Anthropology in Business with Matt Artz
Anthropology in Business with Matt Artz
Kasper Tang Vangkilde on Anthropology in Business with Matt Artz
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In this episode of the , Kasper Tang Vangkilde speaks with  about his career as a . Kasper discusses the challenges of bridging the gap between academic anthropology and applied anthropology and the importance of breaking down the distinction between the two. He shares the changes he has seen in the field of business anthropology over the past 15 years, including the integration of design and anthropology. Kasper expands on that and highlights the value of design anthropology in studying and changing organizations. Finally, he discusses his new role as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Business Anthropology and his current research project, RE-ANIMATE, which explores visionary designs for life-enhancing economies.

About Kasper Tang Vangkilde

Kasper Tang Vangkilde is an Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Business Anthropology. His research interests lie at the nexus of business, organizational, and design anthropology, with a focus on formulating theoretical frameworks for understanding social and cultural dimensions in corporate settings as well as enhancing the applicability of anthropological methods in societal and business contexts. His recent work delves into “life-enhancing design,” examining its implications for human and non-human life and its integration into organizational sustainability and responsibility. Vangkilde’s past scholarship covers an array of topics, including creativity, branding, and organizational structures, and he has also applied anthropological approaches in the private sector.

Key Takeaways

  • Anthropology can be applied to the study of business and organizations, and it is important to break down the distinction between academic anthropology and applied anthropology.
  • The field of business anthropology has evolved over the past 15 years, with more anthropologists actively working in organizations and making an impact through their research.
  • Design anthropology offers valuable perspectives on studying and changing organizations, as it bridges the gap between research and application.
  • The ReAnimate project explores new ways visions for the economy with a focus on regenerating human and non-human life and draws on the concept of animism to understand modern tendencies.


00:01:19 – Kasper shares how he got interested in anthropology
00:03:00 – Coincidences led Kasper to study anthropology and fashion
00:05:00 – Kasper’s interest in consumption and material culture studies
00:07:00 – Kasper’s PhD focus on creativity and fashion
00:08:00 – Business anthropology was perceived as new and marginal in the discipline
00:10:00 – Kasper’s mission to show business anthropology as a legitimate field
00:11:00 – Using classic anthropological notions to understand business organizations
00:13:00 – Changes in the field of business anthropology in the last 15 years
00:14:23 – The history of business anthropology and its presence in academia.
00:16:00 – The emergence of design anthropology and its value in bridging research and application.
00:19:00 – Breaking down the distinction between academic and applied anthropology.
00:24:00 – The role of the Journal of Business Anthropology in facilitating discussion and exchange of ideas.
00:27:39 – Encouraging non-standard research articles in the Journal of Business and Policy
00:28:58 – Introduction to the RE-ANIMATE project
00:29:15 – Crisis in the world and the need for a different economic system
00:32:00 – Four subprojects in the RE-ANIMATE project

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