Continuing a discussion initiated by Paul Roscoe in the pages of this journal, this essay situates positivism as a social and philosophic movement adversarily responding to the "negative dialectic" of 18th- and 19th-century critical philosophy. Notably, positivistic ideologies and practices have been manifest in cultural anthropology, linguistic analysis without "meaning,," and "the new archaeology." Because funding agencies have accepted the positivistic claim that it embodies "the scientific method," interpretivists and other dissidents have had to become "rice positivists," while graduate programs have required that research be fitted into a scenario of "hypothesis testing" of "theoretical problems."
American Anthropologist is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. The journal advances the Association's mission through publishing articles that add to, integrate, synthesize, and interpret anthropological knowledge; commentaries and essays on issues of importance to the discipline; and reviews of books, films, sound recordings, and exhibits.