Friday

How to be(come) a creative anthropologist

I spent all the 4 years of my undergraduate program (in Advertising) learning how to be creative (among other practical matters). The literature and professors used to defend that creativity can be learned. I was told that some specific techniques allied to the practice of creative thinking would work even for the most hopeless case. To become creative seemed to demand hard work, patience, and perseverance. However, that was not for me. I was feeling fine and blessed in my condition of "naturally creative". I wouldn't take me more than a couple of minutes to come up with a great slogan or jingle; I imediatly sensed what would be an appropriate media strategy for a specific client, and I could shoot ideas endlessly during brainstorm sessions with my colleagues. I never had to think how painful it would be if I had to make the effort to be creative.

However, at some point I decided to leave the comfort zone and years after I find myself learning something new - something I would say some people are simply born to do. I'm trying to do good ethnographic field work. Yes, like an anthropologist.
And - what a coincidence - this learning process requires the practice of a specific way of seeing the world and thinking about it. I need to learn many techniques that are pretty new to me and it also demands hard work, patience, and perseverance.
Well, I'm willing to make the effort.

PS: The link on the title will take you to Grant McCracken's blog - and his great post ""How to think like an anthropologist".