Anthropology Study Guide
Anthropology Study Guide 63284
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This 16 page Study Guide was uploaded by Rachel Herscher on Monday March 16, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to 63284 at San Francisco State University taught by Jeffrey Schonberg in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 120 views. For similar materials see ANTH 120 in anthropology, evolution, sphr at San Francisco State University.
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Date Created: 03/16/15
Anthropology Midterm Study Guide Bronislaw Malinowski 18 84 1942 39 Short Autobiography B orn in Poland Studied Anthropology during World War I which partially shaped his view of humanity 39 However he managed to completely avoid the war This gave him limited insight Became the Father of Functionalism Functional Anthropology 39 Education PhD in Philosophy Physics and Mathematics University of Krakow in 1908 PhD in Science in 1916 Studied the Trobriand Islanders of New Guinea in the Southwest Pacific First Field Study from 1915 1918 39 Functionalism Views society as having interrelated parts that contribute to the functioning of the whole system Malinowski believed that society serves the needs of the individual biological or otherwise The anthropological community no longer views this as a valid theory Britain Reaction to 19th century 39 Anthropology shifted from studying social change evolution or revolution to analyzing social stability how societies stay the same 39 Social Context for Functionalism Colonies Possible problems ruling the native people Needed the understand the concept of societies and social interaction Knowledge of social and political structures was required for controlling said populations Biopsychological Functionalism 39 All components of society interlock to form a well balanced system 39 Three Levels of Needs Biological Needs nutrition reproduction and safety with society providing food collection marriage shelter and defense Instrumental Needs renewal of personnel and charters of behavior with society providing education and social control systems Integrative Needs means of intellectual emotional and pragmatic control of one s destiny with society proving magic religion and science 39 These fundamental needs must be supplied by culture Anthropologists could study the ways in which a culture meets these needs for its people 39 Field Work Often brought and used his camera during field work 39 Most of the pictures were posed but he lead the scientific community to believe that they were candid photos 39 And therefore re ected his actual field work 39 Which in uenced the research of other anthropologists Took his field work very seriously 39 Almost never tried to relate to his subjects 39 Thought he would eventually be able to understand how they thought 39 However he was never very good with theoretical work 39 Studied the Kula Ring particularly closely Kula Ring a system of the ceremonial exchange of gifts among a number of tribal societies inhabiting various island groups in the region east of Papua New Guinea These tribes gave each other gifts such as shell jewelry even though they held no intrinsic value This gave the tribes power both in receiving and giving said gifts At first Malinowski thought this behavior was irrational and pointless But soon realized that this practice actually controlled the population And anyone who didn39t participate would be excluded Began to understand that civilized people aren39t so different from the natives Exclusion happens very similarly in every system But still thought of the natives as dogs with lives utterly devoid of interest or importance his diary Marcel Mauss 1872 1950 39Author of the book The Gift The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies The idea that gift exchange is in fact obligatory and necessary for the function of society as a whole especially in archaic societies Wrote about the moral and economic features of these institutions Believed institutions such as gift giving and reciprocation to be the basis of social life 39 It was groups rather than individuals who carried on the gift exchange 39 Exchanged more than goods would exchange courtesies and favors as well 39 This would take place under a voluntary guise but was in reality obligatory Thought these exchanges had religious economic kinshipfamily and political implications One gains prestige both from owning and giving away possessions not just a benign process There is power in having possessions but keeping said gifts for too long is seen as selfish Obligation to return a gift 110 such thing as a real gift 39 Relationships and communities are bound by exchanges Tribes would risk their lives to give their belongings away to other tribes or destroy them in order to seem generous and therefore honorable The Potlatch 39 Competition of Generosity not exactly a con ict so much as an exchange of power and process of maintaining order and control 39 Never ending process Participant Observation 39 Observation through participation 39 Still used as a technique today 39 About Engaging with People 39 Three Main Headings Real Scientific Aims Good Conditions of Work live without other white men 39 Must immerse oneself in the culture close contact with natives 39 Helpful to have a bored informant will be more likely to speak with you in length and depth The name for one s subject carries weight Important for informants to become accustomed to ones presence no longer find you exotic and visa versa Must be in touch with the culture only way to get accurate information The organization of the culture should be clearly outlined Know the needs of the tribe in order to understand the wants and needs of the individual Have to understand how other people think predict their behaviors understand their