Being an anthropologist for hire should prove remunerative If all goes well, you should be able to use your consulting income to fund…something else.
It could be being a really great mom. It could be working on that career in stand-up comedy. It could be making yourself the world’s expert in Bolivian tin mining, 1920-1932.
My hope is that you will be an anthropologist here too. I hope you will study American culture for clients and then study it again for yourself. It’s a pretty straight forward proposition. And God knows there is plenty of work to do. The academic anthropologists have pretty much forsaken the study of their own culture. If you don’t do it, who’s going to?
The good thing about an anthropologist who does not depend on tenure and promotion committees or government grants is that we can go our own way. The academic anthropologist is thoroughly shaped by his or her community…and, dude, does it show. There is a consensus at work in their world that has shut down all but the most approved discourse. Indeed, the only community that conforms to Foucault’s nutty idea is the academic one that embraced it as an account of the rest of us.
The advantage of being an anthropologist by day and by night is that the two halves of your career can work together. When you are collected data for commercial purposes, you will see things that serve your academic interests. And vice versa. Indeed, I like to think that my clients are paying for one day, but they are actually getting two. All my academic work is there at their disposal when I am "on the job."
But I should warn you. Doing both sides of the proposition did not come easily to me and it may not come easily to you.. In fact, it was like riding uneven circus ponies for much of the time. It was sometimes miserable. It cost me my first marriage and it induced in my a reckless disregard for my self interest. Oh, poor me. Forgive the self pity. But I am obliged to tell you what you’re getting in to.
The upside is pretty interesting. You are you’re own man or woman. You can chose your own questions. You can go your own way. A culture awaits you.