Anthropology Weeks 6-11
Anthropology Weeks 6-11 Anth 101-01
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WHAT IS ANTHROPOLOGY? 1 Anthropology Tackles the BIG Questions o What makes humans human? o What does it mean to be “human”? o Where have we been as “humans”? o Why is it important to ask these questions? o How can we best study humans? Intro to Anthropology o Literally: “Study of Humans” o Effort to gain an understanding of the evolution, diversity and interaction of human culture and biology o A holistic approach to anthropology includes all four major subfields: Cultural, Archaeological, Linguistic, and Biological Anthropologies. A fifth category, Applied Anthropology, may combine elements of all four Cultural Anthropology o Variations in cultural behaviors among human populations (both current populations and those in the recent past). Culture is learned behavior, including social systems, economic systems, marriage customs, religion, philosophy, mortuary practices, etc. Anything transmitted via learning rather than instinct Linguistic Anthropology o The study of the evolution of language and its relation to culture Archaeology o Archaeological Anthropology: study of cultural behaviors in the historic and prehistoric past through analysis of the culture’s remains Biological/ Physical Anthropology o Biological Anthropology: the biological evolution of humans and human ancestors, and the relationship of humans to other organisms o Patterns of biological variation within and between human populations and individuals Also includes: Osteology, paleopathology, forensics, genetics, primatology, paleoanthropology, human biology, etc. Holistic Research o Many fields of study incorporate multiple subfields Biocultural research Understanding and deconstructing the concept of race WHAT IS ANTHROPOLOGY? 2 Ethnoarchaeology Medical Anthropology Public Archaeology Anthropology of Tourism Ethnoprimatology and conservation research Migration studies Bioarchaeology AND MANY MORE! Anthropology: a “woo-woo” discipline? o Often dismissed due to a misunderstanding of what anthropology is, how it works, and how it can, AND IS, applied to “real-world” problems and interests o Gov. Scott vs. the AAA o Also highlights a critical misconception about the purpose of higher education Science and Anthropology o On-going debate within the discipline o In 2010 the American Association of Anthropologists (AAA) tried to remove the world “science” from a statement outlining the future directions of the discipline o Why might this discussion be problematic? Spawned numerous discussions about the nature and purpose of science in Anthropology and in general ARCHAEOLOGICAL METHODS 1 Goals of Archaeology o Anthropological archaeology has at least four main goals: Reconstruct past human events as they were played out across space and through time Reconstruct past human life ways Explain how and why the past happened as it did Interpret cognitive and symbolic aspects of past cultures Artifacts, Features, & Contexts o Artifacts are tangible objects; anything that was made or modified by people in the past qualifies as an artifact o Features are products of human activity that are integral to a site and not portable o Context describes the spatial and temporal associations existing in the archaeological record among and between artifacts and features. Context o The environmental setting where an archaeological trace is found o Primary context is the setting in which the archaeological trace was originally deposited o A secondary context is one to which it has been moved Maintaining Context o Survey o Mapping o Photography o Stratigraphy Doing Archaeology o Site Survey: The process of discovering the location of archaeological sites; sometimes called the site reconnaissance o Excavation: Systematic, yet destructive process of uncovering, mapping, and removing artifacts from their contextual environment. o Processing, Analysis, and Cataloging of Artifacts: Just as important as excavation and survey! If not more so. Long hours a lab work. o Interpretation: What does it all mean? Taphonomy ARCHAEOLOGICAL METHODS 2 o The study of how bones and other materials came to be buried in the earth and preserved as fossils o A taphonomist studies the processes of sedimentation, the action of streams, preservation properties of bone, and carnivore disturbance factors. Experimental Archaeology o Research that attempts to replicate ancient technologies and construction procedures to test hypotheses about past human activities. Studying Subsistence o Middens: Archaeological sites or features within sites formed largely by the accumulation of domestic waste. o Seasonality and Resource Scheduling: Technique of hunter- gatherers to maximize subsistence by relocating in accord with the availability of key resources at specific times and places throughout the year. o Carrying Capacity: IN an environment, the maximum population of a specific organism that can be maintained at a steady state What were they eating? o Paleothenobotany: The study of ancient plant remains Flotation technique Displaying Culture: Museums o Museum Anthropology looks at how material culture is displayed and