logic 39 Be in tune with the imponderabilia of the lives of ones subjects Imponderabilia day to day routine of human life 39 Cannot actually be a part of the culture one cannot truly see ones own culture for what it is Apply Special Methods collecting manipulating and fixing evidence 39 Must bring tools for observation field notes recordings and pictures 39 Need to have an understanding of Anthropological knowledge without bringing preconceived notions 39 Advanced Training Must be up to date on the latest research but still open to inspiration Big difference between doing field work and learning a scientific theory on paper allows for comparisons 39 Recognize subtle peculiarities and write them down noting changes never know what could be important Take diligent and concise notes 39 Analyze the Social Processes Interact with ones subjects Recognize that you need company to but must adhere to researcher subject boundaries 39 Learn the Language and understand the nuance of the language along with how it affects the culture 39 Always going to be somewhat fiction comes from ones own perspective Trends of Old Fashioned Participant Observers 39 Only looked at what was happening in that community at the moment Disregard for the history of the culture 39 Ignored Colonialism Reaction to evolutionary history 39 Seen as Radicals Were actually affected by their subjects Began moving away from racism and hostility participant observation had often been used as evidence for prejudice Important Terms 39 Emic the native s perspective or point of view 39 Etic the outside viewpoint scientists perspective 39 Diachronic how things develop and evolve over time 39 Synchronic how things unfold in front of us Clifford Geertz 1926 2006 39 Father of Symbolic Anthropology 39 Fought during World War II 39 Studied Anthropology at Harvard 39 Most in uential work in Java Indonesia 39 Best known for his systems of meaning in terms of symbols and thick description 39 Never discussed the concept power is his studies 39 Thick Description Thick description is an interpretation of what the natives are thinking made by an outsider who cannot think like a native Thick description is made possible by anthropological theory Social Anthropology is based on ethnography or the study of culture Culture in turn is based on the symbols that guide community behavior Symbols obtain meaning from the role which they play in the patterned behavior of social life and identify said patterns 39 Symbols construct and are are constructed by culture simultaneously 39 Because of their intertwined nature symbols behavior and culture cannot be studied separately Culture is a public display because meaning is public 39 By analyzing culture one develops a thick description 39 Develop a thick description by observing what the individuals in a society think they do 39 This thick description is developed by looking both at the culture as a whole in addition to its parts such as laws The difference between a blink and a wink 39 A blink is an involuntary twitch the thin deSCFipliOH 39 A wink is a conspiratorial signal to a friend the thick deSCFipliOH While the physical movements involved in each are identical each has a distinct meaning 39 Signifier the object itself Signified the object S meaning Breaking away from Structuralism 39 Instead analyzing the underlying structures that dictate life 39 Moving away from the belief that there is a fundamental structure that dictates life 39 The goal is not to define humanity just to eXplain whats happening Ethnography 39 Object to decipher this hierarchy of cultural categories 39 The thick description therefore is a description of the particular form of communication used Example a parody of someone else s wink or a normal conspiratorial wink Geertz s Version of Thick Descrption 39 Key concepts in the human species like culture are useful for thinking but do not bear fixed meanings or perpetual significance 39 Felt that it was nearly impossible to understand the thoughts of natives and hardly essential for the study of culture Idea of culture as pot au feu a big mess of things 0 Semiotic theory of culture anthropology as interpretive science a science of signs which can only be understood via thick context 39 Contrasts eXperimental the natural sciences to interpretive science the human sciences Max Weber coined the idea of the human sciences and its methods 39 Understanding a science as its practice Culture 39 Several different theories about how we carry culture with us When this information is analyzed it should be shown to the public Web of Significance creating significance through small things 39 The things that are significant to a culture reveal things about how said culture is constructed 39 Use context What is the culture And how has is formed Stories are passed down through generations and change over time Culture is never complete because its always changing 39 Its just important to analyze what s happening in the moment 39 Culture is its Own Text As soon as you write about culture its context is immediately altered 39 Culture is Interpretive Which takes some power away from the Anthropologist The concept of culture is always fictional to some degree 39 The Anthropologist must arrange concepts in such a way that it is possible to comprehend and examine them 39 These concepts are then written down and evaluated against other texts 39 Until big ideas are grasped and excepted as truth 39 Culture Depends on Constructs Which can be counter productive at times Toolkit for Doing Field Work 39 Knowing the Literature 39 Knowing the Language 39 Open Mind 39 Know Your Equipment Voice Recorders Cameras etc 39 Field Note Strategies 39 Other Strategies Quantitative Data Collection Qualitative Data Collection Developing a Rapport with your Informant 39 Anthropologists Never Go Undercover They always let