This month, Kylie [0:50] kicks off our conversation by reflecting on our blog about racism in sport and asks us about the ethics of ad targeting on social media. This comes after we decided to try boosting the blog post through a paid Facebook advertisement, since we felt this was a topic that needed to be discussed in the broader community. “What happened when we did that was a number of people commented on the blog, [but] they continued with all the racist narratives that the blog was trying to negate” – effectively normalising these kinds of comments. Since we are still digesting this situation, we are left asking many questions: given our founding goals at The Familiar Strange to engage in a public anthropology, should we be pushing into audiences that result in uncomfortable conversations? Should we really expect people to read our content if they find it through advertisements rather than organically, or when they know their values are different to ours at TFS?
Next, we move onto Jodie [6:15] who’s been thinking about a comment we received on our website that was along the lines of "it would be great to hear more about introverted anthropologists". Jodie mentioned her own experiences in this situation, where she needed to find strategies during her fieldwork to recharge and give herself 'space' from her research. Alex suggests being realistic about yourself and the circumstances under which you are doing research. Simon reminds us that fieldwork IS tough – regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted – and that getting to the “hanging out” stage of fieldwork takes time to reach, but there are some strategies we can implement to help us cope during these tough times. What coping mechanisms work for you?
Simon [11:49] then draws us to Kurdistan, which has been given a lot of attention recently following the American withdrawal from the region and the political ramifications of this decision. Simon asks us to think anthropologically about what happens when relationships, like this one, are torn apart, what is the nature of social change that goes on and what are the end results of such a sudden split? Jodie shares “I think that the relations that have been entangled in a context like that are so much more than just human to human relations; there are ideas that have gotten tangled up that kind of require the relationship space in order to be kept alive … it’s a really complex web, it’s not just, you know, you remove the bodies from the space and then it’s all over and done with."
Lastly, Alex [16:00] ends our conversation by looking at a different political situation: the mass protests in Ecuador, where Indigenous people are being used on a very symbolic way, as defenders of the country (at least this is the case on social media and as depicted in news articles). Alex asks: what does it mean for a people, particularly an Indigenous group, to become symbolic leaders of a movement, where often throughout history they have been delegated to the periphery?
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This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.
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Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
Shownotes by Deanna Catto
Podcast edited by Matthew Phung and Kylie Wong Dolan