ERIC Number: ED173248
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Anthropologists in the Looking Glass.
Kaplan, Bernice A.
A historical and anthropological analysis of the nature of conventions held by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) is presented. The author, who is an anthropologist, plays the role of participant observer in studying the phenomenon of meetings of the AAA. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, AAA meetings were very small and scholarly. Following World War II there was a movement away from pure scholarship toward more practical applications of anthropology, probably in order to make the AAA more relevant to research being conducted and funded by the government. Social structure within the AAA became pronounced throughout the 1960s as the association membership increased and regional societies held their own meetings. In response to fluctuations in the economy and the job market, these meetings varied in the extent to which parties were given by member universities to recruit graduate students. Age- and status-conscious behavior became apparent as older, better-known scholars sought out their colleagues at the meetings and young students could only make acquaintance with other young students who were attending. Little intellectual interaction took place because the older scholars generally attended to present papers, not to attend sessions given by others. Young students attended mainly to hear the papers, not to present them. Visible stratification supported the differences among attendees in the form of color-coded name tags to reflect member, fellow, or student status. The author concludes that the AAA is just as trapped in cultural constraints as are the societies which its members study. (AV)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: American Anthropoligical Association
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Los Angeles, California, 1978)