their subjects know exactly what they39re doing But don t take notes in front of their subjects either 39 Different Interview Strategies Semi Structured Structured more formal Life History know where they39re coming from 39 Kinship Charts family lineage 39 Social Network Analysis in uences on their lives The Anthropologist Code 39 Honesty 39 Patience it can take a long time 39 Sincerity 39 Confidentiality 39 Do No Harm 39 Open to Serendipity 39 And Spending Lots of Time 39 Be Yourself don t try to force your way into other cultures 39 Be Humble Recognize that you are in a relationship and that you will both be affected Analysis and Writing Coding Search for Patterns Atlas ti Nvivo Dedoose 39 Know Your Data 39 Polyvocal multiple voices involved in terms of both speakers and styles 39 Re exivity locating your own context along with the context of the subject and other researchers responding to others 39 Different Theoretical Registers lots of knowledge out there Week Three Anthropology of Religion 39 Evolutionism Taylor and Frazer Sir Edward Burnett Taylor 1832 1917 0 Religion belief in spiritual beings 39 Essence of religion Animism the belief that human and non human entities possess a spirit 39 Early humans arrived at their first religious beliefs from an intellectual effort to explain the world primitive men were philosophers 0 These principles prove to be essentially rational though working in a mental condition of intense and inveterate ignorance 39 Evolution Animism to Science Sir James George Frazer 1854 1941 39 Disagreed the primitive man is not an intellectual he was struggling for survival Early man only seeks above all to control the course of nature for practical ends 39 There is a difference between religion and magic Magic is based on man s confidence that he can dominate nature directly if only he knows the laws which govern it magically Magic gives us a sense of control and therefore provides security peace of mind and generally reduces our anxiety Whereas religion the confession of human impotence in certain matters lifts man above the magical level Religion is different than magic because it is based in the persuasion of supernatural beings rather than the manipulation of supernatural forces Magic spells Religion prayers Science pragmatic knowledge derived from observation 39 Evolution Magic to Religion to Science 39 Durkheim and Marx Emile Durkheim 185 8 1917 39 Society and Religion Was not very interested in the history of religion instead wanted to know how religion affected society Analyzes religion as a social fact Social Fact any way of acting whether fixed or not capable of exerting over the individual an external constraint Sacred is the essence of religion A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say things set apart and forbidden Separate the sacred form the profane 39 Collective Consciousness Precedes the individual society is not equal to the sum of its parts Collective consciousness is independent to the particular conditions in which the individuals are placed What is Collective Consciousness A set of beliefs and sentiments common to medium term A moral consciousness which implies duties and obligations B ased in solidarity the elementary structure of society Binds individuals together and creates social integration Collective Representations are a re ection of the collective consciousness During rituals these representations are displayed resulting in a reattachment to the value system of the group bandwagon effect 39 Studied social stability cohesion an solidarity Karl Marx 1818 1883 39 Felt that religion didn39t re ect the true consciousness of people false consciousness designed to divert people s attention from the miseries of their lives Religion was therefore a construction of those in power Needed to critique the society that created the religion in the first place Religion is the opium of the people responsible for the illusory happiness of the people Must give up a condition which needs illusions in order to gain true happiness 39 Studied change con ict and power 39 Functionalism Malinowski and Radcliffe Brown Structural Radcliffe Brown Focus social structure eventually became the more popular theory Biocultural Or Psychological Malinowski Focus individuals needs Witchcraft 39 EE Evans Pritchard 1937 Studied modern history at University of Oxford Became a professor of Social Anthropology Wrote the book Witchcraft Oracles and Magic among the Azande Emphasized the impact that magic has on society as a whole rather than how it serves the individuals needs Concept of belief in Anthropology 39 Makes a distinction between mystical notions and common sense or belief and knowledge Mystical Notions Belief do not accord with objective data Common Sense Knowledge accord with objective data Very Binary Thinking He was skeptical of participant observation 39 Thought researchers could never completely relate to there subjects 39 Always felt alienated between two worlds 39 Could never truly immerse himself in the culture Best known for his ethnographies in colonial Africa 39 On the Sudanese Azande specifically 39 Society was very structured Controlled by the royal family the Avongaraquot Most of the authority came from the court system The most common crimes were adultery and witchcraft The final verdict was decided by the poison oracle 39 Witchcraft was rampant Colonists thought witchcraft was superstitious nonsense and created laws which refused to recognize the eXistence of witchcraft or accept t he evidence of oracles Pritchard advised them against this because witchcraft provided most of the structure for their society performed a constitutive role in the functioning social system 39 The Triangle Comprised of Witchcraft Oracles and Magic 39 Witchcraft M31191 Considered to be the background to all other beliefs Witchcraft is a psychic