portrayed in museums and the purpose and politics of museums Archaeological Ethics o Who owns the past? o Looting o NAGPRA NAGPRA CASE STUDY: Kennewick Man o Discovers in WA in 1996 o Lived ~9,000 years ago o Exemplary case: Legally Ethically Morphologically Archaeologically o Male, ~40 years old Healthy except for some exceptional trauma FORCES OF EVOLUTION ACTING ON POPULATIONS 1 Mendel + Genetics = The Modern Synthesis o Geneticists realized that they had to look at allele FREQUENCCIES in a whole POPULATION to examine evolution, rather than looking at single individuals o Microevolution: changes of allele frequency in a population from one generation to the next o Macroevolution: changes term patterns of genetic change over thousands of millions of generations Accumulation of microevolutionary changes leading to species formation (speciation) and/or extinction. Two speeds: Gradualism Punctuated equilibrium model Population Genetics o Population Genetics: the study of the total pattern of genetic variation in a biological population o Includes frequencies of alleles, genotypes, and phenotypes for an entire population. Allele Frequency: is the relative proportion of each allele within a population (the number of a particular allele divided by the total number of alleles in the population. Genotype Frequency: is the number of individuals with each genotype divided by the total number of individuals in the population. Example: Albinism o Albinism results from a mutation in a gene that produces a protein necessary to create colored skin/fur/feathers o Albinism is a recessive trait, signified by the allele ‘a’ o Thus, an albino must be a homozygote, aa o Normal skin color is there for dominant, signified by the allele ‘A’ o Thus a non-albino could either be homozygous (AA) or heterozygous (Aa) in genotype Forces of Evolution: Mutations o Mutation: introduces new alleles into a population o The original, common, or “normal” version of a gene is called the “wild type” allele. o The new version of the gene (or the abnormal version) is called the mutant allele. Forces of Evolution: Gene Flow (Migration) o Gene Flow: movement of genes (alleles) from one population to another. FORCES OF EVOLUTION ACTING ON POPULATIONS 2 o Gene flow often decreases with increased geographic distance (a phenomenon called isolation by Distance). Forces of Evolution: Natural Selection o Natural Selection: filters genetic variation by changing the likelihood of different alleles being passed on to the next generation o Changes the relative frequencies of alleles. o Selection is due to differential mortality affecting reproduction. Selection against the Dominant Allele o For example, with achondroplastic dwarfism (caused by a dominant allele), although the fitness is not zero, and people born with the disease generally survive to adulthood, they have to lower fecundity (they don’t have as many children) due to both social and biological causes. Constraints on Selection o Selection can only act on variation that is already present o Selection cannot overcome developmental constraints (because organisms’ development is very complicated, some changes are impossible because they would disrupt too many aspects of development) o Selection cannot overcome physical/chemical constraints (those laws of mechanics, gravity, etc.) Forces of Evolution: Genetic Drift o Genetic Drift: random change in allele frequency from one generation to the next due to sampling error o The bigger the population size the smaller the effect of drift on allele frequencies o Small populations are very prone to drift and alleles can go to extremes (fixation) quickly. Genetic Drift: Bottleneck Effect o Population Bottlenecks can cause the same effect, i.e. a bottleneck is a reduction in genetic variation The reduction can be due to disease, war, etc… It’s Still Not So Simple! o Remember, all of the forces are acting at the same time on populations o You can get very strange results— Especially in very small populations where genetic drift acts very strongly. Sometimes this causes very maladaptive alleles to reach high frequencies. Also, when genes affect multiple traits, selection on one trait can cause maladaptive variants to increase in frequency at another trait. HUMAN VARIATION 1 Human Variation = Human Microevolution Common questions about human microevolution include: o How are different populations related/ o How/why have certain phenotypic traits come about? o How does variation relate to health? Many of these questions require knowledge about Sickle Cell, Hemoglobin, Malaria HbS (or SS) genotype—Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) Only 15% of SS individuals survive to adulthood. >100,000 deaths per year from SCA IN many parts of the world HbS frequency is VERY low But in other places it is as high as 10-20% Malaria and SCA Allele Distribution of HbS is related to distribution of a certain form of the Malaria parasite (falciparum malaria). Culture and Sickle Cell Biocultural disease interactions The ecology of the malaria parasite and the mosquito that transmit it are affected by human habitation/agriculture and by climate Changes in climate and in subsistence