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Another Anthropologist’s Take on Anthropology and the SSM Debates

Jim Burroway

March 28th, 2008

I occasionally come across a pingback which extends a discussion here on BTB in some rather interesting ways.  Here’s one I found this morning: anthropology professor Thomas Strong finds the mere fact that anthropology is being invoked in the same-sex marriage debate fascinating:

It’s a fascinating debate to me not necessarily because I am interested in definitions of marriage (though I am) but because of the way that anthropology is invoked by both sides as having authority on the subject. … Anthropologists: Do not despair! Someone still cares what we have to say. Anthropologists are seen to have the last word on human nature and therefore as potentially having knowledge that could settle debate on the topic. … To me what’s interesting is how a moral question appears to be disguised in these debates as a ‘scientific’ one, and therefore the real nature of the conflict gets displaced.

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