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Anthropology Notes Week 3

by: Braig Duck

Anthropology Notes Week 3 Anth 1030

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Braig Duck
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These notes are a combination of simplified in-class PowerPoint information and verbally relayed information from Cultural Anthropology.
Intro to Cultural Anthropology
Amr Al-Azm
Class Notes
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology




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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Braig Duck on Friday September 16, 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 19 views. For similar materials see Intro to Cultural Anthropology in ANTH at Ohio University.


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Date Created: 09/16/16
Cultural Anthropology Notes – Week 3 – Braig Duck Hi people reading this! You’re awesome! -------------------------------------------------(09-12-16) (Monday)----------------------------------------------------- Lectures this week cover the basis of the field of Cultural Anthropology; Fieldwork and Ethnography - The standard research methods of cultural anthropology are Fieldwork and Ethnography Ethnographic Research is Unique - Ethnographic fieldwork is relatively unique to Cult Anth - Historians base info on public records, diaries, etc; Sociologists analyze trends and quantifiable data; Cult Anthropologistss use Ethnographic Fieldwork Fieldwork Basis – People - An anthropologist must observe and take part in studied activities - Interactions with subjects are specifically to describe and understand their activities - Fieldwork shapes the researcher; you may begin to believe what your subjects believe - This shaping, known as “Culture Shock” can bias anthropologists Many anthropologists have difficulty readjusting to their own cultures after spending months in other societies Anthropologists are limited in what they can and can’t do due to rules of a culture; i.e. you may not be allowed to take part in activities due to gender, religion, race, etc. Is Fieldwork an Art or Science? - Researchers document and partake in the community as much as possible - Total documentation and participation in all activities is impossible - Not all activities will be open to the researcher - Because of this, some view the difficult process of integrating into a society as an art form - Researchers must be able to sense and understand the culture; try very hard not to assume and break hidden rules as a result (I.e, photographing the Amish) Asking Questions - Must learn patterns of behavior to understand what is truly significant, not what is simply a “traditional” action. (In other words, must realize what is truly important to a society) - This takes a special form of talent Questions must be asked to the right people. Why ask the men of the tribe about birthing ceremonies or procedures? Ask the right people the right questions. Early Accounts of Fieldwork - Writings of Herodotus are known to be one of the oldest accounts Herodotus - Herodotus (4 century BC); “Founder of modern history” - Travelled to Egypt and other foreign nations - Compared other civilizations to Greece, “The people here do this… because they do not know the Greek way to do this...” (Important) Fieldwork becomes more common with air and sea travel improvements Armchair Anthropology - Early scholars that read narratives of experiences, were first wave, “Armchair Anthropologists” due to their work away from the studied civilizations Professionalization - Franz Boas advocates professionalized anthropology - Interested in Native Americans Franz Boas - Boas saw Native American’s cultures rapidly being destroyed in late 1800’s - Advocated “salvage ethnography”; studying the natives as much as possible before they were gone - Everything from norms to languages, artifacts and traits - Argued for cultural relativism (“All cultures are different but perfect as they are”) FRANZ BOAS CREATES FOUR FIELD APPROACH - Cultural Anthropology - Linguistic Anthropology - Physical Anthropology - Archaeology Bronislaw Malinowski - “Father of Fieldwork” - Spent a year on Trobriand islands - Convinced himself that he had to live in a culture to study it - “Argonauts of the Western Pacific” (1922); book that described the importance of fieldwork - Importance in participation, rather than observation EE Evans Pitchard - British Social Anthropologist (Structural Functionalism) - Divided cultures into systems - Studied society in Nuer, specifically focusing on Political, Economic and Kinship practices Margret Meade - Helped bring anthropology to a larger crowd - Worked to show how anthropology could be used outside of a classroom - Studied differences between Samoan and American girls - Became outspoken member of the woman’s movement - Shook up long-held beliefs regarding “biological constrictions” that people believed made societies less civilized (i.e, race) - Shows that sexuality limitations impede the American social construct; advocates against it - Derek Freeman challenges her work in 1983 : “Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth” - HER BIAS AFFECTED HER STUDY – SHE GOT TOO INVOLVED - She went out of her way to find a society that worked with her bias toward removing sexual restrictions - It was found that essentially Margaret Mead was wrong, and that Samoan society was not sexually free, and that they had a massive rape culture. It was found that Margret asked the wrong questions - Margaret offered prizes to people who told her what she wanted, so they made up the stories (Continued on Next Page) --------------------------------------------------(09-14-16) (Wednesday)-------------------------------------------------------- Feminism and Reflexivity - In the 1970's + 80's, Anthropology dawns on Cause and Effect Relationships - Annette Weiner goes to Trobriand Islands to study the same culture that Malinowski did - Kathleen Gough revisited the Nuer studied by Evans-Pritchard Gender Division - Women found that previous male counterparts only had partial views in their studies - All cultures have gender divisions, and they were not being studied - In order to research every part of a society, ethnographic fieldwork requires a male and female - Men cannot fully understand the life of women just as women cannot fully understand the life of men - This revelation deeply stirred anthropologists; what else was missing? What had previous anthro’s missed? - Does race impact what we miss? Our eye color? Our accent? - This revelation