Celebrating the Cutting Edge

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This paper examines and celebrates the notion of the “cutting edge” as it applies to ethnographic praxis in industry. First of all, EPIC is the first-ever business anthropology conference. Secondly, the conference is just one example of the growth and mainstreaming of the field of design anthropology. Thirdly, the field of design is, after all, all about innovation, and anthropologists who work in this area can provide examples of leading practices to anthropologists working in other domains of application. At the same time, design anthropologists can also learn from more mature varieties of practice. For instance, thoughtful practitioners in other fields have come to regard themselves as “scholar-practitioners,” rejecting the dichotomization of scholarship and practice. Adopting such an identity would serve those design anthropologists well who are engaged in branding efforts to highlight the importance of their analytical training and skills.

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