Anther week 6 notes
Anther week 6 notes ANT 170
Popular in Cultural Anthropology
Popular in Cultural Anthropology
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1 UNIT II: Small Scale Culture: Case Study 1: The Australian Aorigines: Mobile Foragers for 50,000 Years (C) CLASS 3 (wk 6a) 1. READINGS: Finish Ch 2 in Bodley and then read pp. 470475 on the Australian Aborigine Policy Debate). _______________________________________________________________ Continue from last class….if not finished. the aboriginal kinship chart 2. IN class work/ Review: Kinship chart HOMEWORK or INCLASS drawing of chart. Peer grading; discussion. If lecture was complted and homework assigned, bring chart in for grading/ review; if not, after lecture ends, begin try drawing your own aboriginal kinship chart and peer grade with another classmate forreview. Basic Australian Aboriginal Kinship Chart (without completed shading for Parallel cousins) Basic Structure for Australina Aboriginal Kinship. However the cross and parallel cousins are all unshaded, The Parallel cousins should be shown as shaded (like ego) and the cross cousins should remain unshaded. PLEASE NOTE: Substitute for Fa, Mo, Si and Br, the following conventions: F, M, Z, and B. 2 ==================== E. Motherinlaw avoidance (WM avoidance) 1. In aborigine society, men marry women who are perhaps a generation younger than they. 2. Thus they are the often same age as their wife's mother and may find each other sexual attractive. 3. They are in a relation of shame and he must avoid her. a. He lives close to her. b. It is customary to offer her meat as a gift for possibly eventually marrying her daughter. c. But meat has sexual connotations and the use of this language generally occurs between husband and wife. d. Thus he must avoid his wife's mother to avoid conflict with his wife's father (WF), who is the category of man – (same as MB usually) who has much power over Ego: (1) he negotiates marriage of his daughter (2) he takes Ego into the bush and teaches him how to hunt (3) he is responsible for circumcising Ego.Clearly Ego does not want to anger him! I Moieties and sections A. Moities 1. Offer another division of aboriginal society 2. It divides them into two parts based on: a. estate groups or b. other criteria that divides one group from another (all people, totems, dream sites and natural objects would fall into one or the other group) 3. Moieties reduce the complexity of the kinship system in helping to organize aboriginal society 4. They also encourage cooperation between the two groupings a. by specifying rules for participating in ritual activities e.g. one group owns a ritual/ the other group performs it (the equivalent of "owing" and "using" estate property) B. Sections 1. Further divide the society into 4 or 8 groupings. if the dialect tribe gets too large or unwieldly (e.g. close to 1000) and hard to remember which clans belong in which group. 2. Helps clarify social status and potential marriage partners 3. Sections are recognized even between dialect tribes so that even strangers can 3 fit into a section. 4. In a 4way section (SEE, (See p. 57, fig. 2c. and 2.d),a person is in the same section with siblings but in different sections from either parent. He/ she must marry outside those three sections. This leaves her/him with one section from which to marry.) II. Marriage, Age and Gender: the question of Social Inequality QUESTION: Is Aboriginal society one ruled by a older men, i.e., a male gerontocracy? Weigh the following evidence. Introduction: Some anthropologists see this practice of older men marrying younger women as contributing to a male gerontocracy ( a hierarchy based on age) to control women and younger men. a. These anthropologists saw aboriginal women as subordinate to men b. They also saw younger men as subservient to older men A. Gender Inequalities/ and issue of Control between men and women 1. Wife bestowal: marriage arrangements are made between a man and the father of an unborn, infant or young girl. Thus WF is an elder to the potential husband. 2. The initial arrangements are generally made by the girl's father. 3. However, a. the marriage may never materialize b. the father may be dead before it occurs, even when he made the arrangements c. the mother or mother's brother might actually have more involvement in the arrangements than the father 4. Among the Tiwi (a group of island aborigines off the NW coast of the mainland), with changes brought by missionaries, even if a young woman could select her husband, but he might need to be approved by male relatives, or at least be in the right moiety. 5. Women and men, however, have separate but equal ritual knowledge (Hart,Pilling, Goodale 1988: 128) focus for women is social harmony focus for men is creative power 6. Women and men also share equivalent power over everyday matters. 7. Aboriginal society however, had been (before 1950s) polygynous, so many had multiple wives and women had to share a husband with other women. B. Polygyny and Age Differences between husbands and wives 1. The practice of polygyny left a shortage of women. 