Recently I have been thinking about how to apply my anthropology knowledge and ethnographer skills to work in organizations. Through the multiple experts, consultants and applied social scientists I met, there seems to be two different visions of the “applied social sciences expert”. On the one hand, there is the traditional consultant who comes with solutions based on his or her specific knowledge; this is the vision we often find in management consulting. On the other hand, there is a less mundane vision of expertise which is based on shared experience, learning and where the solutions are co-created by both parties. I think this vision has something to do with an hermeneutic epistemology and I will try to show that anthropology has the needed skills to act as a co-creation agent.
An ecosystem metaphor is often used to describe an industry as a whole, like a cluster, but having a more “lively” aspect. Montreal’s videogame industry promoters I met while doing my master thesis used the expression to describe the industry’s nature nowadays. It carries a strong living aspect as all parts make a whole organism, appearing to be one of the most valued industry in Montreal. However, as I argued in my master thesis: «We should not limit the ecosystem metaphor to its vivacity; ecosystem can easily be unbalanced and even destroyed by an external change.» (Pineault, 2014: 69) Anthropology’s Functionalists made an extensive use of the organic analogy in their attempts to explain culture and critics have showed its limit. In this short article, I would like to explain why we must be cautious about using the ecosystem to describe an industrial or creative cluster.
I recently subscribed to LinkedIn, wanting to know how video game developers use it as a tool to promote themselves in the developers community. I made my own cv-profile and rapidly got “in touch” with a few of them but I asked myself: hummm….what’s next? Okay, well, I’ve done my CV things but what can I do next? Facebook, for example, gives much more options to interact or share with friends but…wait! They aren’t friends but contacts, professional contacts who insert in a network that celebrate employability. What does it mean?