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Thread: Human Terrain & Anthropology (merged thread)

  1. #41
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    Default Giving Anthros Their Due

    "Rex, I am in full support of having a set of open and transparent research guidelines that are understood by all stakeholders and that have some teeth in them....." (marct)

    If anyone can achieve that, most likely it will be the folks of your discipline, given the willingness and ability of your profession to actually live with people they are trying to understand and learn from. I might proffer too that Marct's positive experience with the Institute he is affiliated with comes in part because of the Canadian influence and take on things. The Academics I previously mentioned, about 5-6 in number, show a markedly different perspective and experience in the American academic world. The witchcraft analogy remains valid IMO.

    Stan: Purple Haze by Hendrix is getting alot of votes and there is a door prize, a box of 00 10 ga shells
    Last edited by goesh; 09-21-2007 at 04:13 PM. Reason: door prize announcement

  2. #42
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    "Rex, I am in full support of having a set of open and transparent research guidelines that are understood by all stakeholders and that have some teeth in them....." (marct)
    Good luck with that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    Stan: Purple Haze by Hendrix is getting alot of votes and there is a door prize, a box of 00 10 ga shells
    Our PMs did not indicate conducting a poll or subsequent door prize.
    Where in God's name are you gettin' this Bravo Sierra from

    You should at the very least indicate what meaning Purple Haze really had during the Vietnam era

    Back at ya !

    BTW, I have a 12 ga. and don't need 10 ga rounds

  3. #43
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default On the continuing (musical) post scripts...

    My vote is for "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane, 1967
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    My vote is for "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane, 1967
    I tend to prefer the Sanctuary remake of the same song, but that is a good choice. "Paint it Black" might also be worth consideration.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  5. #45
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default But what of WM's Primate

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    My vote is for "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane, 1967
    Go ask Alice
    I think she'll know
    When logic and proportion
    Have fallen sloppy dead
    And the White Knight is talking backwards
    And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
    Remember what the dormouse said:
    "Feed your head
    Feed your head
    Feed your head"
    Will the monkey fit in

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    Stan, to mention Viet Nam is to raise some hackles and inhibit objectivity on the part of many social scientists. Well, any metion of armed conflict tends to do that, but, regarding the theme song for brave academics who oppose the game of dirty pool in the ivory tower, I've nominated myself Captain of the Search Committee and as such, I can change and make up rules as I go. Many military personnel can relate to that I'm sure as they seek the middle ground between shock n' awe and self-reliance in Iraq. Purple Haze we will define as that which emenated from the sh**ters as they were being burned, a picture of which, minus the purple haze, Tom has provided in another section of this forum. Some say purple haze is an apt description of my Posts.

  7. #47
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Will the monkey fit in
    Hey, backup singers are important !
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  8. #48
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    By the nominations so far, it appears many inhaled when they experimented with marijuana.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    My vote is for "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane, 1967
    If you choose to go with JA, then I suggest "Lather" from the 1968 "Crown of Creation" album The following lyrics are particularly apropos I think.

    "Lather was 30 years old today,
    They took away all of his toys.
    His mother sent newspaper clippings to him
    About his old friends who'd stopped being boys."

  10. #50
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    If you choose to go with JA, then I suggest "Lather" from the 1968 "Crown of Creation" album The following lyrics are particularly apropos I think.
    That's certainly a valid comment on the lyrics WM. Then again, White Rabbit truly does capture the postmodernist existential angst of performing theoretical praxis in the current regressive, militaristic environment (I can't believe I typed that with a straight face ).
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  11. #51
    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
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    Default Space and Culture Blog

    Hey Marct,

    Can you help decode this Phd language?

    Now I think that the militarisation of everyday life is all about technology and security but it isn't Bentham's panopticon, Foucault's docile bodies or even the disciplinary power manifest in CCTV and consumer RFID that I'm talking about. It's the research, development and deployment of biopolitics and network technologies of terror, control and bare life that are actively re-shaping our very understandings of what it means to be together-in-the-world. It's how people with real power are constructing--in procedure, policy and law--what it means to be human, what it means to be social, and even what we should be able to expect from each other.

    One of my favourite anthropology students used to love winding me up by threatening to go work for the military. (Sociology students seeking the same threaten to work for Stats Can.) And although he tried to persuade me along the lines of "it's better me than someone else, right?" I never bought it, even when he reminded me that I teach students to always keep an open mind. I'll also admit that these discussions of ours most often ended with me blurting out something intellectually rich like "But, but, but... It's just WRONG to help them!" and him sitting back with a smug smile. (So much for rational argument or ethics, I was clearly signing up for a simpler moral judgment.)

