Dear members of the Slovak anthropological, ethnological and ethnographic community!
In these difficult times, when there is an open aggression of one state towards another – of the Russian Armed Forces towards Ukraine – it is the duty of us, anthropologists as social scientists, to stand up for peace and firmly say “NO!” to war.
Anthropology teaches us to appreciate the diversity of cultures and social life, and thus allows us to look at the world beyond national borders. The words of anthropologist Ruth Benedict resonate with us – ‘the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences’. Herein lies the possibility of human unity as opposed to violence, disruption, killing. Fascinated by the diversity of social life and believing in the unity of humanity, many of us have conducted field research in Ukraine and Russia. Today, it is all the more important to act in the spirit of this knowledge and experience.
We stand firmly with the people of Ukraine who are the victims of aggression. We have established email communication with the Ethnology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and with our Ukrainian colleagues. At the same time, we understand that there are also victims in Russia where more than a third of the population is against the war, is ashamed of their government’s actions and therefore faces repression from their own state. Discursive conceiving of the conflict in terms of nations is therefore detrimental to the restoration of peace. The main source of aggression is the Kremlin.
We also agree with the letter signed by more than a hundred Russian anthropologists that is addressed to the president and government of the Russian Federation, requesting the de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine (https://www.change.org/p/russian-president-and-russian-government-stop-the-war-in-ukraine).
We are convinced that anthropologists can influence life in the country not only through field research and academic work but certainly also by communicating the ideals of their discipline to state leaders and fellow citizens.
Anthropologists from the Slovak Association of Social Anthropology are against the war!