patterns and methods have changed the environment from one the mosquito did not like, to one it favors. Lactase Deficiency (Lactose Intolerance) A condition in which an older child or adult lacks the ability to produce lactase (enzyme needed to digest milk sugar lactose) Adaptation to High Altitude Stress Hypoxia: oxygen starvation occurs frequently at high altitudes o At high altitudes, oxygen pressure in the air is lower so the body has difficulty supplying itself with oxygen o At rest, hypoxia usually occurs at 3,00 meters. o For active people it can occur as low as 2,000 meters Loss of appetite and weight loss are common Memory and sensory ability are affected Hormone levels can also be affected High Altitude Populations About 25 million people live between 2,500 and 5,000 meters (live over 8,00 feet). o Andean Highlands, 15,000 feet (4572 meters) o Northern Tibet, 14,000 (4267 meters) Acclimatization vs. Adaptation: The power of phenotypic plasticity General Acclimatization o Respiration rate increases initially but eventually returns to normal after a few days at altitude o Higher hemoglobin levels in the blood o RBC production increases after roughly 3 months Developmental Acclimatization o Changes also occur during growth at altitude The younger the age of migration to altitude . . High Altitude Adaptations Andeans have similar ventilation rates at high altitude as at low altitude, but have more hemoglobin (can carry more oxygen in their blood) at high altitude Tibetans don’t have more hemoglobin, but have higher ventilation rates than others (including Andeans) at high altitude. Ethiopian highlanders don’t do either, but seem to be okay nonetheless Skin Color Biology of Skin color: there is a strong genetic component and it is affected by the environment (sunlight) Melanin is responsible for most of the variation in lightness or darkness of skin. Melanin is a brown pigment secreted by cells (melanocytes) in the bottom layer of skin. Skin color and Latitude o Hypotheses 1: Melanin protects against skin cancer, sunburn, and UV radiation Darker skinned people have lower rates of skin cancer because the higher concentration of melanin blocks more of the UV Melanin protects against skin cancer, so high melanin at equator may reflect selection for this Problems with Hypothesis 1 Skin cancer usually effects people after they are past reproductive age, so its not a big selective disadvantage But severe sunburn can lean to infection and reduced fitness, so maybe dark skin is protection against this (not cancer) o Hypothesis 2: Nutrient Photolysis Many nutrients break down when exposed to UV light Perhaps dark skin is an adaptation to prevent this For example, the vitamin folate is decomposed by UV light exposure, both in the lab and in living people. HUMAN VARIATION 3 o Hypothesis 2a: Vitamin D Hypothesis UV radiation needed to synthesize vitamin D, which is needed by humans for proper bone growth Some foods are high in vitamin D but are not found in all environments For most of human evolution, the sun was the main source of vitamin D Vitamin D Deficiency o Rickets-bone disease o Managing exposure in different environments New Comprehensive Hypothesis o Darker skin at equator is prevention against sun-burn related illness, as well as nutrient photolysis o Lighter skin at higher latitudes allows enough UV to produce enough vitamin D and prevent vitamin-D deficiency. o BUT These hypotheses are Not mutually exclusive (that is, all might be a factor) Melanin is also found in other regions of the body (the inner ear, the brain), so there might be other factors impacting melanin production that we have not discovered yet. GENETICS 1 Genetic Code o How do we get form four nucleotide bases to 20 amino acids? We have to combine them into codes. o Can’t code with single base (4 options) o Can’t code with two bases (4*4=16 options) o Must be three bases (4*4*4=64)—even allows for redundancy o The three bases coding or an amino acid is called a ‘codon’ The basics of molecular genetics o Direction of transmission of genetic information is: o DNA—mRNA—protein o (DNA serves as a template for its own replication and for the transcription of mRNA, which is translated into protein) But how do we get from genes to features? o Genotype: Genetic code o Phenotype: Physical expression of genetic code o How do the genes on your chromosomes cause your phenotype? o This requires a little knowledge about a monk… Gregor Mendel’s Pea Plant Experiments o What plants looked like change from generation to generation o Discovered by experimenting and splicing pea plants Monohybrid Crosses o When he crossed a parental yellow pod plant with a parental green pod plant, the next generation of plants (called the first filial, of F1 generation were ALL green. o It seems the green color DOMINATED the yellow color in the next generation. But was the yellow color gone for good? o When he crossed a green pod plant from this F1 generation wit h another green pod plant from the same generation, he found that the next generation (second filial) o Two things seemed very important to Mendel o The variants did not blend with each other but rather stayed separated, like they were