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SOC401IntroductiontoCulturalAnthropologyCompleteHandoutsfromLectureno1toLectureno45bywwwvirtualianspk.pdf ECON 1011 - Prof Steve Suranovic

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Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 01 WHAT IS ANTHROPOLOGY? Anthropology can be best defined as the study of the various facets of what it means to be human. Anthropology is a multidimensional subject in which various components are studied individually and as a whole to develop a better understanding of human existence. In this lecture we will not only be developing an understanding of the definition of anthropology, we will also be looking at what an anthropologist does. In addition to this we will also be looking at the various branches of anthropology with a focus on cultural anthropology. Definition of Anthropology Anthropology is derived from the Greek words anthropos for human and logos for study, so if we take its literal meaning it would mean the study of humans. In one sense this is an accurate description to the extent that it raises a wide variety of questions about the hu man existence. However this literal definition isn’t as accurate as it should be since a number of other disciplines such as sociology, history, psychology, economics and many others also study human beings. What sets anthropology apart from all these other subjects? Anthropology is the study of people, their origins, their development, and variations, wherever and whenever they have been found on the face of the earth. Of all the subjects that deal with the study of humans, anthropology is by far the broadest in its scope. In short anthropology aims to describe, in the broadest sense, what it means to be human. Activities of an Anthropologist As we already know, anthropology is the study of what it means to be human. So the study of the influences that make us human is the focus of anthropologists. Anthropologists study the various components of what its means to be human. Branches of Anthropology A Phys Acatlropology – Is the study of humans from a biological perspective. Essentially this involves two broad areas of investigation. a. Human paleontology -: this sub branch deals with re-constructing the evolutionary record of the human existence and how humans evolved up to the present times. b. Human variation -: The second area deals with how/ why the physical traits of contemporary human populations vary across the world. B Archeology – study of lives of people from the past by examining the material culture they have left behind C Anthropolog Liialuistics – the study of human speech and language D CultAunrtl ropology – the study of cultural differences and similarities around the world Now that we have briefly defined the various branches of anthropology, lets us now take an in-depth view of cultural anthropology. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 1 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Cultural Anthropology: As we have discerned above, cultural anthropology con cerns itself with the study of cultural differences as well as the similarities around the world. On a deeper level the branch of anthropology that de als with the study of specific contemporary cultures (ethnography) and the more general underlying patterns of human culture derived through cultural comparisons (ethnology) is called cultural anthropology. Before cultural anthropologists can examine cultural differences and similarities throughout the world they must first describe the features of specific cultures in as much detail as possible. These detailed descriptions (ethnographies) are the result of extensive field studies in which the anthropologists observes, talks to and lives with the people under study. On the other hand ethnology is the comparative study of contemporary cultures, wherever they are found. The primary object ive of ethnology is to uncover general cultural principals/rules that govern human behavior. Areas of Specialization in Cultural Anthropology I Urban Anthropology – studies impact of urbanization on rural societies and the dynamics of life within cities II Medical Anthropology – studies biological and socio-cultural factors that effect health or prevalence of illness or disease in human societies III Educational Anthropology – studies processes of learning of both formal education institutions and informal systems which can use story telling or experiential learning IV Economic Anthropology – studies how goods and services are produced, distributed and consumed within different cultural contexts V Psychological Anthropology – studies relationship between cultures and the psychological makeup of individuals belonging to them Holistic and Integrative Approach Cultural anthropologists consider influences of nature and nurture, across all locations and across different periods of time. When various specialties of the discipline are viewed together, they provide a comprehensive view of the human condition Common Responses to Cultural Difference: A Ethnocentrism – a belief that one’s own culture is not only the most desirable but also superior to that of others. B Cultural relativism – looks at the inherent logic behind different cultures and practices in the attempt to understand them Relevance of Cultural Anthropology Cultural anthropology enhances understanding of differences and prevents oversimplified generalizations. It increases self-knowledge about our own thinking, values and behavior and helps develop cognitive complexity through integration (interconnectedness) and differentiation (different aspects of a singular entity). Cultural anthropology is al so useful in facilitating meaningfinteraction with other cultures and sub-cultures. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 2 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Useful Terms Components: parts Paleontology: specialized branch of physical anthropology that analyses the emergence and subsequent evolution of human physiology Variation: degree of difference Archeology: sub field of anthropology that focuses on the study of pre-historic and historic cultures through the excavation of material remains. Contemporary: current Urban: city based Ethnocentrism: the practice of viewing the customs of other societies in terms of one’s own. Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapter 1 in ‘Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 13 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following web-pages for this lecture, which provide useful and interesting information: How do Anthropologists Work? Braches of Anthropology © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 3 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 02 THE CONCEPT OF CULTURE AND THE APPLICATION OF CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Examining Culture We began this course by defining anthropology and its various branches. We also looked at the chief duties of an anthropologist. In this session we will be taking a more detailed look at cultural anthropology and its application. We will also be dissecting the phenomena of culture and looking at the special functions of applied anthropology. Last but not least, as we all know all human occupations have their own set on ethical implications, in this lecture we will be analyzing whatan anthropologist owes to their profession and to society at large. Before we take a more in-depth look into cultural an thropology, we must take a moment to first define what exactly is meant by culture. In a non-scientific way culture refers to such personal refinements as classical music, the fine arts, cuisine, and philosophy. So an example of this theory, a person is considered more cultured if he listens to Bach rather than Ricky Martin or to make this example more nationalistic, a person is said to be cultured if he listens to Nusrat Fateh Ali rather than Abrar-ul-Haq. However anthropologists use this term in a much broader term than the average man. Anthropologists don’t differentiate between the cultured people and un-cultu red people. All people have culture according to the anthropological definition. We will define culture as every thing people have, think, and do as members of a society. This definition can be most useful since the three verbs correspond to the three major components of culture. That is, everything people have refers to material possessions, everything people think refers to the things they carry around in their heads, such as ideas, values, and attitudes; and everything people do refers too behavior patterns. Thus, all cultures compromise material objects, ideas, values, and attitudes; and patterned ways of behaving. Just to give you better understanding of culture, let us look at some of its main attributes: • Culture includes everything that people have, think and do as members of a society. • All people have a culture • Culture comprises material objects; ideas, values and attitudes; and patterned ways of behaving • Culture is a shared phenomenon For a thing, behavior or idea to be classified as being cultural, its must have a meaning shared by most people in a society. Because people share a common culture, they are able to predict, with-in limits, how others will think and behave. Cultural influences are reinterpreted and thus do not yield uniform effects. Culture is learned One very important factor to remember about culture is that it’s learned. If we stop to think about it a loot of what we do during our waking hours is learned. Br ushing our teeth, eating three times a day, attending school, tying our show laces, these are all actions that we had to learn and yet they are an integral part of our culture. While humans do have instincts, cu lture is not transmitted genetically. The process of learning culture is called enculturation, which is similar in process but diff ers in terms of content. Culture is necessary for our survival and effects how we think an d act. People from the same cultur e can predict how others will react due to cultural conditioning. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 4 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Cultural Universals Cultural universals include economi c systems; systems of marriage and family; education sy stems; social control systems; and system s of communication. Some cultural systems are seemingly invisible, such as insurance in the form of family based social safety nets (many people in the developing world do not have insurance, instead they rely on their families for support. While it seems that these people have no one to help them in times of need, they in fact do have social safety nets in the form of family support). The versatility of cultural systems illustrates how flexible and adaptable humans are. Adaptive and Maladaptive Features of Culture Human beings rely more on cultural than biological adaptation to adjust to different types of environments including deserts and very cold areas. The clothing habits of Eskimos in the North Pole, allows them to live in a place which is naturally very inhospitable. Biologically, they are the same as us, but they have learned to wear more appropriate clothing with lots of fur to keep the cold out. These items of clothing have become a cultural trade-mark with them. Whenever we think of Eskimos, we think of them laden with furs. Humans can now even live in outer space or under water for limited periods of time. Maladaptive or dysfunctional aspects of culture such as pollution can threaten or damage human environments. The consumption of leaded petrol is bad for the environment, yet given our reliance on automobiles, it is difficult to do without them. So what started of as an adaptive aspect allowing us to travel great distances has no become a maladaptive aspect of culture, due to the sheer number of cars to be found around the world. Integrative Aspects of Culture Cultures are logical and coherent systems shaped by part icular contexts. Various parts of culture are interconnected. Yet culture is more than a sum of its parts. Culture and the Individual Although culture influences on the thoughts, actions