Advocacy anthropology and education: Working through the binaries

Norma González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This article considers the role of anthropologists of education as social critics in contemporary issues concerning education, teaching, and learning. The field of anthropology and education has deep roots in critiques of schools and schooling, and anthropology research and knowledge has been effective in interrogating the structural inequities of educational policy and practice. Yet anthropological theorizing can be appropriated into political agendas, and concepts such as "culture" can be misconstrued as impediments to academic success. The sociohistorical context for the transfer of the anthropological construct of culture to educational practice is a space where anthropology and education have engaged in the struggle to influence educational policy. Arguments against the binary oppositions of fixed centers and margins are useful for conceptualizing complex intersections of multiple spaces, historical contingencies, and subject positions that students and teachers take up within and outside of schools especially as they relate to immigration, language, and education. The perceived opposition between academic anthropology and applied and advocacy anthropology is also a space for working through the binaries inherent in transdisciplinary work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S249-S258
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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