    Space and Culture is a cross-disciplinary journal of cultural studies that fosters the publication of reflections on a wide range of socio-spatial arenas.

    SPACE AND CULTURE

  12. #52
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgmgrumpy View Post
    Hey Marct,

    Can you help decode this Phd language?
    Sure, although since Anne (the author) is a colleague of mine I'll have to be careful .

    Now I think that the militarisation of everyday life is all about technology and security but it isn't Bentham's panopticon, Foucault's docile bodies or even the disciplinary power manifest in CCTV and consumer RFID that I'm talking about. It's the research, development and deployment of biopolitics and network technologies of terror, control and bare life that are actively re-shaping our very understandings of what it means to be together-in-the-world. It's how people with real power are constructing--in procedure, policy and law--what it means to be human, what it means to be social, and even what we should be able to expect from each other.
    What she is saying here is that "the militarisation of everyday life" (used as a term for a process) is not about internalizing guilt or fear that someone is being watched (that's the panopticon reference) or monitored by technologies (RFID, CCTV, etc - think of it as a Big Brother, 1984 allusion). She appears to be saying that she views "the militarisation of everyday life" as an example of changing how we perceive society and social relations from a broadly "friendly" approach (assuming everyone isn't out to get you) to a broadly antagonistic approach (everyone IS out to get you).

    One of my favourite anthropology students used to love winding me up by threatening to go work for the military. (Sociology students seeking the same threaten to work for Stats Can.) And although he tried to persuade me along the lines of "it's better me than someone else, right?" I never bought it, even when he reminded me that I teach students to always keep an open mind. I'll also admit that these discussions of ours most often ended with me blurting out something intellectually rich like "But, but, but... It's just WRONG to help them!" and him sitting back with a smug smile. (So much for rational argument or ethics, I was clearly signing up for a simpler moral judgment.)
    And I know who that student is, too (or at least I'm pretty sure I do). If it's who I think it is, they are a frequent visitor, but not poster, here at the SWC.

    Space and Culture is a cross-disciplinary journal of cultural studies that fosters the publication of reflections on a wide range of socio-spatial arenas.
    Got time for a few beers ? Actually, the journal was started by a friend of mine and they do publish some really good work in the area. At it's simplest, it just means that the journal looks at issues about how spatial arrangements influence human action. As an example, think about the different type of "feel" (and culture) in an office where everyone has offices vs. everyone having desks in the open. Another example would be looking at how and why the Lincoln Memorial in DC affects so many people who see it. I've used some of the ideas they play with in some of my own research, and they do have a lot of explanatory power in some areas.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgmgrumpy View Post
    Hey Marct,

    Can you help decode this Phd language?
    SGM,

    While you doidn't ask me, I wanted to take a crack at translating English into English too.

    [Begin Translation]we are witnessing a change in our perceptions of the "friendliness" of the world. We now have to fear that we might at any moment fall victim to the depradations of terrrorists or other forms of violence from other people. This has caused us to become more pugnacious in our dealings with others in the world around us.[End Translation]

    What she does not go on to consider in this excerpt is whether this is an appropriate way for us to view where we are in the world. I for one tend to view this as a form of Chicken Little reaction to a few relatively isolated incidents of acorns dropping.

    BTW while considering journals, I suggest a look at Armed Forces and Society. The last issue included papers like "Reassessing Victory in Warfare," "The Dilemma behind the Classical Dilemma of Civil-Military Relations," anf "The Effectiveness of Military Governments during War."

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    Default Thanks for the reference to ethnography.com Stan

    I just found this site due a link to my site, ethnography.com about the Human Terrain System. As an anthropologist, I am very excited and encouraged by the much more overt and "on the ground" use of anthropologists by military and intelligence communities. This is also a raving big deal to a lot of other anthropologists.

    I have more than a couple of rants on my site about the short-sighted nature of my profession in this regard. On the other hand, I am meeting more anthropologists: students and long-term professionals alike, that would love the chance to work with the Human Terrain System program and other military or government agencies. Why? Because more and more anthropologists want to do something thats feels real and has an impact on the world around them and they make their own choices about what that looks like.

    The only reason I am a member of the American Anthropology Association is because you are a member when you join to attend the national conference that was in my city last year. I would never sign some wacko pledge about the kind of work or clients I am partnering with. A) I have my own moral compass, thank you, and I don't need my supposed professional association dictating to me my moral choices. B) I am an anthropologist if I work for Habitat for Humanity or the CIA using cultural knowledge to develop propaganda (As an aside, some very famous anthropologists worked with the OSS to create propaganda in WWII and are held in high regard. The difference between what is seen as a morally "clean" war with nationally supported goals, and more ambiguous wars.)

