Weaponizing Anthropology – by David Price


I just read this book in almost one sitting. It is most definitely necessary for any student of anthropology, even though it focuses on the US. If you EVER consider working for some form of weaponized anthropology, read this book first please.

Some themes from the book as I understood them and from the data presented. I have not included all the main points as the ones I took note of were the ones I found most interesting (e.g. how non-anthropological weaponized anthropology is, is covered in extensively in the book but I have not made much notes on it for some reason, probably because it should be self-evident without reading the book):

  • Weaponized Anthropology is not just things like the ‘Human Terrain Systems’, but multiple subversive projects running in many US Universities.
  • Academic endeavour becomes guided by military government endeavour, in a feedback loop which is extremely weighted towards the side that holds the most power (particularly financially) e.g. the military government.
  • Anthropology and academia are used to humanise and intellectualise, as a form of justification, inhuman and barbaric efforts for the purposes of those directing and committing them.
  • Weaponized Anthropology promotes a fake idea of culture that self-justifies military barbarism, as it does the opposite of socio-cultural anthropology and promotes stereotypes rather than ethnographically appreciating people.
  • Weaponized anthropology is in any case supporting colonial efforts.
  • Weaponized anthropology allows for new forms of harassment.
  • Weaponized anthropology projects (contracted by private enterprise) continually promote a social scientific lie so that they can secure huge military contracts.
  • Weaponized anthropology generates a panaopticon approach: surveillance ethnography.
  • Weaponized anthropology projects such as the Human Terrain System (HTS) most basically assess whether a population will resist. If they are assessed as going to resist = kill them, not going to resist = colonise them.

This is a partial covering of the themes in this classic of a book, he also touches on Obama’s drone policy, Avatar the film, university campus infiltration etc…

The author suggests a few times, and implies in the conclusion that Weaponized anthropology goes hand in hand with most of what is called ‘humanitarianism’, which could be summarized as: destruction of local support networks, cultural subversion, soft power, economic hitmen, dependency theory, taking away the basic necessities and then providing them scarcely in exchange for compliance etc…

See here if you want a copy – http://www.akpress.org/weaponizinganthropology.html