John O'Brien Born 1941 in East Liverpool, Ohio in a working class family established in the pottery and ceramics industry along the banks of the Ohio River, 30 miles from Pittsburgh. Graduated from highschool with the `perfect - C' average in 1959 . . . then off to Athens, Ohio and Ohio University. My step- father died in October of '59 of a cerebral hemorrage, and after two years of emotional floating at O.U (major in psych and minor in theatre) it was off to DC to take a job with the Navy Dept. under the Kennedy Administration. Two years, one marriage, a contract stint as a programmer with NASA at Cape Canaveral and one assasination later - it was time to go back to finish a BA, which was done at la Universidad de las Americas in Mexico. Thus, after exposure to a totally different culture with a rich but destroyed heritage . . .led to a love of anthropology. When the marriage caved in during the upheavels and drug culture of the late 60's, after graduation in '65 and after my ex-wife taking off to live in Zihuateneho and smoke dope, it was on to NYC for a stint in Advertising and Marketing research with Y&R . . . a scholarship with Uta Hagen's studio and a few years of off-off broadway work along with earning a better living than I now do. In 1970 it was MA time, and a year's field work in Mexico based in the U. of A. and working with Nahuatl speakers in Guerrero. '71 saw a broken neck a remarriage and a move to Santa Barbara after the accident. Late '71 saw admittance to the Europeanist program at U. Mass and an eventual MA as an ethnologist - commuting six months each year to Santa Barbara where my wife was doing an MA in technical theatre. '74 was a divorce at the end of the MA program, and '76 was admitted to UCLA's doctoral program in Anthro plus a remarriage. '76 & '77 saw a remarriage- a stint at Berkeley with Gene Hammel and George DeVos as a visiting scholar, a reserch grant that took me to the Gaeltacht in Ireland and Montreal in Quebec for pilot field work . . . as well as a complete financial collapse as the economy went through the Carter inflation. The UCLA degree never got finished, . . . so it was the joint Ph. D. program at Kent State and the University of Akron in the mid '80's that finally say the degree finished in '91. After that it was an immediate post-doc with David Heise at Indiana University to study the sociology/anthropology of emotions (funded by NIMH) . . . which NIMH killed the funding for totally in 1993. In the interim, there are ten years of teaching experience and about twenty of research and consulting . . . as well as the current unemployment at the end of this stint as a visiting assistant professor with the Anthro. Dept. here. My interests of course tend to run to general systems, futures, cognitive and symbolic studies, social problems and social anthropology - with a massive dose of theory thrown in and theory development. My daughter is now 16, live with her grandmother in LA. My ex from '76 is a folklore archivist in Middlebury, Vermont . . . and my dog is a seven year old yellow lab . . . my car an '82 Subaru - my other car a '56 volkswagen - and both on their last legs. What I do is study the feasibility of linking culture as a mental system and culture as a social system . . . thus, my background is broad - generalist and spans both sociology and anthropology. I'm published, one book in the works as soon as I can pull together the income to take the pressure off so that I can finish the final revision for the published (already committed) and no job . . . not surprising at age 52 just coming onto the job market in a period of anti-intellectualism and downsizing . . . but a real pain in *** none-the-less. My specialization is model building, technique of replicating qualitative perceptions with empirically measurable data from emic sources . . . and using that data to predict probable social behaviors . . . a far cry from the qualitative field work I was trained to do, but still dealing with the identification of emic meaning and still highly qualitative in both concept and application. My guess is that I will draw social security before getting a full-time academic appointment, especially with the way departments evaluate background and hire these days - and especially with the strange priorities that have begun to develop. My research is neither post-modern nor positivist, rather it leads to a synthesis that transcends both . . . based on a suggestion made by Bateson: if the problem can't be solved at one level, analyze it a level higher.
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