4 2. This shortage led men to marry younger and younger wives and were even promised another man's infant daughter even before she is born or even conceived. 3. How it started is not certain, but we know that in North Australia islands (where TIWI lived), young men kidnapped for the slave trade during the 1600s ( i.e., due to outside influence) eliminated a generation of young men and this left only older men to marry the women. 4. So the age difference may have occurred because of outside forces. 5. polygyny and delayed marriages of men, however were adaptive for aborigines. a. Offered women more security as older men more likely to know the land well and have wide network of relations from which to draw in times of scarcity. b. Give younger men chance to learn the landscape and crucial locations (e.g., waterholes), like a college education before entering heavy domestic obligations. C. Age hierarchies and inequality: (The argument against male gerontocracy.) 1. Some researchers argue that the aborigines have a male gerontocracy rule by older males. 2. There is inequality between different age groups. a. Elders – both male and female have moral authority over younger groups across gender. This is perceived as nurturance and guidance rather than domination. 3. But even this will change with age because theoretically (if everyone lives a full life) everyone will have the opportunity to move up. So it is not a permanent ascribed status to any given person. a. Thus age inequalities over a life cycle are not really evidence of social inequality as everyone rotates up the hierarchy b. AND there is no absolute exclusion from resources and power. 4. Elders hold ritual knowledge, but they will eventually share it with those younger than they. III. SUMMARY: Social Equality in aboriginal society A. So what can we say about social equality in aboriginal society? 1. The one definite conclusion is that there is no differentiation in material wealth in aboriginal society. no difference in wealth or power over resources (what is meant by egalitarian) 2. No permanent leader with any power over others. a. "bigmen" may have grater ritual knowledge or be powerful speakers, but they have no greater decisionmaking power over the community 5 3. Age hierarchies exist, but they are not evidence of inequality in social status because they relate to the life cycle: eventually moves up. 4. Women have comparable and exclusive control over their own ritual activities and labor and also over decisionmaking in the band, 5. Men typically select women’s mates (but the custom ensures the social reproduction of the society.) 6. We can conclude, that while everyone has equal access to the things produced in the society (food), there are differences in exercising authority based on age and kind of activities based on gender. ` B. How foraging prevents unequal relations (pp. 567) 1. Food supplies are readily available all year long a. This is very different than societies Bodely calls large scale that need to organize a stratified system for laborers to produce structures for food storage or to farm or herd 2. There is pulling and sharing of food among families in a band to level out variation in amounts among them. 3. The nomadic foraging way of lifer further discourages accumulation. a. Because people don't want to have to carry lots of belongings from place to place. 4. Their open society discouraged secrets and uncontrollable conflict or use of weapons for domination. a. Other band members are likely to stop the conflict from getting out of hand. b. Women often instigate aggression toward men. i. They may feel safe doing this in an open environment. 5. Ritual property (or estates) is equally owned and shared among members of totemic groups, so property is not a means to wealth or of one group having more than another. 6. People must share their food when they get it or it will rot. III. Male Initiation: Rites de Passage A. These are rituals that mark the transition of aboriginal boys into manhood 6 1.Among some aboriginal groups boys about the age of 14 (the same age grade) are ritually "captured" to make a scene in the middle of the night despite protests from their parents.(separation stage) a. In reality this was arranged by the father and the mother's brother MB so it is really no surprise, but enactment offers drama b. the boy is first initiated and then is taken into the bush where he is separated from his family for 1012 years. (the last few of these years, the contact increases.) (transition stage) The father of the wife (or fathers of wives) promised to the boy in eventual marriage is the one who educates the boy in ritutal matters and performs initiation rites (This person is pulled from a set of men called "mother's brother" men from mother's moiety). Thus they are also called WMH (wifes mother’s husband and WF (wife’s father) a major reason to avoid wife’s mother. c. when he returns from the bush and marries, he becomes a full “man” and is now in the final stage (incorporation) B. Initiation rites: physical ordeals that the young men must endure to mark their transition into manhood. (to some