The professional history of anthropology spans barely one century. Its second half-century has been revisionist of the first. Anthropology has been a discipline in crisis, a cul-de-sac, perennially contemplating its own imminent demise.
But has doing anthropology changed?
Anthropology is an eclectic discipline and gets more eclectic.
Roy D’Andrade (1995), echoing Ernest Gellner, sums up how anthropology operates as “agenda hopping”. Investigation reveals not only complexity, requiring more and more effort to generate anything new, but whatever is found seems less and less interesting. “When this happens, a number of practitioners may defect to another agenda – a new direction of work in which there is some hope of finding something really interesting.”