somehow different particles. He called this particulate inheritance of the Principle of Segregation o He always ended up with a 3:1 ratio of variants in the second generation GENETICS 2 Mendel’s Results Were Ignored Humans (not peas!) o Post-Mendel scientists discovered cells and chromosomes o Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes o 46 total chromosomes o 22 pairs of autosomes o 2 sex chromosomes (X and/or Y) o Sex Chromosomes determine sex of individual. o XX= female XY=male Mitosis o Autosomal cellular division, called mitosis, is how cells divide into daughter cells during growth, or in repairing injuries. In mitosis, the chromosomes are copied and then are divided into opposite ends of the cell, which then splits to form 2 identical cells. Meiosis o But there is a special kind of cellular division called meiosis, that produces gametes (sex cells: sperm and eggs). o In this process, sex cells divide twice, producing four daughter cells, each of which has one half as many chromosomes as the original cell o What’s going on here? Why do they do that? o So when they pair together, it’s a full set o Mixing up of different genetic information o When a cell has both copies of each chromosome, it is called diploid o During reproduction, two cells (gametes) come together (the sperm and egg) to produce the zygote, which matures into the offspring. If each of the gametes were diploid, the resulting zygote would be quadrupled. Mendelian Inheritance and Meiosis o Scientists realized that the particles Mendel hypothesized acted just like they were located on these chromosomes o Scientists began calling these particles genes, and the different variants of each gene were called alleles o Homozygous—same allele at each copy of your gene o Heterozygous –different alleles at each copy of your gene Complex Traits GENETICS 3 o The majority of traits have complex inheritance patterns, rather than simple Mendelian patterns o Traits affected by more than one gene (are polygenic). Most traits are affected by multiple genes Examples: eyes, skin color, height o Some other genes affect multiple traits and are called pleiotropic. Continuous Variation o Most complex traits are not discrete (divisible into a finite and non-arbitrary number of categories), but are continuous o Produced from an interaction of genes and environment, which results in a normal distribution of the trait How Evolution Acts on Genes o Evolution acts on the phenotype, which in turn influences genotype frequencies BUT it’s not that simple! (Nothing is ever simple). o If phenotypes are polygenic and/or are influenced by pleiotropic genes, genotype and phenotype frequencies can change in unexpected ways and of course dominant and recessive traits are affected at different rates. o We also now know that epigenetic effects are a result of evolutionary responses in regulatory genes which, again, makes everything more complicated o It’s OK that genetics and evolution are complicated! It just means we have more to study to understand our amazing species. CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 1 Foundations of Cultural Anthropology How do we examine culture? o Universal vs. Specific What are some universals among human cultures? What are some specifics? Why differentiate? What is culture? o “…a learned set of behaviors and ideas that human beings acquire as members of society.” o “We use culture to adapt to and transform the world in which we live” o “The capacity to conceptualize the world and to communicate those conceptions symbolically” o Depends on who you ask…but everyone agrees culture is LEARNED. o Culture is acquired through the progress of interacting with one’s social & cultural environment and learning from the experience. Culture is not transmitted genetically (as instinctive behaviors are). For Anthropology: Culture Not “High Culture” o This Australian aboriginal man playing the dijeridoo has as much culture as world famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma. o Everyone is “cultured” The Learning Process o Enculturation: Process by which one learns a culture o Individual situational learning—Generalize based on observation of a social group o Cultural learning & Knowledge accumulation— Interpretation of symbols common to a group/culture Direct instruction, conscious & unconscious observation, habitus Cultures are never isolated and are always changing o They are always in contact with other cultures, co-existing and co-mingling. o Cultural diffusion are present in all societies CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 2 o Internal changes (innovations)—can spread to other cultures and occur in societies with the greatest number of cultural elements o External Changes (cultural diffusion—spreading of cultural elements from one culture to another. Responsible for the greatest amount of change in any society. Culture Is Shared o For something to be cultural, it must have a meaning shared to some extent by every member of a group. o To the extent that people share a culture, they can predict how each other will behave and make sense of what they are doing. o When we step outside our culture, misunderstandings can & do occur. Culture is Symbolic o A symbol is something that stands for or represents something else o Ability for abstract thinking & communication o The ability to symbolize is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of culture o Symbols help people identify, sort, and classify things, ideas, and behaviors The Nacirema o Who are they? Americans, spelled backward! o How does this article present the Nacirema? o What kind of language is used? o What effect does this kind of writing have on a reader trying to learn about another culture? o Goal of Cultural Anthropology: make the strange seem familiar, and make the familiar seem strange. Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism o All humans are, to some extent, ethnocentric. Why? o A good critical thinker (and a good anthropologist) works to recognize and reduce their ethnocentrism. o Cultural Relativism allows us to move past ethnocentrism. CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 3 o Does cultural relativism require a rejection of moral reasoning? “What culture relativism does discourage is the easy solution of refusing to consider alternatives [explanations, traditions, structures,] from the outset.” (Lavenda and Schultz, 2015; 243) Culture is always changing o Does authenticity exist? Syncretism/Creolization/Hybridization: when contact between groups of people resulting in significant blending, mixing or merging of their cultures Acculturation/Assimilation: When one group’s culture is largely replaced or absorbed by another group’s culture Globalization: Spread of culture motivated by economic and political engagement at the international level – through e.g. mass media & international trade Studying Culture-Ethnographic methods o Cultural Anthropologists study cultures through ethnography. Specifically an ethnography is a written (or filmed) depiction of a culture. o The most common ethnographic method is Participant Observation. Participant Observation o Live with the people (not just near them) o Participate in everyday life and activities o Learn the language Research Approach o Deductive: akin to the scientific method. A researcher poses a hypothesis (research question), gather data related to the hypothesis and assesses the findings in respect to the hypothesis (structured) OR o Inductive: does not stem from a hypothesis perspective, instead takes it’s direction from cultural observation (less structured) CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 4 o Emic: The insider’s perspective, how people see themselves and what they do OR o Etic: Outsider’s perspective; what an outsider observes, how an outsider would describe a group of people or set of behaviors Anthropologists use all of these in order to understand and describe cultures Types of Data o Quantitative: Numerical information or discrete/categorical information Can be assessed statistically o Qualitative: non-numerical/statistical data Combining Quantitative and Qualitative o Etic and emic perspective often don’t match perfectly. People’s actions may not always fit what they say they do. o In order to get the most holistic perspective and the greatest amount of “truth” most anthropologists use both quantitative and qualitative data. So which is best? o Depends on what you’re studying. Data Collection o Participant (or even non-participant) Observation: Allows researcher to develop better understanding of cultural context because they’re in it Allows researcher to collect data within the community both overtly (interacting with others, asking questions, etc.) and “covertly” (observing and interpreting behavior) o But some major pitfalls Hawthorne effect Physical, temporal, and social limits to the scope and range of behaviors that can be observed. Interview-Talking with a Purpose o Casual conversation is an important part of participant observation and can contribute to context- building and, on occasion, data. o An interview is more structured and purposeful: Guided conversation Questions Can be open-ended and less structured (emic) or structured (etic) Can be one-on-one or groups (i.e. focus groups) Better for a smaller number of subjects (why?) CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 5 Surveys and Questionnaires o Can be structured or unstructured The more structured, the more quantitative and etic the data More appropriate for large numbers of subjects Should be ‘calibrated’ to the particular culture/setting Ethics o In broad terms, ethics and ethical research is based on respect and safety. o Different communities have different ethical standards and moral principles, it is therefore important that your ethical approach is accepting of your beliefs as the researcher; the institutional requirements prescribed by ethical committees, academic institutions, and funding bodies; as well as the cultural ethics prescribed by the communities within which you are conducting your research. o “For indigenous and other marginalized communities, research ethics is at a very basic level about establishing, maintaining and nurturing reciprocal and respectful relationships, not just among people as individuals but also with people as individuals, as collectives, and