made Anthropology focus much more on discipline and specificness of research Preparing for Fieldwork - Read as much as possible about the region and any prior research - Funding (often from grants) - Anthropologists must acquire permission to begin studying Field Strategies - "thick description" - detailed conclusion "which affords deeper insight into the underlying meaning of words and actions"; advocated by Clifford Geertz - Anthropologists not interested in surface information, but deeper meaning Types of Anthro Data - Two Principle Types of Data - Quantitative (Numbers); Qualitative (cannot be counted; histories, stories) Informants - Use of effective speakers that provide good information - Interview during community activities for best results in finding hidden information - Formal interviews should be avoided, they cause participants to be nervous - Use multiple informants to cross reference information. Don’t assume the first person is telling the exact truth Network Analysis - Track Social Networks by watching how one person interacts with others - Anthropologists use frequency of interactions to chart out relationships and power Kinship Networks - Charting out Genealogy - Cross-cousin marriage is very common and expected in other countries Mapping - Anthropologists make maps of man-made structures - Homes/Fields/Hunting grounds - Who visits what building and at what interval - What kind of activities occur at this place Skills and Perspectives - Common sense and listening skills are necessary - Hear what people DO AND DONT SAY - Ethnography cannot occur on a schedule - if you want to study daily life, you must allow daily life to come - Ethnographer has to deal with changes due to weather or environment - The intense interaction between you and the other culture will change both sides --------------------------------------------(09-16-2016) (Friday)------------------------------------------------------------ Analysis - Any information gathered must be analyzed and prepared before publication - The data must also be used in cross-cultural comparisons (compare to other cultures) - This comparative process is called ethnology (NOT ethnography) (IMPORTANT!!! ON TEST!!) Ethnology - Ethnology is always about comparing different cultures!!! COMPARE!! Polyvocality - Anthropology strives toward “Polyvocality”, meaning the research will be comprised of several voices/speakers instead of one. This incorporates several different viewpoints. - Early ethnographies were only composed by one voice who was assumed an expert Ethics and Morality - Ethnics and Morals are highly valued - THREE TOPICS DO NO HARM OBTAIN INFORMED CONSENT ENSURE ANONIMITY Do No Harm - “Weaponising” of anthropology is common; especially with colonizing - Relationship with military - Military employs anthropologists to study the culture of the countries it invades - Military wishes to understand local population for strategic reasons - Anthropologists are highly required for this role - DESPITE MILITARY OBLIGATIONS, ANTHROPOLOGISTS MUST “DO NO HARM” to local pop. Informed Consent - Our subjects must agree to the research as well as the publication - An anthropologist must make the subject aware of the situation Anonymity - Ensure anonymity is watched and kept - Informants may be greatly affected by publications that you release – especially if they are held in a negative light - Anthropologists often change the places and names of individuals to preserve anonymity ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Professor Skips to Week 5~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Language, Culture and Communication (Linguistics) Introduction - Linguistic Anthropology – Subfield - Language is a symbolic communication system - It is vital in virtually all aspects of human life Communication - Communication is universal amongst all living things - Includes autonomic (automatic, unwilling) responses to stimuli (I.e.) Blushing, raised body hair, etc. - Intentional Behaviors (I.e) Gestures, facial expressions, vocalizations “The fear grin” in primates indicates fear or anxiety Staring is provocative, showing teeth is a threat amongst most mammals - Displays – complicated and elaborate mixtures and combinations of behaviours (I.e) Mounting for dominance, Mating rituals, etc. Displays emotional status - Many of these behaviors are learned Primate Socialization – Aggression - Conflict arises from competition for resources, mates or both - Displays occur to show dominance without physical contact or fights - Tense situations are resolved by submissive behaviors Non-human animals use a “closed system” of communication, where vocalizations do not target specific stimuli, i.e, shout and scream any time you are scared, but no description of what you are scared of Non-Human Primates - Some primates have been found to use specific vocalizations for specific stimuli - Specific alarm calls - Voluntary Human Communication - A set of specific symbols to refer to concepts, objects, etc - Can combine symbols to make new meanings - There is no clear connection between a word and object. Why exactly is a chair called a chair? - Open system of communication, based on the human ability to think symbolically - Of all animals, only humans can think symbolically Chimpanzee and Gorilla Communication Research - Washoe: ASL Sign Language Acquired 132 signs Asked for goods and services Asked questions about world around her - Loulis – Imitated Washoe Washoe taught Loulis signs Sara’s use of symbols implied symbolic thought - Chantek – 2 yr old 150 signs Invented signs and recombined them Chantek seemed to understand his signs were representations of items, actions and people Summary of Primate Capabilities - Apes do not acquire communication the same way as humans - They do not use language the same way - Not all apes understand the references between symbols and objects - Apes DO have some symbolic thought - Apes do have the ability to have complex communication - Apes can be taught to use symbols - Spontaneous acquiring and creation of symbols Human Language Capabilities - Communication became more important as humans evolved - Natural selection favored anatomical and neurological processes that allowed spoken language - Language function is primarily in the left hemisphere of the brain; left temporal lobe Broca’s area of brain creates speech Wernickes area of brain understanding speech With Human Evolution… - Increased brain size but neurological structures were more important - Permitted development of language


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