OAC Online Seminar: Ted Fischer on “The Good Life”

The Open Anthropology Cooperative (OAC) is a great source for open access content, especially through its publishing arm, the OAC Press.  To me, this is one of the most promising efforts in Open Access anthropology out there–and I think more people need to take note of what’s going on over there.  There is tremendous potential with what they are doing in terms of publishing, disseminating, sharing, and communicating anthropology to wider audiences.  Check out the Interventions Series, Book Reviews, and finally the Working Papers Series.

One of the best parts to me is the online seminar.  Here’s how it all works: basically, when papers are first posted, there is a period of a couple of weeks in which readers are invited to post their thought and comments, and engage in an extended conversation not only with the author of the paper, but also other members of the OAC community and readership.  For me, this is a really valuable way to approach publication and dissemination–readers can post comments and responses directly, and instantly.  I think it makes for a pretty fascinating dynamic, one that is quite different from what we get from traditional print journals.

The latest in the Working Papers Series is Edward F. Fischer’s “The Good Life: Values, Markets, and Wellbeing.”  The online seminar started a couple of days ago, and will run for a couple of weeks.   During this time readers are invited to download Fischer’s paper, give it a read, and then join in the seminar by posting their thoughts and comments.  Here’s a snippet from Huon Wardle’s introduction to the seminar:

Ted Fischer’s paper takes us directly into a topic of increasing importance in development studies and which should be important to anthropologists too. It seems hard to doubt that in every human community there circulate ideas and images of what a good life means. Notions of the good life clearly vary from society to society, from individual to individual and even from moment to moment. Whatever the good life may consist in situationally we can hardly doubt that it is and has always been an object of sustained human thought and aspiration and that what people imagine about it will affect how they act in the world…

The link to the seminar is here.  Fischer’s paper can be downloaded here.  Check it out, take part, comment, chime in with your 2 cents–it’s worth it.  And don’t worry, joining the OAC is free.


Ryan Anderson is a cultural and environmental anthropologist. His current research focuses on coastal conservation, sustainability, and development in the Californias. He also writes about politics, economics, and media. You can reach him at ryan AT savageminds dot org or @anthropologia on twitter.

One thought on “OAC Online Seminar: Ted Fischer on “The Good Life”

  1. Thanks for posting this Ryan. Ted’s paper and the longer book manuscript of which it is a précis are, indeed, worth reading and discussing in detail, for anyone interested in happiness studies or the moral basis of economics.

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