Oh Wait, Rick Scott Loves Anthropology!

The Saint Petersburg Times is reporting that Florida Governor Rick Scott, who last week said anthropologists were not needed in the state, now loves people who major in anthropology.

Scott told the [Westshore Alliance] he wants to emphasize science, technology, engineering and math degrees, or “degrees in things where you can get jobs.” Scott faced criticism last week when he told a radio talk show host that Florida doesn’t need “a lot more anthropologists in this state.”

One of Scott’s daughters, Jordan Kandah, has an anthropology degree from the College of William and Mary.

“I love anthropology degrees, just so you know,” Scott told the crowd of about 400, which included Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Scott then recounted a phone conversation with his daughter after the story broke.

“‘Dad, do you know I’m the No. 1 story on Yahoo! today?'” Scott said, mimicking his daughter to laughter.

Still, a quick laugh cannot hide his main emphasis on STEM degrees as the only ones that offer jobs, and that funding should be shifted in that direction and presumably away from the social sciences and liberal arts.

Link to St. Pete Times’ At Tampa stop, Gov. Rick Scott says, ‘I love anthropology degrees’. But really there’s not much more there related to anthropology.


Tampa Bay Online provides a slightly different view of Scott’s comments on anthropology today, more in line with what I suggested above. Here is a relevant piece from Scott dings anthropology, showcases local manufacturing:

Gov. Rick Scott says he loves anthropology majors. He just wants them to know there may be no jobs for them when they graduate.

Science and technology majors, on the other hand, are the ones who will boost the Florida economy, he said…

Scott repeated here some observations that brought him attention last week, saying anthropology – the science of comparing human societies – is less desirable in today’s job market and suggesting state-funded colleges should shift resources to programs in science, math and technology.

That set Scott up for some criticism from his own daughter, Jordan, an anthropology major, who told her father that she didn’t appreciate being a news topic.

Scott told the Tampa crowd he took note of the criticism, but told both his daughters, “Look, you have to get degrees in things where you can get jobs.”

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6 Responses to Oh Wait, Rick Scott Loves Anthropology!

  1. Avery says:

    Does PLoS have any journals which publish reports from the social sciences?

  2. septic tank says:

    I’ve checked the link for PLoS journals its great, I love the PLoS genetics journal.

  3. gregdowney says:

    I agree with Daniel, but Avery brings up a good point, well, a couple good discussions.
    1) Why don’t more social and cultural anthropologists learn to write for journals like PLoS which are opening up science publishing much more broadly? Some of our colleagues do, and there’s some excellent ‘cultural evolution’ and interesting theoretical pieces, many of which should be more widely read by anthropologists, in journals like PLoS ONE, PNAS, or the Proceedings of the Royal Society. We should work as a discipline to get more anthropology (all types) in these big, open access journals (I can’t remember if Proceedings is…, now that I think about it).
    2) We need one of our own. If we can’t get PLoS Anthro or PLoS Social, I’d still put my hand up to volunteer for a genuine open access alternative for our discipline, something like the Journal of Anthropological Research or Anthropological Quarterly up-sized or Current Anthropology turned into open access. From my experience with the ‘future of publishing’ webinar by AAA over the weekend (more on that tomorrow), I’m not holding my breath.

  4. anonymous says:

    Not intending to offend anyone with this. IMO as a socio-cultural anthro PhD candidate, some of the problems with publishing are not necessarily in the scarcity of journals. For me there is a problem in that I have worked with what can be called “vulnerable populations.” There are very few people who do the type of work I do, very few people informed about what those people’s world consists of even with the false sense of “knowledge” about the world created by the internet, which I have grown to despise despite the fact I spend time on it. Therefore, the material that is published – reacheable, accessible, etc. might have a big impact on the populations. They themselves do not have access to the material since very few people I knew in the field even knew what the internet was at the time I did my research. Many of them are semi-literate and very few of them spoke English (presuming that it is easier to get published in English than in the language they speak). In fact, “openness” “open society” “open access” etc. presumes a lot of things. For me it is another ideology that will ultimately place further division between those with any access and those whose access is restricted by factors listed above or internet interceptions as has been my case. I’m not kidding about the interception by the way – I have evidence, a case number with zero resolution to the problem.

    The potential impact (negative for example) of what is written about vulnerable populations is very high. There is more room for errors in that much of this is left to interpretation and materials available. It is a point of consideration that prevents one from publishing as much as people do in the sciences.

    In looking for some information relevant to me in terms of resolving an external problem unrelated to my work, I discovered that there is much that has been published in the sciences that leads to stereotyping of people with particular illnesses, that is debatable since it is also quite open to interpretation despite the number of statistics and math used, that is based on small group samples without regard to the background of the subject populations, that involves concepts of universality which are truly inapplicable when social factors are indicated, etc. The rush and the pressure to publish can lead to errors or misjudgements that negatively impact other people.

    For this reason I prefer conferences – I can hear what people are doing at the moment, I can question issues presented in front of me, I can interact with other people who work on similar things, and the material is often reworked by the speaker *prior* to publication. I can present my material and have it challenged or have people bring up issues that encourage or discourage parts of my work. While “blogs” and other forms of public debate might work for some things, it has a kind of internet *permanence* that prevents the discussion of the material prior to analysis by others who are either impacted by the work or are working in similar areas.

  5. Pingback: this is anthropology | xirdalium

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