This article is framed within the field that studies anthropology through its institutions. Using the applied anthropology degree program at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana in Ecuador as a case study, the article intends to show that the applied character of anthropology is a permanent, inherent, and necessary feature at every stage but especially in training. This work goes beyond the understanding of applied as a dispensable sub-discipline that embraces the function of solving problems that intertwine sociocultural diversity with development, education, health, and public policies, that is, the view that applied anthropology is one possibility among others but one which is possible to do without. The concrete experienced reviewed in this work shows distinctive elements, for example, the critical indigenism that conditioned the beginning of the applied anthropology program. As shown throughout this work, from the beginning, the program’s academic design valued anthropology as a set of conceptual and methodological resources capable of promoting intercultural processes, putting together activists’ networks, and shaping local wisdom, all the while upholding indigenous peoples’ and nationalities’ autonomies. The article prioritizes identifying traits that signify the applied dimension of anthropology based on the degree’s life and concrete academic praxis.1 Evidence emerges from archives, reflective essays on experience and, mainly, testimonials from alumni that fulfill an ideal criterion: activists and militants in indigenous territories or intercultural experiences. We conclude that what is applied is a necessary and inherent dimension of anthropological wisdom based on the assumption that “in-territory” training provides epistemic and pedagogical advantages relevant to the practice of anthropology.

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