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10 Must-Read Books on Anthropology in Business and Design

In 2011, when I first began my career as a researcher in the context of business and design, I knew almost nothing about the field I had decided to work in. I lacked a basic understanding of how products are designed, how businesses work, and how to work with people in this world. What I did know was that my

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Anthropological Voice As An Imperative And The Ethical Issues of Loyalty

For most anthropologists, working in business isn’t just a career choice. Giving voice to the voiceless and bringing attention to the implications of business decisions on existing human values and social relations is experienced as a moral obligation. It is a perspective that is also seen as one that is desperately needed in the business domain.

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“Do You Do UX Research?”: Articulating User Experience Research and Its Value to Clients

As anthropologists, whether we are undergraduate students or are pursuing/have pursued masters or doctorate degrees, whether we work in industry or in academia, we have a lot in common with each other: we learn the history of our discipline, the methods and theories, and we all learn to do ethnographic research. We have a common language and shared understanding of terms. Beyond our disciplinary boundaries, however, language and terminology get less common and understanding is less shared.

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Businesses As Communities of Practice and Maintaining the Anthropological Perspective from Within

Vitally important to being heard and understood as an anthropologist working for business is an ability to recognize and adapt to the language, objectives, and models of the domain. However, even experienced anthropologists describe this undertaking as a delicate balance between overlapping worldviews that challenges their ability to maintain their own sense of professional identities and practices as anthropologists.

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AnthroJobs of the Week, 14 May 2019

Lots of jobs are being posted out there, so let’s do a quick roundup of jobs in the western part of the US, instead of focusing on a particular position… If you are looking in the Southwest, PaleoWest Archaeology (Phoenix) is looking for a Cultural Resources Project Manager, with experience in project management and archaeology preferred. The firm is also

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The Concealed Utility of Theory In Business

Anthropologists serve as interlocutors of diverse cultural paradigms, interrogating, recontextualizing, and ultimately enmeshing them in a “rigorous formulation” to close the gaps in divergent models and language practices between business and anthropology. It is unfortunate, then, that theory and analysis is rarely ever given its due credit in business domains.

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Deadlines and Cycles

In the context of competitive markets and profit-driven motives, tracking progress and striving for efficiency makes sense as an imperative of all businesses. Within the business community, a practitioner’s ability to work within the standardized time constraints common across all business domains is a signifier of that practitioner’s experience and expertise – or lack thereof.

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The Enduring Value of Anthropology For Business

New strategies and trends in business and design that derive from anthropological origins are represented as efforts to empathize with users and consumers by walking in their shoes. However, researchers that have been educated in a four-field anthropology program have developed habits of thought for analyzing what is generally accepted or understood and expand or reframe social and cultural knowledge through theoretical and conceptual frameworks.

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The (so-called) Quantitative-Qualitative Divide

With the advent and proliferation of digital technologies into nearly every facet of life today there is almost no research topic in the modern world that doesn’t include a virtual or technological component. While these practices raise issues of privacy and power, the notion that vast amounts of data can be automatically and immediately collected with little cost or training is an alluring proposition for many businesses.

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Business Needs Anthropology More Than Ever, But May Not Know It

Anthropologists are trained to find solutions to problems by approaching them holistically—from all sides—and through critical thinking, grounded in our theories and methods. Few disciplines prepare their practitioners so well to tackle the problems of the modern world by incorporating our broad knowledge of human evolution, history, biology, and behavior across the world’s cultures. Unfortunately, and to our discipline’s detriment, not enough people or businesses are informed of what anthropologists do and how we can help.

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AnthroCurrents December 22, 2017

I apologize for not having happier stories to lift the spirits at this time of year.  But I hope you’ll take a critical look at some of these issues, and, if they interest you, find a way to contribute to these conversations.  I included a few more than usual since you’re all most likely at “home” reading this over a

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AnthroCurrents December 7, 2017

Hi, practicing community!   It’s been a whirlwind of a Fall and I hope you can forgive me for my sparse updates.  I hope all of you who made it to AAA this year had a great time and reconnected with your anthro community.  If you have any pressing news or stories that came out of AAA that you’d like to

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