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ANTH 3690
Marta Rohatynskyj

Thursday Sept. 5 2013 What is Theory? Can there be an atheoretical anthropology? -Even when we do not realize it, we are using theories every day in explaining social reality to ourselves and to others. These include explanations shaped by ideology and values and absorbed through our education and upbringing; these may have become so embedded that we no longer examine them nor ask if they are the most useful for our purpose or whether we are using them as well as we could. (Eyben, Kabeer and Cornwall 2008) (POVNET) (Organization for economic cooperation and development) -we cannot learn anthropology without theory -theory is essential to learning Issues to Bear in Mind -all descriptions of social phenomena are based on social theory, even if covertly -there is a huge gap between academic theorizing and the accepted premises on which is based around development practitioners -how can we translate our knowledge of “the way things work” to useful knowledge for others? -the challenge for a public anthropology is to be able to make our current understanding of “the way things were” pertinent in the solution of various social problems Elements of a Discipline Data – true descriptions of observable phenomena Methodology – rules about making true descriptions of observable data Theory- explanatory framework for understanding data based on a representation of “reality” -however we work to isolate these elements, it is clear that data, methodology and theory shape each other -we accept that disciplines have their own
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