How many anthropologists work in the Security Industry?

I was checking out this new fancy search engine that everyone’s talking about, and i came across this

Which made me ask myself “WTF??!?!  Why did both the number and salary of U.S. anthropologists shoot up right around 2002/03?” The only thing I could think of is Human Terrain Systems, but could that really be the case?  (By the way, for those of you who don’t know what HTS is, you can get a taste of the hub-bub in anthropology about it here)

So I checked the Bureau of Labor Statistics and, sure enough, in 2008 almost half of all Anthropologists worked for the Federal Executive branch.  What gives?

Well, I think part of the answer is increased employment by anthropologists in the Bush-era federal security apparatus (of which the HTS), but also part of the issue is that most people who I would recognize as “anthropologists” are in fact “Educators” according to the BLS…  So we have a reversal of the traditional American Anthropological Association Meetings status hierarchy: “applied” anthropologists are the “real” ones and Professors are merely postsecondary education specialists in the field…

Maybe this is old news to some people, but it does probably require that we pause for a moment and think about what we mean by an “anthropologist” in the, at times quite heated, debate about the ethical implications of such anthro-security collaborations… or at least the bureaucratic content of the category being mobilized within such collaborations


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