extent like those undergone during rush to prove you are worthy) 1. Circumcision 2. Subincision slitting the penis with a sharp stone knife to open the urethra C. Explanations for inititaion 1. Social anthropological explanation: Provides solidarity among men of a certain generation (because they all endure the same thing) a. This encourages cooperation adaptive for aboriginal life 2. Psychological explanation: The pain is a price all must pay for tribal (like Robbins’s description of rush at some fraternities) 3. Psychoanalytic: Subincision demonstrates vagina (or female reproductive) envy or Oedipal fears a. Evidence against this: Males already have an acknowledged role in reproduction through increase ceremonies (e.g., at Uluru Rock), so vaginal envy seems unwarranted b. Evidence for this: initiates are symbolically killed and then reborn as men (but this does not necessarily mean gender opposition) 3b. Alternative psychoanalytic theory: boys who grow up too close to mothers 7 need a painful initiation to manhood (akin to Bettlehiem's view that men all want to be mothers so painful initiation is needed to assert their male hood (the thrust of the idea of separation and the needed transition period) 4. Aboriginal: originated in the Dreaming; make the similarity between subincised penis and genitals of kangaroos and emus, reinforcing the Dreaming link LECTURE 4, Week 6b Small Scale Culture: Case Study 1: The Australian Aborigines: Mobile Foragers for 50,000 Years (D) V. The Australian Aborigine policy debate: Bodley, pp. 470475 1. When Europe settled Australia in 1788, the aborigines were given no claim to the land because they were nomadic did not share a European view of property. (called “terra nullius” for “empty land”) The aborigines were not even acknowledged as being there. because their notion of ownership (spiritual property by totemic estate group) differed from the Europeans’ idea of staying on the property you owned, so was disregarded 2. There was massive genocide (murder) or aborigines and their culture. a. In Tasmania, the population went from 5000 to 111 (to 50) in 30 years and was soon annihilated. gunfire/ poisoned flour, disease st This murderous shooting continued into early 1900s. (See movie, 1 Contact, Leahy BRs from Australia gold digging in New Guinea killed as they went along “It was allowed; not illegal.”) By 1920, five million Europeans and only 60, 000 aborigines (from 300,000 precontact) 3. By 1850 meager efforts Protectionism) to protect the aborigines led to creating reserves that contained missions and farms (and government cattle stations) where aborigines were to be” civilized.” 4. Protection of aborigines consisted of keeping them alive and using them as cattle herders, but not to preserve their culture. 5. By 1920s, some anthropologists (like Frederic Wood Jones) condemned this Protectionist policy. a. Claimed that civilized aborigines whether on missions or cattle stations were headed toward cultural and physical extermination b. Missionized aborigines were unhealthy and poorly housed and were dying c. Governmentsupported aborigines equally became dependent and lost their knowledge of the Dreaming for surviving in the bush. d. Jones favored an alternative reserve that promoted their cultural traditions e. Anthropologists who were ethnocentric continued to promote the practices of 1 protectionism and then assimilation (acquiring the culture of the Europeans).. VI. Assimilation policy: Creating the lost generation By the 1930s through the 1950s and even later, assimilation won out. Strong racist ideas encouraged “diluting” out the aboriginal blood from the population and destroying their culture (ethnocide). A. Children placed in institutions 1. Children were taken from their families and raised in institutions by non aborigines. (RabbitProof Fences, next class) a. They were told they were orphans or b. Told their parents did not want them and placed up for adoption to Europeans who would assimilate them into European ways. 2. Such trauma resulted in many adult suicides by persons who felt they had lost their sense of roots and identity. B. Halfcaste children 1. Young aboriginal women who grew up in missions or institutions were naïve. When they went into cities to work as maids they were vulnerable to sexual exploitation by their white male employers. Many became pregnant and gave birth to “halfbreeds.” 2. The halfbreed children were then taken from their mothers and also placed in missions, where they were adopted out to “good white Christian” families to be culturally assimilated. 3. They were not allowed to marry people with darker skin than they. In a racist twist from Japanese society that tried to maintain purity, they were pressured to marry lighter skinned spouses to “breed out aboriginal blood” and eventually eliminate aboriginal traits. a. So intermarriage was encouraged to whiten aborigines and breed out their traits. 4. Halfcaste children were not allowed to enter traditional communities. 5. Led to great loss of their culture, depression (See aboriginal poems.) VII. Aboriginal Land Rights Act (1976) (Show overhead.) 