When anthropology started it was a small field comprised of four disciplines

When anthropology started it was a small field comprised of four disciplines, biological, cultural, linguistics, and archaeology. As more people joined the field, anthropology broke off into more narrow subdivisions. Anthropologists can now be found studying in many different fields. We can now find anthropologists studying anything from banking to ancient civilizations.
Eric Wolf was especially critical of the specialization of anthropology. He thought that the specialization of anthropology made it harder to figure out what was actually anthropology, and that specialization has turned anthropology upside down. Laura Nader talks about specialization a a natural growth of the field and as a positive course of events. Wolf fails to show any evidence of real harm done to the field by specialization. He actually makes a more compelling argument for specialization by providing many examples of the good that came out of specialization.
Eric Wolf says that specialization has, “undermined their intellectual sense of security”. He shows an example of how we view culture changed over the years due to specialization. Wolf states “Culture, once extended to all acts and ideas employed in social life, was now relegated to the margins and “world view” or “values”.” Wolf seems to view specialization as an attack to anthropology. Through out his article he uses words like “assailed” to try to drive this point home, but he never showed how any of this really impacted anthropology in a bad way. Then towards the end of the article he lists all these great ideas that came from specialization. Wolf states “The result of anthropology’s eclecticism is that the field continues to astound by its diverse and colorful activity.” Then he goes on to talk about how anthropologists from one field are using the works of people from other fields to broaden their understanding. He does mention in fighting between anthropologist, but he doesn’t provide any proof that it was due to specialization. For all I know it could bee caused by anything. Wolf also seems to be conflicted about what he thinks of specialization and I get the impression that he is using this article to try to work out his thoughts on the subject. Wolf asserts that there are concerns about what anthropology is becoming, but he doesn’t provide anything to back up this statement. The tone of the article to me seems to be that of a petulant child that doesn’t want to share his toy with anyone else.
Laura Nader takes a different view to the specialization of anthropology. In chapter one page 10 it is stated “As previously mentioned, anthropologists working in African agriculture have observed the devastating effects of a scientific preference for universal explanations that override ecological partscularisms and site-specific subsistence knowledge. ” The example given is about food and how inefficient industrialized agriculture actually is especially for countries that are just starting out. What may work in one area may not be the best for other areas, and the specialization of anthropology takes all the different variables into account. Nader goes into detail on how anthropology has not only shaped other disciplines, but how they have shaped anthropology. Now we have anthropologist that study banking and how it relates to terrorism. Nader talks about specialization of anthropology as if it was a natural progression of the field and not as if it is something to be afraid of.
My impressions from Wolf’s article is that he does not support his claim that specialization was an attack on anthropology. He doesn’t back up his claims with facts. He uses fear of the unknown to try to back up his claims, and that isn’t sufficient evidence to show that there was any real harm done to anthropology. Especially when he himself goes on to list many great achievements that have happened because of specialization. I will agree that anthropology was turned on its head and that some of the ideas may have been vague for awhile, but I do not see this as an attack. Quite the opposite I see it as a field growing upon their prior knowledge and applying it to other areas of interest to learn even more. After all how can we study a culture if we aren’t studying the entire culture from many different views and angles? If we keep our view narrow then our answers will be narrow. The more we expand upon our knowledge the more we can understand the world we live in and the people that live in it.