act psychic capacity to travel and harm others Witches injure without the use of spells incantations or medicines Witches were only put to death for killing others if they merely destroyed property they would be asked to pay for the damage Witchcraft implies a system of values that conduct and maintain the social hierarchy Witchcraft only harms people near by so commoners and nobility couldn39t accuse each other of witchcraft because they were physically separated by social status Men can be bewitched by both genders while women can only be bewitched by other women so women couldn t accuse men of witchcraft even though men could accuse women Witchcraft is inherited among relatives of the same seX Recognized that witchcraft wasn t the cause of every misfortune Had common sense Accepted that some things are simply the result of poor human behavior Knew the natural causes for every death even the ones attributed to witchcraft Used both mystical and empirical judgements and believed the two complemented each other Witches weren t ostracized Thought witches became more powerful with age 39 Oracles soroka Used to identify witchcraft Trials to find witches Results were often unclear Hierarchy of Oracles 1 Poison Oracle benge A fowl usually a chicken is given poison the person on trial is asked a series of yes or no questions if the bird dies the person told the truth but if it lives the person was lying 2 Termite s Nest dakpa Two branches are taken from two different trees and placed in a termites nest each branch is assigned an answer and left in the nest overnight in the morning eaten branch determined the truth 3 Rubbing Board iwa An old fashion Ouija board ask it questions and it will reveal the truth Magic ngua Used to cure the harm of witchcraft Or to combat witchcraft No moral difference between magic and witchcraft Witchcraft just doesn t involve spells Witch Doctors Have knowledge in medicine and divination Conduct seances which were thought to be about as reliable as Ouija boards Specialized Profession The Triangle forms a homeostatic control system 39 Homeostasis stable equilibrium between interdependent elements 39 In other words these three components must always remain in constant balance with one another Fourth Element Secret Societies 39 Groups that continued to practice witchcraft in secret after the government banned magic of any type 39 This fourth component ruined Pritchard S idea of the perfectly balanced triangle 39 Witchcraft was no longer performed by individual practitioners but instead practiced by assemblies Possession Ceremony hauka 0 Hauka means crazy 39 Switched societal roles during ceremony pretended to colonists and portrayed them in the worst possible light 39 Question of rationality Who is actually mad The oppressors or the oppressed 39 Jeanne Favret Saada 1977 Wrote the book Deadlv Words Witchcraft in the Bocage Thought there shouldn39t be a definite distinction between the empirical and mystical 39 Believed Anthropologists often internalize binary logic Tried to truly immerse herself in witchcraft but admitted that she would never truly understand Recognized that in witchcraft words are power 39 Both for harming and healing 39 Believed that words alone could physically affect a person Challenged western ways of thinking Shamans see knowledge in a way that can t be eXplained through knowledge Thought Anthropologists often feel that they are better superior then their subjects Several Problems with Binary Thinking 39 Hierarchies and ranks the two polarizing terms becomes the negative counter part only defined for what it is not 39 Denies everything that is in between the two terms it can t see the gray 20116 the in between becomes problematic and then it becomes ignored or repressed Week Four Symbolic Anthropolgy Not a tightly or clearly bound school of thought No hard and fast dogmas or principles A loosely conceived project of a variety of intellectual antecedents who see the decoding of public symbols as being the key activity of anthropological analysis Three Main Theoretical Sources Durkheimian Sapir and Emic Theory Psychoanalytic Most symbolicists would agree that Culture is fundamentally a symbolic system and so analysis of cultural symbols provides the natural point of entrance into a cultural universe If culture is symbolic then it follows that it is used to create and convey meanings since that is the purpose of symbols If meanings are the end products of culture then understanding culture requires understanding the meanings of its creators and users Simple Society Few social roles but these are multiplex Best described by mechanical models CompleX Society Many social roles but these tend to be simpleX Nest described by statistical models 39 Claude Levi Strauss 1908 2009 Led anthropological expedition into an remote area of Brazil Published Elementary Structures of Kinship in 1949 Very In uential Work Life s Work 39 Reoriented anthropology away from the extreme cultural particularism and brought the focus back to human universals 39 Found possibility for a rationalist form of structuralism 0 Rescued Armchair Anthropology from disrespect Analyzed the field work of other Anthropologists rather than his own ethnographic work 39 Tried to find what binds us all together Studied universal structures instead of focusing on one particular culture 0 Thought 3 culture s relationship to the intangible re ected on the deeply held structure of its humanness 39 Radcliffe Brown vs Levi Strauss Radcliffe Brown 39 Structures are observed regularities in actual behavior 39 Empirical things eXist in the world 39 To find them one must observe noting regularities or tendencies and deduce the rules that may be deducing them 39 Look for the positive or negative sanctions that support them 39 Anthropology empirical an inductive Levi Strauss 39 Structures eXist