Ineffectual institute

July 25, 2013

The Royal Anthropological Institute’s aborted deal to partner the University of Buckingham in offering a master’s degree in anthropology (“Tribal uprising over Royal Institute-Buckingham anthropology pact”, 11 July) is symptomatic of an institution masquerading as a professional organisation for anthropologists in the UK that does little to promote the interests of either the discipline or UK students.

Decision-making members of the executive are appointed by members of committees and councils, and decisions are made without consultation of the general membership of fellows. These decisions, taken without offering the rank and file any opportunity to vote on them, are presented and ratified as a formality in an annual general meeting.

For more than four decades, I have been a fellow of the RAI and have paid an annual membership fee. During this time, I have never once been offered the opportunity to contribute to any debate or decision-making.

I once raised the issue of the lack of employment opportunities for UK postgraduates, but it was denied and ignored.

The RAI has promoted the terminal decline of anthropology during a time when there has been a corresponding rise in the fortunes of psychology in the UK as advocated and defended by its professional organisation.

The RAI is an oligarchy of professors protecting ever-declining resources in a period when UK students are unlikely to pay extremely high fees for degrees in anthropology given the dire employment prospects. Hence the concern over losing potential MA fees to Buckingham. As it becomes an export-only discipline for funded European Union and international students, it has less relevance and impact in the UK.

Name and address supplied

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham