“Absorbing articles by ten Anthropologists”
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“Absorbing articles by ten Anthropologists”

March 15, 2020
  • Title: “Ethics and Objectivity in Anthropology”
  • Editor : Prof. P.K. Misra
  • Year : 2020
  • Pages : 194+xiii
  • Price : Rs. 1,500
  • Publisher :  Indian National Confederation, Academy of Anthropologists

The volume comprises absorbing articles by India’s ten eminent scholars following their presentation during the three-day Round Table of the Annual Indian Anthropology Congress under the auspices of Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists  held in Feb. 2019 at Pune focussed on the theme “Ethics and Objectivity in Anthropology.”

Anthropology, being a human field science, requires intensive interaction with people resulting in data and information promoting objectivity in understanding for a rewarding relationship between Anthropologists and people at large. The articles in this volume portray the Anthropologists as communicators of knowledge for the benefit of teachers, students, researchers and also lay people, which otherwise they might have missed.

The editor has observed that the topic Ethics and Objectivity in Anthropology has been extensively discussed in forums of scholars in the West while there has been a conspicuous  silence on it among the Indian counterparts. Presentation and discussion on the topic at the Round Table mark not only a beginning of action to correct this historical lapse but also lead to development of relevant code of ethics for India’s Anthropologists, as the editor has hoped. Ancient philosophers of India have set out the code in the form of restraints or proper conduct (yamas) and observance or practices (niyams), mostly followed in breach by the land’s masses nowadays, souring the relationships among the people.

Former Director of Anthropological Survey of India, in his article (pages 130-138) has set out the ground rule to be followed by Anthropologists in their field work in these words: They should observe people in a dispassionate manner, devoid of any emotional attachment or any personal bias in order to be accepted as members of their society.

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The suggestion of a former don of the University of Mysore, made in his article (pages 139-151) setting out research priorities for India’s Anthropologists to focus on issues concerning education, health, environmental degradation, agriculture, rural-urban migration and industry has come not a day too early.

Expressing observations made during field work by Anthropologists in measurable terms to facilitate quantifying and comparison has been prescribed by seasoned professionals in the circles of India’s Anthropologists, according to the editor, adding that the issue of ethics has begun to be discussed in many research organisations. University Grants Commission’s initiative of issuing ethical guidelines for researchers, as mentioned by the editor in his article, may augur well for raising professional standards of India’s Anthropologists.

All the articles have been supplemented by references, adding to the wealth of literature that avid readers are sure to value and help to kindle interest in Anthropology among others.

About the Editor: Prof. P.K. Misra (Ph:2372135), an octogenarian, is a long time resident of Mysuru and a familiar figure in the academic and social circles of city. Apart from  a 25-year stint in the Anthropological Survey of India, he has been a Visiting Professor in many Universities of India and abroad, including University of Mysore. His extensively published writings, highly rated by peers, are marked by his field work among marginalised sections of country for pursuit of their cause, while he is glued to ethics and objectivity in word and spirit. — BRS


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