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Social Theories

by: Melodi Harfouche

Social Theories Anthropology 130

Melodi Harfouche

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About this Document

These notes cover the social theories in Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
De Pendry
Class Notes
Social Theories, Cultural Anthropology, Culture
25 ?




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Melodi Harfouche on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anthropology 130 at University of Tennessee - Knoxville taught by De Pendry in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views.


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Date Created: 01/31/16
Theoretical Trends in Cultural Anthropology Historical Particularism  In the United States.  Focus on Native Americans.  Describe cultural artifacts and knowledge.  Assumption:  Indigenous cultures were disappearing in the  face of modernity, so anthropologists needed to “salvage”  that knowledge.  Another important goal:  Promote cultural relativism (vs.  racism and sexism)  Franz Boas (considered to be father of anthropology) and  his students, including:  Ruth Benedict  Margaret Mead Patterns of Culture Culture and Personality Structural­Functionalism  Developed in Britain and France.  Structural­Functionalism kind of theorized that everything  functioned in a sort of harmonious way   British and French had an idea that society has a certain  structure  Bronislaw Malinowski­founder of ethnographic research  method: first person who argued that it’s really important to live in the culture/with the culture so you can observe  everything, down to how people go to the bathroom   A. R. Radcliffe­Brown.  Claude Lévi­Strauss­he applied Structural­Functionalism to the mind Cultural Evolution and Cultural Ecology  Concerns: Adaptations to Environments.  Leslie White, Julian Steward and others. Political Economy  Concerns: Power Relations and Social Inequalities.  Stresses social inequalities based on class.  Influenced by Marxist theory.  Marx thought social class was very important Cultural Interpretation and Reflexive Ethnography • Reflections about power relations involved in ethnographic  research and writing.  In particular, reflections about the role of the  ethnographer in conducting and writing up the  research. • Questions scientific claims to objectivity and truth. • Situates ethnography in history versus “ethnographic  present” which made generalizations about groups. Paul Rabinow (1977) Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco • 1968 (12 years after Morocco had achieved independence  from France) • Rabinow’s Subject Position: he is from the U.S., relatively  young, spoke fluent French • Research Process  Richard  Ibrahim: takes Arabic classes w/him and starts learning  things about his own culture as much as he was learning  about Morocco’s culture  Ali  Mekki­was giving away too much information so he was  sent off to school   Malik­key cultural consultant Post­Modern, Post­Colonial, Feminist, Diaspora Studies, etc. • Changes in the forms of modern society • Accounts for disparities among countries and the historical  legacies of European colonialisms • Accounts for inequalities based on sex, gender, and race­ ethnicity that were not sufficiently accounted for by  political economy’s emphasis on class.


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