as members of communities and with humans who live in and with other entities in the environment.” (Smith, 2006) The Ethical Anthropological Relationship o In broad terms, ethics and ethical research is based on respect and safety. o Different communities have different ethical standards and moral principles, it is therefore important that your ethical approach is accepting of your beliefs as the researcher; the institutional requirements prescribed by ethical comities, academic institutions, and funding bodies; as well as the cultural ethics prescribed by the communities within which you are conducting your research. o Research is laden with relationships Nancy King (2004) outlines four major relationship types: 1. The Researcher-subject relationship CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 6 2. The relationship between researchers and their sponsors or institutions 3. The relationship between the researcher and the communities from which their potential participants will be drawn 4. The relationship between individual subjects and their communities Stakeholders o Each member/institution within a relationship is a stakeholder o Good, ethical research attempts to address the needs and requirements of all the relevant stakeholders o Who are the major stakeholders in a cultural anthropology research project? Ethical Considerations o Ethical research requires: Respect for persons Minimization of harm to participants, researchers, institutions and groups Informed and voluntary consent Respect for privacy and confidentiality The avoidance of unnecessary deception Avoidance of conflict of interest Social and cultural sensitivity to the age, gender, culture, religion, social class of the participants Justice Ethical Issues and Pitfalls o Anthropologists can and do find themselves in serious ethical dilemmas Must balance social roles and responsibilities as a citizen, as a scholar, as a student, and employee, as a visitor, as an authority, and as a human being. Choices made to accommodate one responsibility/social role can undermine or eliminate others. In the most serious cases choices may lead to the subjugation and/or death of your research population and/or may place you in danger o Often in ethical dilemmas there are no ”right” answers— which is why it’s important that anthropologists are aware of the impact of their actions and consider them carefully. CULTURE, CULTURE EVERYWHERE 7 COMMUNICATION 1 Communication vs. Language o Not the same thing! o Communication: conveying meaningful messages from one individual to another o Language: communication encompassing a systematic set of culturally learned/understood symbols and signs Productivity o Productivity: the ability to communicate infinite variations of messages from a finite set of movements, sounds, and rules. o Combination, context, and delivery are key Displacement o Displacement: the ability to refer to situations in the past and/or future (outside the immediate present) o Symbolic o Are productivity and displacement necessary requirements for human language? Language and Symbolism o Language is symbolic and open. The symbol for the symbolized is not predetermined (e.g., people who speak English call a person person, people who speak Swahili call a person mtu, people who speak Latin call a person homo, people who speak Northern Paiute call person numa, etc.). New ideas that have never been expressed before are possible The Parts of Language o Phonemes: smallest meaningful unit of sound Ex. a, e, I, o, u, ph, th, t etc. o Morphemes: smallest meaningful unit of meaning -er, -est, -ish o Syntax/Grammar: rules by which morphemes, words, and sentences (etc.) are put together to create meaningful ideas German syntax verbs at the end of sentences places How many words are there for snow? o Ethnosemantics: the study of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences in particular cultural contexts o Sociolinguistics: Semantics are shaped by our surroundings, cultures, and interactions… o But they also actively shape surroundings, cultures, and interactions COMMUNICATION 2 E.g. Bohannon Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis o Language influences thought If a language differentiates between multiple types of snow, a speaker of that language will think about snow in multiple ways o Construction of a ‘thought world” o Linguistic determinism: Language determines consciousness o E.g. Basso Language Change o Languages are not static, they are always changing. Ex.: both Shakespeare and Snooki speak English o Change may be due to cultural evolution, cultural transmission, assimilation, domination, etc. o Colonialism and global migration have led to the loss of hundreds of indigenous languages but have also led to the development of new languages Pidgin: blended contact language incorporating elements of at least 2 languages to facilitate cross- cultural communication Creole: language born from pidgin but that has developed its own unique linguistic style, structure and system Language Inequality o Linguistic Ethnocentrism “value judgments about other people’s speech in a context of dominance and subordination.” o AAVE o Colonial-forced