Angažovaná antropologie: Dar i jed

Tomáš Ryška


In this article I attempt to widen scholarly discussions towards an engaged anthropology.These discussions are often occupied by the application of anthropological knowledge and skills through anthropologists‘ participation in colonial powers and imperialist structures, in army activitiesin different times and locations, in projects of regional or international development aid or in advocacy.Based on my own long-term ethnographic fieldwork in northern Thailand, I argue that such discussions understand engagement as a monolithic whole, without distinguishing the instrumentalisation of knowledge from the form which comes into existence with the explicit self-understanding of
the researcher. I believe that ethnography as a method, as it is affected by the commitment between anthropologist and informer, demands engagement as an imperative for various forms of reciprocity which jointly form the social dynamics of any fieldwork. Consequently, I argue that the application of
anthropological knowledge and training toward a solution of social conflicts is just one form of engagement. Through this text I will show that engagement has an irreplaceable position in the ethnographic method of participant observation and is thus significant for augmenting anthropological methodology
and the overall research experience.

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