Anthropologists tend to insist on acknowledging the differences of cultural phenomena, thereby often rendering their research useless to non-anthropologists. Are we trapped of being never more than the critics of psychologists, economists and pundits? Drawing on our research from the Global Social Media Impact Study, we discovered that there could be a solution: ‘Yes-But’.
Conveying complex ideas in a way a non-specialist audience can understand has many benefits. Here are a few reasons why it is important and rewarding to practice writing.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen is professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and author of “Engaging Anthropology: The Case for A Public Presence”. For the Transformations project, he speaks about anthropologists’ relation to the public, and deconstructs the fears we as social scientists often have when thinking about going public: One doesn’t need to oversimplify in order to bridge the gap from the research we do to a wider audience. So don’t be scared of story-telling and don’t hide the great characters and events you discover behind analysis, but rather let analysis speak through them.