linguistic assimilation Language change and construction an artifact of history and sociocultural (often oppressive) circumstances o (Re) Constructed languages can contribute to community solidarity and inclusion EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 1 What is expressive culture? o Behavior and beliefs related to art, leisure, and play What is art? o Question of the ages and many disciplines and cultures have different answers o Anthropologically art can be defined broadly as: The application of imagination, skill, and style to matter, movement and sound that goes beyond what is purely practical Anthropologists look at the production and process of art, variations and preferences within and between cultures, and the way culture constructs and changes artistic traditions Performance Arts o Music, Dance, Theatre, rhetoric, and storytelling o Ethnomusicology: cross-cultural study of music Musical form Music and social studies Who gets to make music? How are musicians viewed? How music interacts with other spheres in the culture (religion, healing, gender, etc.) Traditional change and evolution How are musical traditions adapted and changed to reflect cultural changes? How is music affected by globalization? Sports and Play o Sorts and games can often be considered as models of culture (depicting basic ideals) and models for culture (socializing viewers and participants toward certain values and ideals) What is Religion? o Beliefs and behaviors related to supernatural beings and forces Just like any other aspect of culture, religious beliefs are LEARNED The Anthropology of Religion EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 2 o Early anthropologists took an ethnocentric approach to the anthropological study of religion Animatism/ “Natural” forces Polytheism Monotheism Functionalism and Religion o Overall Anthropology takes a very functionalist approach to the study of religion: Why do humans have it? What function does it serve? o Way of explaining and coping with universal human problems and issues Tylor: “dealing with death: Marx: “opiate of the masses” (empty comfort) Durkheim: social continuity Malinowski: decreases individual anxiety and uncertainty Geertz: model of life (how to understand the world)/ model for life (how to behave in the world Structure of Religion o Religion is based on myth and doctrine o Myth: stories about supernatural forces and/or beings o Doctrine: Direct statements about religious beliefs Explicit, written, formal—akin to cultural law Behavior regulated (may involve punishment) Associated with institutionalized, large-scale religion BUT changeable over time What/Who are these Supernatural Beings/Forces? o Depends on the culture: Animatism: impersonal power Ex.: Pacific islanders have mana a force associated with status and power the resides within objects and/or people to a greater or lesser extent o Hula is meant to direct and showcase mana Zoomorphic Beings o Zoomorphic: in shape or partial shape of an animal Ex.: Egyptian, Hindu, Americas, etc. Anthropomorphic Beings o Anthropomorphic: have human form and behaviors EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 3 Often have emotions, human characteristics—can be swayed Often have human-like relationships Pantheons often have hierarchies and divisions of labor that corresponded to the culture’s social structures o Xenophantes (570=470 BCE): Astute early ‘anthropologist’ “But if horses or oxen or lions had hands and could draw with their hands and accomplish such works as men, horses would draw the figures of their gods as similar to horses and the oxen as similar to oxen, and they would make the bodies of the sort which each of them had.” Ancestors o In many cultures, supernatural beings include the spirit of the ancestors Living must appease the dead Seek guidance, protection, favors from the dead Very common in Asia, Africa and the Americas Religion on the Global Scale o World Religion: Text-based religion having many followers is regionally widespread and is concerned with “salvation”. o Religious Pluralism: One or more religions coexist as complimentary or competitively within a culture o Religious Syncretism: the blending of features of two or more cultural/religious traditions. Often associated with religious change. Magic o Magic: the attempts to compel supernatural forces and beings to act in certain ways o Magic comes in many forms, especially as classified by Westerners o Length & degree of manipulation varies by place, time, and culture o Because magic is controllable it can be directed to function on behalf of humans and their interests o Witchcraft and sorcery refer to the use of magic to cause harm, usually to a specific person or group Mana, Magic, and Taboos o Mana is a neutral force, often thought of as expressing the power, life-force, or spiritual energy of the object, place, or person it is associated with o Mana can be harnessed & directed o Mana contains power that can be dangerous EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 4 o Taboo is a rule that prohibits a certain set of behaviors (such as eating meat etc.