Weiss, Margot. "Collaboration: Integration." Correspondences, Cultural Anthropology website, October 16, 2016.



Contributed date

July 3, 2018 - 4:35pm

Critical Commentary

I want to use this Integration essay to explore complicity as a way to think about our collaborations not so much with others, but with the neoliberal institutions that both enable and constrain our intellectual work. Often in activist anthropology, the institution within which our knowledge is produced—the university—is curiously absent. Activist academics typically imagine that collaboration entails us working “on behalf of social movements or others in struggle,” as Michal Osterweil puts it in her piece. But as Dana-Ain Davis and Elizabeth Chin argue , in different contexts, when we take for ourselves the arrogant role of assisting others who may not want our help or when we assume that they have much to learn from us, but we have nothing transformative to learn from them, we reproduce the divisions between anthropologist/informant or expert/object that collaboration is intended to undermine.