Glenn Custred, professor emeritus of anthropology at UC East Bay, summarizes how the social currents of the 1960 became institutionalized in social and cultural anthropology:

Beginning in the 1960s, a movement developed in academia with the aim of transforming scholarly pursuits into instruments of social change. It was motivated by intellectually fashionable ideas, such as Marxism and feminism, and by a trendy antipathy towards Western Civilization in general. Eventually it overwhelmed the humanities and deeply affected the social sciences.

The impact of the movement on my field, anthropology, was varied, since anthropology, with its four sub-disciplines, spans the range of scholarly activity from the physical sciences through the social sciences to the humanities. Three of those sub-disciplines (archeology, physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology) have remained mostly unscathed by the efforts to transform anthropology into another politically correct university outpost.

But the largest of the four, sociocultural anthropology (the study of social and cultural variation around the world), has been greatly distorted. It has been redefined from a science to an instrument of political ideology.

Custred draws on the familiar story of Napoleon Chagnon, but also cites a more recent call for “militant” anthropology. Read the whole thing here.