Focus On Other Cultures
Some authors argue that anthropology originated and developed as the study of "other cultures", both in terms of time (past societies) and space (non-European/non-Western societies). For example, the classic of urban anthropology, Ulf Hannerz in the introduction to his seminal Exploring the City: Inquiries Toward an Urban Anthropology mentions that the "Third World" had habitually received most of attention; anthropologists who traditionally specialized in "other cultures" looked for them far away and started to look "across the tracks" only in late 1960s.
Now there exist many works focusing on peoples and topics very close to the author's "home". It is also argued that other fields of study, like History and Sociology, on the contrary focus disproportionately on the West.
In France, the study of Western societies has been traditionally left to sociologists, but this is increasingly changing, starting in the 1970s from scholars like Isac Chiva and journals like Terrain ("fieldwork"), and developing with the center founded by Marc Augé (Le Centre d'anthropologie des mondes contemporains, the Anthropological Research Center of Contemporary Societies). The same approach of focusing on "modern world" topics by Terrain, was also present in the British Manchester School of the 1950s.
Since the 1980s it has become common for social and cultural anthropologists to set ethnographic research in the North Atlantic region, frequently examining the connections between locations rather than limiting research to a single locale. There has also been a related shift toward broadening the focus beyond the daily life of ordinary people; increasingly, research is set in settings such as scientific laboratories, social movements, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and businesses.
Famous quotes containing the words focus on, cultures and/or focus:
“I dont have any doubts that there will be a place for progressive white people in this country in the future. I think the paranoia common among white people is very unfounded. I have always organized my life so that I could focus on political work. Thats all I want to do, and thats all that makes me happy.”
—Hettie V., South African white anti-apartheid activist and feminist. As quoted in Lives of Courage, ch. 21, by Diana E. H. Russell (1989)
“Both cultures encourage innovation and experimentation, but are likely to reject the innovator if his innovation is not accepted by audiences. High culture experiments that are rejected by audiences in the creators lifetime may, however, become classics in another era, whereas popular culture experiments are forgotten if not immediately successful. Even so, in both cultures innovation is rare, although in high culture it is celebrated and in popular culture it is taken for granted.”
—Herbert J. Gans (b. 1927)
“Its sad but true that if you focus your attention on housework and meal preparation and diapers, raising children does start to look like drudgery pretty quickly. On the other hand, if you see yourself as nothing less than your childs nurturer, role model, teacher, spiritual guide, and mentor, your days take on a very different cast.”
—Joyce Maynard (20th century)