Architectural anthropology – potentials and pitfalls of mixing disciplines

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Today the majority of anthropologists work in cross-disciplinary and applied environments rather than in the anthropological University departments. At the same time, both private companies and public organisations have over the last decades shown increasing interest in applying anthropological approaches to e.g. understand and involve users, clients and citizens. Several other disciplines currently also approach and embrace anthropological methods, and new sub-disciplines such as design anthropology, architectural anthropology, business anthropology and techno-anthropology have emerged. These developments have broadened the foci and applications of anthropology providing new opportunities for anthropologists, yet the so-called ”hyphen”-anthropology is also subject of critique from within the discipline. The situation of the anthropologist working in cross-disciplinary and applied environments may be considered as a type of disciplinary diaspora: In the foreign land held to be Anthropologist with a capital A, though among anthropologists seen as much more of a hybrid. Rather than regarding this as a matter of disciplinary identity, the paper discusses what kind of anthropology can develop from these cross-disciplinary and applied settings, and how it may contribute to anthropology in general. Based on research and teaching in the field of architectural anthropology, the paper discuss the potentials and pitfalls of mixing approaches from the two disciplines using examples of architects’ approaches to fieldwork. The paper questions whether ‘a little anthropology’ is better than no anthropology, and explores what may supersede anthropology as we know it.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date16 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017
EventMega Seminar Sandbjerg - Sandbjerg, Sønderborg, Denmark
Duration: 16 Aug 201718 Aug 2017


ConferenceMega Seminar Sandbjerg

Cite this