On April 24, 2018 from 8am-6pm in Tech Town, Detroit, leaders from the business anthropology community will be joining for the first annual Global Business Anthropology Summit.

The Purpose of the Global Business Anthropology Summit

The purpose of the Global Business Anthropology Summit is to bring together an international group of practitioners and scholars to reflect on future directions for the field, training priorities for the next generation, and ways to strengthen our global networks.

The summit will have multiple objectives:

  • Critically examine the concept of Business Anthropology, recognizing that the terms “enterprise,” “business” and “anthropology” have multiple complex connotations for different audiences
  • Identify leading practices of anthropologists in such areas as change management, design, environmental and cultural sustainability, user experience research, marketing and consumer behavior, and other specialties
  • Build a consensus on research and training priorities for the next generation of Business Anthropologists
  • Identify current research priorities in the sectors of industry that use anthropological and ethnographic methods, and what unique contributions anthropologists can make
  • Strengthen a global network of academic and practicing Business Anthropologists:   at present, as evidenced by occupational titles, and publications in business anthropology journals, there are more than 300 business anthropologists around the world, and probably hundreds more beyond these
  • Work with established and emerging networks and organizations that are friendly to business anthropology, e.g. AAA, EPIC, NAPA, and SfAA, as well as the Ethnography Hangout on Slack and businessanthro.com, to advance all of the above

What is Business Anthropology?

Business Anthropology is defined by the use of anthropological concepts and tools to solve practical problems in contemporary enterprises, including business, public entities, and civil society organizations.  As an academic specialty, it additionally interrogates the place of business in the larger society and surrounding institutions of government and civil society.  As Business Anthropology engages with these sectors not only to solve problems, but also to discover new opportunities and to develop new theoretical insights, it is perhaps the most rapidly growing branch of the discipline of anthropology today, as evidenced by employment growth and new publication venues.

Business Anthropology embraces concerns with product development, marketing and consumer behavior, organizational performance, international business, user experience (UX), design, innovative financial instruments, sustainability, and new forms of business in emerging economies. Several hundred applied anthropologists on all continents around the world are working in domains such as these. We propose to bring their experience and insights to the greater attention of academic anthropologists, with the goal to help inform the future of academic business anthropology programming.