RECENT BOOK: Edited volume on making meaningful, social connections

Reinventing and Reinvesting in the Local book jacket
Reinventing and Reinvesting in the Local book jacket

A growing number of cultural anthropologists and others in allied disciplines are doing ethnographic fieldwork in the communities where they live and work. Essays in Reinventing and Reinvesting in the Local for Our Common Good describe an engaged local anthropology that contributes to the common good by informing social change and public policy.

The edited volume includes examples of citizen or student involvement in ethnographic research: Residents of a rural community were both subjects and collaborators on a study of cultural attachment to land. A group of American university students on an international travel course and their South African peer mentors explored racism and cultural differences in an immersive fieldwork experience.

One essay traces the discipline’s evolving understanding of the ethnographer’s relationship to the community being studied—from dispassionate observer to critically self-conscious participant-observer. Another heralds the success of an unconventional local initiative: a popular radio drama shows great promise for raising HIV awareness among young women in Botswana. A final essay makes a plea for broad public engagement in improving the lives of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

These chapters are based on papers presented at the the Southern Anthropological Society (SAS) hosted by Brian Hoey in Huntington, West Virginia in 2016.

Find the book at the University of Tennessee Newfound Press.


Brian A. Hoey is professor of anthropology and associate dean of the Honors College at Marshall University. He is the author of Opting for Elsewhere: Lifestyle Migration in the American Middle Class and co-author (with Luke Eric Lassiter and Elizabeth Campbell) of I’m Afraid of that Water: A Collaborative Ethnography of a West Virginia Water Crisis.