within anthropology have argued that anthropological knowledge cannot be universal so long as representatives of only a few privileged nations participate in the process of its construction, and so long as there are significant power differentials among those who do participate. From the perspective of a performance theory of truth, there are two necessary conditions if we wish for anthropology to genuinely reflect the human condition. The first step is to improve global participation in the social production of anthropological knowledge by creating equality within the discipline. The second is to help create a more level playing field in the world at large by challenging the abuses of power in contemporary societies. In this paper I discuss efforts by the WCAA and other international organizations in anthropology to satisfy some of these conditions.

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The past and future of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA Tenth Anniversary Symposium) CLOSED