    The Anthropologists in academia get in a froth every few years about those of us in the corporate world (I use anthropology to develop corporate strategies for global and regional business units), and those in the government and the military. In fact they see no difference between an anthropologist in the military or business at all. In the past the code of ethics was very clear that the work most of us in business or government did was out of bounds. The result? Umm, we just didn't join the anthropology association. Its not like we missed much.

    You'll notice that all these ideas for pledges and resolutions, etc to ban certain kinds of work by social scientists rarely if ever from people with actual experience in the field. Why? Well those of us in the Business/Government/Military end of anthropology are too busy actually DOING things.
    Last edited by MarkD; 09-22-2007 at 02:45 AM.

  15. #55
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    I just found this site due a link to my site, ethnography.com about the Human Terrain System. As an anthropologist, I am very excited and encouraged by the much more overt and "on the ground" use of anthropologists by military and intelligence communities. This is also a raving big deal to a lot of other anthropologists.
    Glad you're here! I'm looking forward to seeing some interesting posts from you . And I will definitely say it's nice to have another Anthropologist around.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  16. #56
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Well Put, Mark...And Welcome Aboard !

    Hey Mark !

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    I just found this site due a link to my site, ethnography.com about the Human Terrain System. As an anthropologist, I am very excited and encouraged by the much more overt and "on the ground" use of anthropologists by military and intelligence communities. This is also a raving big deal to a lot of other anthropologists.
    Given your background, I'd be very interested in checking out your site. I've tried to obtain a better understanding of Anthropologists and Marc is always ready to assist.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    You'll notice that all these ideas for pledges and resolutions, etc to ban certain kinds of work by social scientists rarely if ever from people with actual experience in the field. Why? Well those of us in the Business/Government/Military end of anthropology are too busy actually DOING things.
    Although I spent some time reading AAA's Code of Ethincs, I came away with mere broad stroke regulations and certainly no straight forward 'Do's and Don'ts'. At the very least, I found nothing forbidding an Anthropologist from assisting the US Military in saving lives, both ours and others. This broad statement would lead me to believe
    the contrary:

    Anthropological researchers have primary ethical obligations to the people, species, and materials they study and to the people with whom they work.
    • To avoid harm or wrong, understanding that the development of knowledge can lead to change which may be positive or negative for the people or animals worked with or studied
    • To respect the well-being of humans and nonhuman primates
    • To work for the long-term conservation of the archaeological, fossil, and historical records
    • To consult actively with the affected individuals or group(s), with the goal of establishing a working relationship that can be beneficial to all parties involved
    Regards, Stan

  17. #57
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Goesh !
    You are showing signs of spending way too much time with the Navy (or as Sam puts it...

    Wait for it...


    Bath Tub Toys

    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    I've nominated myself Captain of the Search Committee and as such, I can change and make up rules as I go.

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    Default Ah, but it depends on what your definition of "is" is :)

    Hi Stan-

    Its true, the most current revision of the AAA code of ethics (which is also under revision) is no longer as explicit about secret research. At one point it was a direct breach of ethics.

    The rub is the interpretation of the different parts of the code. Most anthropologists would still argue that a person should never do research that cannot be made public to everyone including those the research is about.

    Take the "do no harm" related section. Of course, thats a basic *duh* for most people. BUT, what if you are doing research with military teams, say a bomber crew. The objective is to understand how to make them a more effective team to improve accuracy, reduce error and generally bomb the bejesus out of the enemy. For many anthropologists, you are indeed doing harm at that point. Cultural understanding to improve relations for military units is questionable, but sort of OK. Developing a better understanding of Al Queda to locate and bomb them is waaaaaay out of bounds.

    Me on the othref hand? I am totally fine with anthro's working in any capacity. Before I was an anthropologist I worked developing training systems for tanks for the army and base interdiction for the air force, among others.

    I don't object to a code of ethics of course. One of the most interesting classes I had in grad school was my ethics class. The time to really ponder ethical dilemmas is before they happen, then at least you have some footing when the inevitable unexpected surprise happens.

