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Anthropology Notes Week 2

by: Braig Duck

Anthropology Notes Week 2 Anth 1030

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These notes are a combination of simplified in-class PowerPoint information and verbally relayed information from Cultural Anthropology. This is a good resource for those that missed a day, wou...
Intro to Cultural Anthropology
Amr Al-Azm
Class Notes
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Braig Duck on Tuesday September 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 1030 at Ohio University taught by Amr Al-Azm in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see Intro to Cultural Anthropology in ANTH at Ohio University.

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Date Created: 09/06/16
Anthropology Notes 2 - Braig Duck – Study Soup -------------------------------------------------- 08-31-16 (Wednesday) --------------------------------------------------- Hardwired - Humans naturally tend to classify things by characteristics and features - Personal “Mental Maps” are influenced by cultural ideals; the idea of a country can be considered a “mental map”, i.e., there is no natural line dividing Canada from North America - Norms and Values influence what we view as important; Some cultures may value beauty over intelligence or vice versa, similar idea when comparing codes of virginity and other ethics on a culture-to-culture basis - Symbols suggest how we encode and use information, such as language Classifying Time - One mental map of the world is time, as there is no physical representation of it, but we as humans choose to allocate different denominations of time. - An example is the use of Gregorian Calendar (Jan-Dec) - Mental Map dictates that a year is made of 12 segmented months How the Culture Concept Developed in Anthropology Paradigm Change - Thomas Khun: Scientific thought is the result of a series of revelations, also known as “Paradigm Changes”. - Paradigm: Sum of the scientific view of what the object of research should be and how scientific problems should be approached. Changes based on a cultures perception of the world around it. Can be influenced by stigmas like racism, classism, etc Normal Science - The creation of a paradigm is directly followed by a period of “normal science”, new sciences that follow under the rules of the new paradigm - Therefore, anthropological ideas are always biased due to the paradigm in their cultural environment - The history of anthropology, and the paradigms carried with it, is a history of the values of the Western World. By looking at research from the past, the paradigms of that scientific period can be understood and viewed as a sort of “history” of the science. What’s the Point? - Modern anthropologists attempt to understand current biases so that they do not conflict with their study - Ask yourself how the cultures you study reflect your own bias. Do you make assumptions of what can/ will happen? Do you assume your race determines your intelligence, for example? - Are your current biases keeping you from asking the correct questions? Are some questions not being asked due to the current paradigm? Paradigm I – Evolution (SINCE DISPROVED) th - 19 century school of cultural anthropology believed that all cultures had to go through the same series of progressions, and that cultures that did not adhere strictly to these progressions were classified as lower civilizations th 19 Century Concept of Cultural Evolution - New cultures form from older, less civilized ones - Progression from Savagery to Barbarism to Civilization - Societies ranked on a scale based on progress and complexity - Biases were juxtaposed; Vegetarians, Skin Color, Environment lead to assumptions of lesser civilizations (I.e, “You don’t eat meat, civilized people eat meat, therefore you must be barbaric.”) - Biases lead to Europe being the ONLY “Civilized” civilization. All other civilizations were assumed Barbaric or Savage. Influence – Darwinian Evolutionary Theory - 1859 – “Origin of Species” (Book) - Darwin was deeply religious, troubled by his own findings - Darwin was dissatisfied with Biblical version of Creation - Logic based on “Natural Selection”, which then was cross-interpreted to apply to cultures Evolutionary Anthropology (“Natural Selection”) - “Survival of Fittest”; Social Darwinism - Less civilized groups were assumed mentally deficient - Assumption that savagery ties with physical and mental abilities - Dark skin + Savagery + Poor teeth + assumed “mental deficiency”; stupidity = Lesser civilization - Most “characteristics” (such as those above) were based off of assumptions Paradigm II – American Historical Particularism - Biases weth not tested, i.e., “Blacks are more stupid than whites”; a refusal to test said theory - Early 20 Century paradigm change - Professionalization of Anthropology - Represents a reaction against the single linear form of evolution discussed earlier (Savagery, Barbarity, Civility) - Division forms between American and British anthropology - Franz Boas leads reaction against the paradigm based on “Cultural Natural Selection” Franz Boas (1858-1942) - Born German Jew - “Father of American Anthropology” - 1888, founded first department of anthropology in US - Concerned with loss of Native American cultures - Also worked for European immigrants - Argued that evolutionary frameworks, such as the Savage to Civilization scale, are unacceptable and biased Assumptions of Historical Particularism - Rejects general scaling on civilization, no ranking civilizations on a scale - There are no “simple” or “complex” societies, only different societies - Not “Culture”, but “cultures” - Culture, not race, determines behavior - Anthropology needed to use “ethnography” (living amongst the civilization with documentation of living experiences, as opposed to simply watching from a distance) Margret Meade - Boas trains future generation of Anthropologists as a professor - Most famous student – Margaret Mead (1901-1978) - Studied cultural ideals of America - In US, female adolescence considered one of the hardest periods of a woman’s life - Mead realized that women in Samoa did not feel the same, and did not experience the same amount or form of disruption from the hormonal differences - She realized that much of the emotions and difficulty of female adolescents, while based off biological factors, were deeply affected by the surrounding culture Paradigm III – Structural Functionalism - Structural Functionalism also thme as a reaction to the idea of cultural evolutionism - Developed in the early 20 century by the British, in competition against