CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY ANT 302
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Quincy Bashirian PhD on Sunday September 6, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANT 302 at University of Texas at Austin taught by Suzanne Seriff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see /class/181750/ant-302-university-of-texas-at-austin in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Texas at Austin.
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Date Created: 09/06/15
De nitions and concepts 0 The SapirWhorf Hypothesis 0 The idea that there is an explicit link between the grammar of language and the culture of the people who speak that language Vocabulary re ects the social and physical environment of a people Grammar of a language may encourage certain ways of looking at the world 0 The selection of metaphors also has an impact on the meanings we assign to experience 0 Ethnography o Distinctive method of research and writing which brought together the previously separate processes of collecting data and theorizing or writing about the data Written description of a culture The written product of eldwork o Ethnographic research process 0 captures cultural diversity 0 Allows for a cultural critique of ourselves o The immersion of researchers in the lives and cultures of the peoples they are trying to understand in order to comprehend the meanings these people ascribe to their existence 0 Fieldwork o The act of entering the stream of life of the culture the anthropologist wants to understand 0 Participant Observation 0 The active participation of the observer in the lives of his or her subjects 0 What participant observation is not doing something that you disapprove of or that the people consider inappropriate for the visitor or that places you in physical danger o Fieldwork experiences vary from place to place and person to person and time to time 0 Culture Shock 0 sense of the shock of living in anew culture 0 You become obsessive you regress paranoid reclusive You are confused Your understanding of things is only partial and you realize that all the things that you learned to be moral are not necessarily so 0 Key Symbol o In every culture certain symbols acquire greater signi cance 0 These symbols serve as major vehicles for conceptualization of notions such as justice freedom peace success 0 Psychic Unity of Mankind 0 states that all human beings regardless of culture or race share the same basic psychological and cognitive makeup we are all of the same kind 0 Franz Boas 0 Original af uent societies OO o a theory postulating that huntergatherers were the original af uent society The significance of the theory stems from its role in shifting anthropological thought away from seeing huntergatherer societies as primitive to seeing them as practitioners of a re ned mode of subsistence from which much can be learned Capitalism JuWasi 0 Hunting and gathering economy 0 Selfsufficient smallscale mobile 0 Have means to meet desired ends 0 Devote less time to subsistence than agriculturalists Lewis Henry Morgan 0 Attorney who took interest in the historical evolution of culture offered an idea of how humankind had progressed 0 Book Ancient Sociey postulated a theory of human development in which human societies evolved through three stages labeled savagery barbarism and civilization Passage through stages required some major technological invention Modes of subsistence 0 Hunting gathering shing smallscale nomadic groups gathering wild vegetable foods and hunting large and small game 0 Pastoralism raising and herding of livestock depend primarily on herds of domesticated animals 0 Slash and burn Swidden cleared forests by burning the trees and brush and planted crops among the ashes of the cleared ground They would cultivate this land from 1 to 3 years and then they would burn and plant another plot of land 0 Sedentary dwelling in villages and towns permanent or semi permanent settlements o Plow or Irrigation Agriculture water is used to deliver nutrients to growing plants fields must be plowed to remove weeds and grasses prior to planting Symbol 0 Something that stands for or represents another thing 0 An object used to represent something abstract an emblem Colonization 0 17th century colonization of the New World Europeans in contact with Africans and American Indians Must claim human superiority 0 Find those Others who are seen as the antithesis of the Western ordered self ignorant uncivilized reduced to subhuman status Cultural Relativism o The view that all ethical truth is relative to a specified culture According to cultural relativism it is never true to say simply that a certain kind of behavior is right or wrong rather it can only ever be true that a certain kind a behavior is right or wrong relative to a specified society Clifford Geertz Culture as a Text o How to interpret what you see 0 Goal Try to understand overarching concepts or important guiding values of a community 0 A Cultural text is a collection of signi cant symbols that reveal the character of a community 0 A symbol can be a gesture a word the clothes you wear the spatial arrangement the sequence of time 0 Symbols as Vehicles of Meaning 0 How do symbols shape the way people see feel and think about the world 0 Humans compelled to impose meaning on their experiences bc wo the experiences to impose order the world would be a jumble 0 Culture 0 The system of knowledgemeanings about the nature of experience that is shared by a people and used by them to both make meaning and negotiate relationships within a cultural context 0 Culture is learned I Behaviors and beliefs are patterned and constructed they are not random 0 Culture is shared I When two or more people share the meanings they give to experience they share the same culture 0 Culture changes 0 Culture is NOT GENETICALLY encoded I Sometimes the things we do may seem natural ie like this is the only way to do something I But culture is not biological or genetic even though it is frequently unconscious or taken for granted 0 Civilization 0 Primitive o In early anthropology opposed to quotcivilizedquot to refer to living cultures that presumably represented an early stage of human development 0 Most typically applied to hunting and gathering societies with a relatively simple material culture 0 This idea was forwarded by such anthropologists as Lewis Henry Morgan who in the 19th century proposed amodel of progress from savagery to barbarism to civilization 0 20th century anthropologists such as Franz Boas criticized primitivism as ethnocentric pointing out that every culture appears irrational from the perspective of another 0 Metaphors 0 Help to conceptualize the order of the world 0 Take language from one domain of experience and apply it to another domain 0 Ex the machine a metaphor for progress 0 Metaphors not only extend language from one domain to the other but also extend meaning Horticulture o The science or art of cultivating fruits vegetables owers or ornamental plants 0 The cultivation of a garden The Meaning of Progress 0 the idea of linear time I Time ows in one direction I Cultures evolve over time from the simple to the complex I Primitive cultures remain at a stage similar to the earliest humans 0 the idea of technological development I Assumption that cultures that are technologically complex are equally complex in other arenas I Assumption that communities choose to change from one type of subsistence strategy to another because it makes life more efficient and satisfying I Progression in terms of subsistence types 0 the correlates to technological development I Intensification of production I Permanent settlements I Growth in population density urbanization I Occupationalspecialization I Social classes or castes Political centralization I Literacy Symbolic Action 0 The activities 7 including ritual myth art dance and music that dramatically depict the meanings shared by a speci c body of people Culture Change Ethnocentric 0 our culture represents the most advanced way of life and should be emulated by all people Nostalgic 0r Primitivist 0 our culture is overly complex and simpler ways of life are more satisfying Relativistic 0 all cultures have progressed in different ways according to different values Ritual 0 Formal Behavior composed of symbolic acts utterances and objects that express belief in important truths o Rituals may be religious or secular Ethnocentrim o The idea that our beliefs and behaviors are right and true while those of others are wrong or misguided o This is the psychological and moral basis for intolerance of others Victor Turner 0 Symbols are processes and behaviors not just objects or words 0 Symbols can do more than just carry meaning they can also make things happen 0 Symbols can have practical social effects perform practical operations in the social process 0 Sociolinguistics o The way we use language in a social context 0 Ethnography of Speaking focuses on the cultural rules by which the social use and nonuse of language is organized Study of how we use language style in an ethnographic situation 0 E of S A Concept forwarded by an American folklorist named Dell Hymes a student of Edward Sapir s 0 Language 0 Human Language marked by I Vocabulary I Grammar I Metaphor 0 Edward Sapir 1884 1939 languages are more than a medium of communication they guide our perceptions 0 Benjamin Lee Whorf language provides a frame of reference that orders our view of the world Anthropology methods Participant observations participate in community activities Ethnography can last 12 years and tries to identify and describe what is significant Field work observations Field notes keeps track of observations Victor Turner Symbols are processes and meanings not just words Lewis Henry Morgan Idea of evolution goes from savagery barbarism and civilization