Waldemar Kuligowski: Anthropology as a Counterculture: against Mainstream (from the 1960s until Today)


This article is an attempt to ascertain the relationship between anthropology and counterculture. However, I am interested not so much in artistic affiliations (though, certainly, extremely interesting), but rather in strategies of activity and a specific shared “spirit” of resistance. My assumption is that anthropology has been a critical discipline from its beginnings, transgressing the cultural, social, political, and even moral mainstream. A dialogical, collaborative, advocational, and activist attitude are all hallmarks of an anthropological counterculture. In this context I focus on three unusual events: the American Indian Chicago Conference organized by Sol Tax in 1961, the “teach-in” concept “invented” by Marshall Sahlins in 1965, and the Special Convention of Polish Ethnologists and Anthropologists that took place in 2016. What could be the consequences of such countercultural attitudes for anthropology?

[Poland, Action Anthropology, counterculture, cultural critique, teach-in]