….) because it interferes with positive, safe mana o Taboo is used in Polynesia to demarcate when mana is present and dangerous Frazer’s Principles of Magic—Contagious Magic o Magic can be undertaken through two routes, or a combination of the two routes o Contagious magic is based in the notion that “mana” or spirit energy connects people to things closely associated with them o Includes clothing, pendants, body parts (hair, nail clippings), even excrement o By “effecting” an object through magic the effect will be transferred to the person associated with it Frazer’s Principles of Magic—Sympathetic Magic o Sympathetic magic works on the notion that “like effects like” o An object made to represent someone or something can be “effected” with magic and the effect will be transferred to the real person or thing o Both sympathetic and contagious magic can be used in conjunction with one another o Creating an object that represents someone from items that are connected to that person makes for powerful magic But it’s all just superstition, right? o Belief in magic and magic forces can have very real consequences Physical Psychosomatic responses Psychological Confidence or lack thereof Behavioral Caution of lack thereof Social/cultural Inter and intro-group cohesion or conflict Ritual, Magic, and Baseball o Gmelch references a complex system of magic and ritual in American Baseball What does he say about the functional aspects of these practices? (Why do they do this?) EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 5 What activities/events/situations call for the most complex rituals? How does this relate to other cultures? Ritual o Ritual: behavior that is formal, stylized, repetitive, and specific o Performed as a social act o Meaningful to the performer o Meaningful to the audience IF the audience understands the symbolism o Has psychological benefit o Can be religious (if that patterned behavior is associated with the supernatural) or not What are some non-religious rituals? Types of Rituals o Periodic Rituals performed at specific times/ seasons/ dates Ex. Harvest rituals, commemorations o Non-Periodic Rituals are irregularly timed and are in response to unscheduled events (ex. climate vagaries) and personal events (ex. illness, birth, death, etc.) Rites of Passage o Marks a culturally significant transition in a person’s life Adulthood, marriage, death, etc. o 3 Stages 1. Separation 2. Liminality/ Transition (in between/ on the edge) 3. Reincorporation/Reaggregation o Some rites can last for years… Ex. Traditional Residential Colleges Not in high school but Not in “real world” Prolonged adolescence “Wilding” or experimental stage Sacrifice o Destruction or removal from circulation of valued goods o Goods are symbolic of intent of sacrifice o Greater Value= Greater Demonstration o Greater demonstration – likely intervention o Socially, sacrifice reinforces power an wealth of those offering o Also creates public favor if offering are on behalf of population EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 6 Religion and Ritual: Communicating with the Supernatural o The efficacy of religious activity is dependent on the will of the supernatural o Thus establishing and maintaining the relationship bridging super naturals and mortals is key o Bargains can be established to solve specific problems o Rituals are preformed and/or offerings made to obtain favor in general But who is best qualified to establish this relationship? Depends on the cultural context. The Communicators o Individualistic experiences typically occur in societies emphasizing egalitarianism Band/tribal societies Quakers, Amish o Those featuring part time specialists (shamans) tend to occur in large tribes & chiefdoms o Those featuring full time specialists (priests & priestesses) tend to occur in large, complex chiefdoms and states Ritual Specialists o Ritual Specialists are full-time practitioners of rituals in this case we refer specifically to religion (usually)…i.e. priests/ priestesses, but could be Magic as well (few f/t specialists, though) o Becoming a ritual specialists is difficult o They are isolated spatially and marked by specific forms of dress o The specialist relies on social trust: they create and recognize supernatural connections and know/ perform technicalities of rituals are poorly understood by non- specialists o Communities trust the ritual specialists to intervene with the other world(s) and therefore acct their interpretations Shaman and Priests/ Priestesses o Shaman Often Part-time ritual specialist Links ordinary people to spirit world and divine beings Has direct relationship with supernatural Usually seen as beneficial, helpful person Uses abilities to divine problems and cure problems EXPRESSIVE CULTURE, RELIGION, MAGIC, AND RITUAL 7 Functionally can be a blending of apothecary, psychologist, confessor, and performer Position open to anyone who is “called” of exhibits specific “signs” o Priests/Priestesses Often full-time specialist Incorporates/promotes religious hierarchies Abilities based on formal training and positions are often hereditary (through an individual may seek training after being “called”) May have substantial secular power
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