in the human mind Interested in the unconscious workings of the human mind Humans fashion themselves 39 Mental things that appear in the human agreement before they are enacted in the outside world Don t study how people categorize the world Study the underlying patterns of human thought that produce these categories 39 Derived form the universal human capacity to reason in similarity structured ways 39 Hence they are intelligible cross culturally can be mapped over several societies Conducted cross cultural analysis of kinship myths and religion 39 Anthropology rationalist and deductive 39 Language and Culture All languages follow the same basic structure All languages are composed of arbitrary groups of sounds called phonemes use the same processes Phoneme the minimal unit of sound considered distinct and capable of creating meaning Meaningless on their own Combine to create meaning Humans are able to understand each other without actively thinking about the rules or structure for a language Levi Strauss saw culture as a collection of arbitrary symbols just like language And therefore paid very little attention to the meanings behind the symbols language and culture only have meaning in context Only concerned with the patterns in which these symbols appear and their relationships to on another Hypothesized that fundamental human thought uses mainly binary thinking Diades oppositions within one concept 39 Basic Primer in Semiotics Saussure 39 Myth Signifier the form which the sign takes the word Signified the concept it represents the meaning Syntagm a syntagmatic relationship is one where signs occur in sequence or parallel and operate together to create meaning Paradigm a set of associated signifieds which are all members of some defining category but in which each is significantly different Two Dimensions of Language A sign is always in paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations with other signs Snychronic concerned with something that eXists at one point in time Diachronic the analysis of a language over time in its historical development Similar versions of the same myths in every culture A product of contradicting values then resolves said values Thought myth operated like language Myths are the precarious middle ground Provide another window into the human mind 39 Terms Binary Opposition 39 Humans as classifiers intrinsic to minds Deep Structure vs Surface Structure 39 Discover universal principles of human mind 39 The Actual Underlying Structure vs Observable Structure Unconscious Grammar Rules vs Behavior 39 Questioning how humans think consider the relationship between what the DO and what they SAY 0 Best to consider peoples models behind social structure the unconscious 39 Universal principles of the human mind discovered through kinship and social structures 39 Victor Turner 1920 1983 Did most of his field work with the Ndembu of Zambia classic field work Symbolic Anthropology was his central career interest Thought humanities main goal was to gain stability 39 Cultures searched for stability through con ict Life is a continuous process of con ict Solidarity and Equilibrium If everything was prescribed for us peace would be attainable 39 Interested in the concept of Social Cohesion 39 Believed rituals were a perfect example of a public display of symbols 39 Ritual A stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures words objects performed in a sequestered place and designed to in uence pretematural entities or forces on behalf of the actors goals and interests Been practiced a thousand times over Process which attempts to bring order order back once chaos had ensued 39 Rituals are done post social order crashing 39 Reconcile Change 39 Restore Order Rituals mark cyclical events 39 Stressful life crisis or significant events immense life change 39 Rituals of Af iction 39 Process of Initiation People are transformed through rituals 39 During the ritual they aren t who they were or who they will be 39 Vulnerable during rituals Ritual Symbols 39 A small number of objects which have more or less generally shared meanings within a community of interpretation 39 Polyvalence dominant symbols do not just have one meaning but are invariably polyvalent or polysemic and link into many domains of the culture and at a variety of levels 39 Arnold van Gennep Rites of Passage ceremonies that celebrate the movement of a member of a society from one state or condition to another 39 Marked by Three Phases 1 Separation the individual or group is detached from an earlier fixed state in the social structure 2 Margin during the liminal period the state of the ritual subject is ambiguous 3 Aggregation the passage is consummated 39 Preserves Status Quo Often Symbolic Violence Example the bride wears a veil during marriage because she is far more vulnerable than the man Virtually the same rituals have existed for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years 39 Officiants of the ceremony are closer to God There to guide you Connect you to God Provides you with coherent advice 39 Mary Douglas 1921 2007 Believed that shared symbols promote social solidarity and provide mechanisms for social control Interested in the relations between symbols the body and social structures 39 The body was the most universal symbol and the place of common human experience Explored relationships between dirt holiness impurity and hygiene Dualism 39 Cited Leviticus and Kosher Laws 39 Pollutions is a violation of society S dCSignated boundaries 39 Disorder is the motor for creating order maintain social control Try to tame disorder Rather than describing or explaining it 39 Cherished Classifications Dirt must be put in the context of revulsion Key Words Danger and Pollution 39 Ambiguity 39 Power and Authority 39 Structure
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