    Here is a post I wrote about my most difficult ethical problem I have encountered. http://www.ethnography.com/2007/03/w...hical-dilemma/

  19. #59
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    Its true, the most current revision of the AAA code of ethics (which is also under revision) is no longer as explicit about secret research. At one point it was a direct breach of ethics.
    It is also interesting that a number of people still think that it is a part of the code of ethics.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    The rub is the interpretation of the different parts of the code. Most anthropologists would still argue that a person should never do research that cannot be made public to everyone including those the research is about.
    Yup. Add to that the situation that you may be working with groups where some of your research cannot be made public since it could cause them "harm", and you get an interesting conflict arising.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    Take the "do no harm" related section. Of course, thats a basic *duh* for most people. BUT, what if you are doing research with military teams, say a bomber crew. The objective is to understand how to make them a more effective team to improve accuracy, reduce error and generally bomb the bejesus out of the enemy. For many anthropologists, you are indeed doing harm at that point. Cultural understanding to improve relations for military units is questionable, but sort of OK. Developing a better understanding of Al Queda to locate and bomb them is waaaaaay out of bounds.
    Is it? Hmmm, I spent a lot of time debating what "do no harm" means with a lot of people I really respect (Jerry Barkow, Charlie Laughlin, Regna Darnell to name just a few). One of the distinctions that has to be made is between "harm" and "hurt". A second distinction that has to be made is if the primary locus of concern is based on our "subject", then does that include harm to those who are not our subjects? A third distinction is when does the primary locus of concern shift from our subjects to other groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    I don't object to a code of ethics of course. One of the most interesting classes I had in grad school was my ethics class. The time to really ponder ethical dilemmas is before they happen, then at least you have some footing when the inevitable unexpected surprise happens.
    I agree that that is exactly the time to ponder them . I do, however, have a problem with codes in general, at least in the sense that they can become substitutes for the individual developing their own codes. I think they are definitely useful in the sense that they provide a framework for discussion and general guidance, but I also find most professional codes quite lacking in that they do not lay out their "first principles" as it were.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    Here is a post I wrote about my most difficult ethical problem I have encountered. http://www.ethnography.com/2007/03/w...hical-dilemma/
    Interesting problem, and I may just toss it off to my students. BTW, I would have done exactly the same thing as you did.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  20. #60
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Mark,
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    Hi Stan-

    Its true, the most current revision of the AAA code of ethics (which is also under revision) is no longer as explicit about secret research. At one point it was a direct breach of ethics.

    The rub is the interpretation of the different parts of the code. Most anthropologists would still argue that a person should never do research that cannot be made public to everyone including those the research is about.
    Now you indeed have my curiosity going. Secret research I assume for say the CIA, etc., or for lack of better terms, secret as in corporate world business secrets.

    IMO, regardless of how the research ends up being 'classified', if one agrees to those terms from the beginning, I see no moral dilemma. Quite the contrary, if an Anthropologist enters into a binding contract with a company or a USG agency, He/She just jumped into the proverbial code of ethics frying pan

    I liked what you said in your first post about being busy and doing something. Seems, your intellectual peers have little better to do that worry about what Mark D. is up to today.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    Take the "do no harm" related section. Of course, thats a basic *duh* for most people. BUT, what if you are doing research with military teams, say a bomber crew. The objective is to understand how to make them a more effective team to improve accuracy, reduce error and generally bomb the bejesus out of the enemy. For many anthropologists, you are indeed doing harm at that point. Cultural understanding to improve relations for military units is questionable, but sort of OK. Developing a better understanding of Al Queda to locate and bomb them is waaaaaay out of bounds.

    Me on the othref hand? I am totally fine with anthro's working in any capacity. Before I was an anthropologist I worked developing training systems for tanks for the army and base interdiction for the air force, among others.

    I don't object to a code of ethics of course. One of the most interesting classes I had in grad school was my ethics class. The time to really ponder ethical dilemmas is before they happen, then at least you have some footing when the inevitable unexpected surprise happens.
    I don't know that I ever thought of employing Anthropologists to get our ordnance on target. BTW, I didnít know you folks could do that

    I was thinking more along the lines of a 'Cultural Awareness' advisor - as you pointed out, ponder over some of the unexpected. I tend to call it figuring out what the otherís about to do before he gets there. I know itís possible as Iím accused of having the ability to do said. During my time in Sub-Sahara, I felt most of our mistakes could be directly attributed to misinterpretations.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkD View Post
    Here is a post I wrote about my most difficult ethical problem I have encountered. http://www.ethnography.com/2007/03/w...hical-dilemma/
    Although very interesting, Iím having my own ethically driven thoughts. This one kind of rubs me the wrong way and perhaps clearly reflects my lack of understanding for your field of work. Personally, I may have smuggled in a rope for ĎJimí to hang himself with

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