Original paper

Aktueller Stand und Zukunft des Fachgebietes Anthropologie Schlusscommunique Standortvertretertreffen der Gesellschaft für Anthropologie (GfA), März 2009

Rühli, F. Schiefenhövel

Anthropologischer Anzeiger Volume 67 No. 3 (2009), p. 317 - 319

published: Sep 1, 2009

DOI: 10.1127/0003-5548/2009/0038

BibTeX file

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The primary goal discussed is to strengthen the scientifically important research discipline of anthropology in the coming years by reinforcing its position in the German university system as a trans-disciplinary field and to edify its image within the public eye. Like many other branches of science, anthropology has witnessed a number of profound changes in the university sphere in recent years. In addition to increased reliance on monetary funding, the fundamental structure of research and teaching in the university sector, the product of centuries-old development, is experiencing a transition phase and progressively operating ever more under the influence of “excellence monitoring” as well as the “Bologna” process. Financial cuts have led to the termination of once fix job positions at all levels, whereby the loss of mid-level positions requisite for a healthy and functional junior academic environment, such as post-doc jobs, is particularly unsettling. The still tangible burden of recent historical events and small number of prominent representatives in the field are problematic, however, the primary concern today involves the seemingly imminent closure of established anthropological centres and discontinuation of department chair positions. Fortunately, this ominous trend does not apply to all leading university departments, many of which are engaged in innovative and novel concepts, and has resulted in their general acceptance and the fortification of anthropology programs. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure adequate funding for projects from money givers such as the DFG, mainly because of the relatively small size of the field. Specialization within the field at the university level obviously poses a serious problem for such a small holistic discipline (with regards to problem statements and methodology). The definition of anthropology as an entity is complicated by external influences such as newly developing research interests that are arising parallel to the disappearance of specific scientific areas. Yet some of these influences are proving advantageous and offer the potential for future avenues of work. The field's high visibility has led to substantial student registration potentially yielding a large base of young scientists. Within the framework of Bologna, both interdisciplinary cooperation and the methodological diversity offered by the field will allow for an attractive curriculum. The recent introduction of tuition fees has also resulted in new money for anthropology programs. (English summary: G. McGlynn, München)