How Others See Us: Anthropologists, WikiLeaks, and the Vertical Slice

In: Public Anthropologist
David H. Price Professor of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Martin’s University, Lacey, Washington, USA,

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Drawing on Laura Nader’s concept of the vertical slice, this article reviews the hundreds of instances where the work of anthropologists, or anthropologists themselves appear in the leaked US State Department documents known as the “Manning Cables” published by WikiLeaks. The analysis of these documents shows anthropologists engaging with the US government in various ways, including in advisory capacities or bringing cultural or political knowledge from peripheral geographical regions to the core. Ethical, political, and disciplinary dimensions of these interactions are discussed, and Nader’s conception of the vertical slice is used to distinguish political dimensions of these anthropological engagements with state power.

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