1. Through political efforts and global support, aborigines succeeded in promoting this act in 1976. a. This allowed them to regain title to their lands. b. It did not provide total protection from outside development. c. It was mainly a symbolic victory that did help w. preservation of their culture. 2 d. Thus it was important as a stimulus for aborigines to attempt to regain knowledge of their culture (not only the rituals, but the meaning of the Dreaming and techniques of foraging that had been forgotten). 2. Subsequent amendments weakened the Act. 3. 1980s – Conservative state governments totally rejected land rights legislation 4. 1982 Eddie Mabo and five others from a northern island began action in a state court to regain title he claimed continuous occupation of land and the denial of their rights under the British Sovereignty and the rule of terra nullius 5. 1992 the High Court ruled in favor of Mabo, stating that terra nullius was incorrect (They used a political argument rather than one against Brit. Sovereignty for they feared this would negate the court itself) 6. 1993 – The Native Title Act passed to allow aborigines to bring land claims to court. Still, much opposition from mining and pastoral industries and few land claims have succeeded. It is an ongoing battle. 7. Irony of making claims to land a. Need to be able to trace heritage back to aboriginal ancestors b. Must have a personal identity as an aboriginal person c. Must be recognized by the community as an aborigine. d. some aborigines, like the Tiwi, could not do that. VII. Impact of Contact with outsiders: the Tiwi (of northwest islands of Australia) A. Early Contact with Europeans 1. The Portuguese raided their islands for people to be used as slaves in the 1600s. 1 hypoth. How age diffs in marriages began as 1 gen of young men gone 2. The Tiwi lost trust of strangers and speared those who would visit them. a. until about 1900 3. Then they began to discover salvage products from wrecked ships that drifted ashore. a. Grew fond of iron 4. Soon became interested in foreigners again out of intrigue for their products a. iron knives and axes( from the Dutch) b. guns (from the Malays and Portuguese) 5. Now up until about that time, the aborigines used to hide their women from strangers, even visitors from other bands. Then something changed. B. Demand for their women by Japanese 3 1. After World War I (certainly by 1920s) Japanese pearl boats frequented islands where the TIWI lived. 2. Japanese introduced aborigine men to tobacco and they got hooked. They began trading tobacco and European food not available from missionaries (tea, sugar, rice) in exchange for sexual access to women. a. Fathers, brothers and husbands supposedly controlled this access to women b. No indication of their reaction 3. Women became valued as objects of exchange, rather than subjects of social and biological reproduction. 4. What happened to the women and their society when this happened? a. Dehumanized (as women reduced to an object for trade) b. Fetishized (when a human quality is reduced to that of a thing) c. Dreaming (spiritual and social elements) placed at risk C. Conquences of outside influence of Japanese 1. Tiwi men came to depend on tobacco & outside products a. women became valued more for their economic capacity (rather than social reproductive value) b. men gained greater control over the women 2. Thus the traditional male control over marriage was intensified due to the exchange of women for products from the Japanese and Europeans. D. Contact with European Missionaries: early 1900s: Fr. Gzeill: Purchasing Girls to “Save” them 1. In early 1900s, missionaries started to come to the area. 2. Jesuit priest Father Gzell from Switzerland visited in 1910. a. He first came alone but was not taken seriously. b. He later returned with several nuns and he was respected as a polygynous man. 3.. Purpose was to save them from sin a. polygyny and infant and prenatal bestowal were seen as sinful 4. Fr. Gzell did not try to convert or change the behavior of elders as they were too set in ways. 5 . Instead he tried to work with younger members of Tiwi 6. Sometimes infant daughters who were married or promised in marriage became widows. Fr. Gzell would then purchase them from their fathers and take them to missioners where they grew up. 7. He would also purchase spare young wives from their husbands. 8. When a girl reached 18, he then had her choose a male peer a young man as husbd. 9. This allowed males to get a wife much earlier. a. He was obligated in return to promise that he would never get another wife. 4 b. Sometimes he was bribed to remain monogomous by being given tobacco and food. 10. Neither party had to become Catholic, but their children were required to be baptized and reared as Catholics. Next class: we’ll (1) examine how these influenced aborigine way of life (& Dreaming) (2) consider how these changes affected claims to newfound Land Rights legislation (3) Bring in HOMEWORK (handed out and on BB) for GROUP PROJECT on current challenges the Australian government is creating for aborigine families and their land. 5