The Coming of Age of Anthropological Practice and Ethics

  • Elizabeth K. Briody
  • Tracy Meerwarth Pester
Keywords: Anthropological practice, ethics, American Anthropological Association, General Motors


Anthropology as a discipline is well over 100 years old; as a profession it is just gearing up. It is the diversity of anthropological work, not simply by subfield and geographic location, but by job function that has contributed to the field’s expansion. This growth has led to ethical questions and issues surrounding anthropological identity, adaptation, and collegiality, as increasing numbers of anthropologists are finding alternatives to the work of the professor. While the “split” or “divide” between academic and nonacademic work now seems narrower, much more needs to be done to acknowledge that practitioners are a growing and contributing segment of the field. As the career paths of anthropologists continue to differentiate, efforts will be necessary to unify anthropology so that the work of practitioners is considered on par with academics. This article takes on that challenge and proposes solutions to help practice and academia work together to advance the field.