chapter  19
8 Pages

Cris Shore Anthropology's Identity Crisis: The Politics of Public Image

Why are most anthropology alumni rejecting their title and disguising their credentials once they leave the academy? This question raises a host of issues about anthropology’s corporate image that I wish to explore, if only to initiate a deeper debate about how we present ourselves to the world. The report cites two clear reasons above all others for this evident lack of enthusiasm in embracing the ‘anthropologist’ mantle: first, the term ‘anthropologist’ is simply not recognized outside of the discipline and, second, most employers still have little or no idea about what

■ ANTHROPOLOGY’S IDENTITY CRISIS: THE POLITICS OF PUBLIC IMAGE, Anthropology Today, 12.2, April 1996, pp. 2-5

anthropology actually means, either as a university subject or as a discipline. As the report observes phlegmatically, this has important implications for the employment opportunities available to graduate and postgraduate students. Indeed, a review of the job advertisements in a range of quality newspapers indicates that ‘the discipline is predominantly associated with academic posts’ and that with the exception of overseas voluntary agencies ‘it is rare to find jobs outside academia which specifically mention a degree in anthropology as essential or desirable’.2