the American School of Anthropology - Explores how different structures function within a culture - Includes Kinship and Marital Structures, Political structures, and Religious Structures (NOTE: All power based structures received major focus, English wanted to know where power was held in societies; felt this information would be incredibly useful for colonization) Structural Functionalism - A process by which societies are broken down and studied piece by piece - The idea was that if we could isolate the individual structures or systems, they could be understood better. - In the smaller picture, there is less of society research to overwhelm researchers - The individually understood systems were then pieced back together to understand the overall society - Based on fieldwork and direct observations of each society British Structural Functionalism - “Social Structure” = an enduring pattern of relationships between individuals and groups - “Function”: Society is like an organism, each part works together to maintain the entire system - Emphasis was on equilibrium; English did not want large changes in power that may threaten their colonies Problems with British Anthropology - Most of the research was based in Africa - Its purpose was to show colonial authorities the civilizations under their control - The societies studied were often vastly changed by colonial rule, English cared little for this Paradigm IV: Culture and Meaning - By the 50’s, the Structural-Functualism paradigm is making way for modifications - A shift to a more process-oriented, dynamic form of analysis - Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) studies SYMBOLIC ANTHROPOLOGY -------------------------------------------------(09-02-16) (Friday)--------------------------------------------------------- Culture and Meaning - Geertz argued toward detailed descriptions and careful observation of cultures - “understanding a culture” is more complicated than simply recording information that anthropologists deem important - There should be descriptions of ALL details of an event - This way, subtle and hidden symbols may be discovered, observed and understood Relationship between Power and Culture - The relationship between culture and power is extremely important for anthropologists - “Colonial Legacy” - Study of where, how and why power is formed in societies to better understand the human psyche and to make assumptions on how new societies will develop and perform “How Can You Make People Do Stuff” – Ways to Emit Power - Influence alone - Threats of force or actual force - Power - The ability to bring about change, through action or influence, from moving goods to assembling and moving armies Power and Cultural Institutions - Power is often connected to cultural institutions - I.e, The Catholic Pope often dictates norms for all adherents of the Catholic faith - On a smaller scale, churches, synagogues, temples, etc often greatly influence their communities - The question of “what church do you attend?” is connected to power in the US Hegemony vs Material Power - Between culture and power, a distinction must be made between material power and hegemony - Material Power: Political, Economic, Material - Exerted through coercion or brute force (laws, punishments) - Hegemony is a shared power amongst people, through consent and agreement (“we all agree murder is wrong. We shouldn’t do this.”) - Hegemony influences a culture through ideas rather than direct force Human Agency - Hegemony and Cultural Institutions can be extremely powerful, but human agency and free will impacts its effectiveness - Just because humans are affected and directed by their culture does not mean they are unable to rebel or step outside of it; humans are never truly forced to abide by their societies ideals - Humans often contest norms, values, mental maps of reality, symbols, institutions, and structures of power - Ex. Civil rights movement, Arab Spring Nature Vs Nurture - Biological feature or Cultural Adaptation? - Based on the argument of whether adaptations are formed from birth or are inherited through one’s culture - Adaptations can be an Anatomical (of the body or organic systems), Physiological (How the human body adapts to changing conditions), or a behavioral response to an environment - Adaptations result from evolutionary change Biological Adaptation - Humans are subject to the same evolutionary forces other organisms are, but change their culture rather than their bodies to adapt - i.e. Whereas an animal may grow fins over hundreds of years to survive and travel by water, we build boats - i.e. Whereas an animal may grow thick fur over hundreds of years to survive the cold, we hunt and wear animal furs - Evolution – Change in genetic makeup of a population; mutation Cultural Adaptation - Culture is the strategy by which humans adapt to a habitat - Culture is learned by surroundings, beginning at birth - Even though culture isn’t genetic, the ability and predisposition to form culture is genetic; humans are predisposed to create and use culture - Over time, culture and biology mix together, influencing humanity in Bio-Cultural Evolution Bio-Cultural Evolution - Human evolution includes both physical and cultural adaptations - i.e, Clothing, Housing types, religion, food patterns, marital structures How is Culture Created? - Created by the thoughts of the members of a group - The process is typically too long and difficult to observe - Recently, American culture has become “Consumer Culture”. - This American change has been very well documented. Most changes in culture are not so well covered - The habit of Americans feeling the need to “upgrade” to new goods is a fairly new adaptation, made by businesses Impact of Globalization on Culture - Allows people of the world to have close contact - Has a homogenizing (combining) effect - Movies, Music, TV Move across the world nearly instantly, except time zone differences Migration: A Two Way Process - Not all globalization causes the loss of cultural diversity - Increased levels of migration have led to sharing of traditions - When migrants move, they often bring their cultural norms and views - The migrant’s views and norms often change to accommodate their new environments - This is called the “Two-Way Transference” of culture. Increasing Cosmopolitanism - Increased globalization has led to cosmopolitanism: an increase in the awareness of belonging to a global community - Even the most remote individuals tend to be aware of global issues - Radio, TV and Internet broadcasts allow one to learn of global developments from virtually anywhere


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