Weaponizing Anthropology documents how anthropological knowledge and ethnographic methods are harnessed by military and intelligence agencies in post-9/11 America to placate hostile foreign populations. … Price’s inquiry into past relationships between anthropologists and the CIA, FBI, and Pentagon provides the historical base for this expose of the current abuses of anthropology by military and intelligence agencies. … Price examines the specific uses of anthropological knowledge in military doctrine that have appeared in a new generation of counterinsurgency manuals and paramilitary social science units like the Human Terrain Teams.
TLDR; In the 1950s USA looked at the tactics of the USSR in dealing with “inferior tribes.” The USSR encouraged various non-Russian tribes/ethnos in the Empire to embrace earlier folk customs. The Russians took a “spectator” role and the inferior tribe took a “performance” role.
Instead of integration into the Russian tribe, or technological and social advancement leading to competition with the Russians, the “inferior tribe” was to look to an idealized past. They would embrace archaic styles of clothing that would set them apart from the Russian tribe. The tribe was to embrace a simple and rural life largely separate from the Russians. The Russians, in turn, would support their folk arts and festivals.
Then the US had the 1960s, in which a brand new kind of popular culture was distributed over the newest mass media technology, television. All of a sudden you had “hippies” dressing like cowboys and Indians, talking about “getting back to the land” and even an early form of “survivalism.”
For Blacks, there was “Afro-centrism” where older African tradition was to be reborn or re-imagined. Africans would not integrate, but set themselves apart with unusual African names, archaic styles of dress, and an embrace of “African tradition.” They would “perform” their culture for the Whites, and the Whites would be their appreciative “spectators.”
This had the effect of easing these people out of mainstream society and having them regress, not progress, in terms of technology and socially. Hippies were certainly not going to stage a coup, disrupt a market, or run for political office.
You want to keep an idea from spreading? Turn it into a subculture. Make sure people who are associated with that idea dress in a certain way, use certain symbols, listen to specific kinds of music, have particular consumer tastes, or otherwise set themselves apart from “normal” society. The more the subculture alienates the wider society, the more unique and colorful it is, the better.
So you don’t want Occupy Wall Street types to be orderly, normal, well-dressed middle class people. You want them to be hippies camping out. You want them to be screaming and militant. You want them to “look like protestors.”
You want them to “perform.”
Wave a camera around and someone will stick their face in front of it – this is like an Iron Law of human behavior.