and behavior of individuals, it does not determine them exclusively. There is a diverse range of individua lity to be found within one culture. Most cultures are also comprised of subcultures, for example, artists in most societies have a slightly different way of dressing, talking and thinking that mainstream people in their communities. Applied versus Pure Anthropology Pure anthropology is concerned refining methods and theories to obtain increasingly accurate and valid anthropological data. On the other hand, applied anthropologists’ aims to understand and recommend changes in human behavior to alleviate contemporary problems. Problem-Oriented Research Anthropologists can apply anthropological data, concepts and strategies to the solution of socio-economic, political problems facing different cultures. Anthropologists can focus on development, research or advocacy, to help improve the human condition Specialized Functions for Applied Anthropologists a PRolisyarcher : provides cultural data to policy makers to facilitate informed decisions b Evaluator : use research skills to determine how we ll a policy or program has succeeded in its objectives © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 5 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU c ImApsascetssor : measuring or assessing the effect of a particular project or policy. d NA esssssor : use research skills to determine particular needs of a community of people e Trainer : impart cultural knowledge about certain populations to different groups Ethical Implications Responsibility to the People Studied : Anthropologists have an ethical responsibility to the people they are studying; they need to present thei r finding in an unbiased way so that the true picture of their culture/ way of life can be presented. Responsibility to the discipline : The chief concern of all anthropologis ts should be to their discipline. They must conduct their research in such a way that their findings play an integral part in consolidating their discipline. Responsibility to Sponsors: Most research that is done in the field is sponsored by one organization or another or in some cases some individuals are carrying out the burden of sponsorship, the anthropologists must ensure that he carries out his duties with the utmost sense of responsibility. Responsibility to Own and Host government : Most researchers conduct research internationally where they have to respect the laws of their own country and that of the host country. Useful Terms Implications : results Dissection: to take apart Enculturation: the process by which human infants learn their culture Versatile: different/ having a varying range Ethical: moral Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapters 2 and 3 in ‘ Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 13 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Applied Anthropology © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 6 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 03 MAJOR THEORIES IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY What is a theory? A theory suggests a relationship between different phenomenons. Theories allow us to reduce the complexity of reality into an abst ract set of principles, which serve as models to compare and contrasts different types of realities. Theories are based on hypotheses, which provide a prop osition that needs to be tested through empirical investigations. If what is found is consistent with what was expected, the theory will be strengthened; if not, the theory will be either abandoned or some more time will be spent on it to revise it. Anthropological theory changes constantly as new data comes forth. Anthropological theories attempt to answer such questions as, why do people behave the way they do? And, how do we account for human diversity? These questions guided the early nineteenth attempts to theorize and continue to be relevant today. We will explore the in chorological order, the major theoretical schools of cultural anthropology that have developed since the mid-nineteenth century. So me of the earlier theoretical orientations such as diffusionism no longer attract much attention; however others such as evolutionism have been modified and re-worked into something new. It is easy in hindsight, to demonstrate the inherit flaws in some of the early theoretical orientations. However, we should keep in mind, however, that cont empary anthropological theories that may appear plausible today were built on what we learnt from those older theories. Cultural Evolutionism According to this theory, all cultures undergo the same development stages in the same order. To develop a better understanding of these various development stag es it is important to br iefly review these various stages and their sub stages. Savagery , barbarism and civilization were three classifications that classical anthropologists used to divide culture. However in 1877 Lewis Henry Mo rgan wrote a book titled Ancient Society, in it the three stages of cultural anthropology were further classified into 7 stages, which are as follows: • Lower Savagery : From the earliest forms of humanity subsisting on fruits and nuts. • Middle Savagery: Began with the discovery of fishing technology and the use of fire. • Upper Savagery: Began with the invention of bow and arrow. • Lower Barbarism: Began with the art of pottery making. • Middle Barbarism: Began with the domestication of plants and animals in the old world and irrigation/ cultivation in the new world. • Upper Barbarism: Began with the smelting of iron and the use of iron tools. • Civilization: Began with the invention of the phonetic alphabet and writing (1877:12) Evolution is unidirectional and leads to higher levelsof culture. A deductive approach used to apply a general theory to specific cases. Evolutionists were often ethnocentric as they put their own societies on top of the evolutionary ladder. Yet, it did explain human behavior by rational instead of supernatural causes. Diffusionism Like evolutionism, diffusionism was deductive and rather theoretical, lacking evidence from the field. It maintained that all societies change as a result of cultural borrowing from one another. The theory highlighted the need to consider interaction between cultures but overemphasized the essentially valid idea of diffusion. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 7 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Historicism Any culture is partially composed of traits diffused from other cultures but this does not explain the existing complexity of different cultures. Collection of ethnog raphic facts must precede development of cultural theories (inductive approach). Direct fieldwork is considered essential, which has provided the approach a solid methodological base emphasizing the need for empirical evidence. Each cu lture is, to some degree, unique. So ethnographers should try to get the view of those being studies, not only rely on their own views. Historicists emphasized the need for training female anthropologists to gain access to information about female behavior in traditional societies. Their anti-theoretical stance is criticized for retarding growth of the anthropological discipline. Psychological Anthropology Anthropologists need to explore the relationships between psychological and cultural variables according to this theory. Personality is largely seen to be the result of learning culture. Universal temperaments associated with males and females do not exist in practice, based on research conducted by psychological anthropologists (for example, it was noticed that there are no universally consistent personality traits like being hard working on the basis of being a male or a female). Functionalism Like historicism, functionalism focused on understanding culture from the viewpoint of the native. It stated that empirical fieldwork is absolutely essential. Functi onalists stressed that anth ropologists should seek to understand how different parts of contemporary cultures work for the well being of the individual and the society, instead of focusing on how these parts evolved. Society was thought to be like a biological organism with all of the parts interconnected. The theory argued that change in one part of the system brings a change in another part of the system as well. Existing institutional structures of any society are thought to perform indispensable functions, without which the society could not continue. Neo-Evolutionism Neo-Evolution states that culture evolves in direct proportion to their capacity to harness energy. The theory states that culture evolves as the amount of en ergy harnessed per capita per year increases or as the efficiency of the means of putting energy to work increases” (Leslie White,1900-1975). Culture = Energy x Technology Culture is said to be shaped by environmental and technological conditions. Therefore, people facing similar environmental challenges, are thought to develop similar technological solutions and parallel social and political institutions. Cultures evolve when people are able to increase the amount of energy under their control according to this theory. Given this emphasis on energy, the role of values, ideas and beliefs is de-emphasized. Useful Terms Theory: a general statement about how two or more facts are related to one another. Hypotheses: an educated hunch as to the relationship among certain variables that guides a research project. th Evolutionism: the 19 century school of cultural anthropology, represented by Morgan and Tyler that attempted to explain variations in cultures by the single deductive theory that they all pass through a series of evolutionary stages. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 8 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Savagery: the first amongst the three basic stages (savagery, barbarism and civilization) of cultural evolution. th Barbarism: the middle of the three basic stages of the 19 century theory developed by Lewis Morgan that all cultures evolve from simple to complex systems. Civilization: a term used by anthropologists to describe any society with cities. Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapter 4 in ‘ Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 14 in ‘ Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources Anthropological Theories Use the hyperlinks on the above website to read up on the following theories for today’s lecture: Social Evolutionism Diffusionism and Acculturation Historicism Functionalism American Materialism Cultural Materialism © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 9 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 04 GROWTH OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY (continued) French Structuralism French Structuralism focuse d on identifying the mental structures that underpin social behavior, drawing heavily on the science of linguistics. Structuralism thought that cognition (based on inherent mental codes) is responsible for culture. Structuralism focused on underlying principles that su pposedly generate behavior at the unconscious level rather than observable empirical behavior itself. It focused more on repetitive structures rather than considering reasons for cultural change or variation. Cultural alterations and variation are explained by reference to external environmental and historical influences. Structuralism is criticized for being overly theoretical and not easily verifiable through empirical evidence Ethno-Science Ethno-science describes a culture using categories of the people under study ( emic approach) rather than by imposing categories from the ethnographer’s culture (etic approach). This theory tires to minimize bias and make ethnographic descriptions more accurate by focusing on underlying principles and rules of a given context. Due to the time consuming nature of this methodology, ethno-science is confined to describing very small segments of given cultures. It is difficult to compare na tive data collected by ethno-scientists, since there is no common basis for comparison. Despite its impracticality, the theory draws attention to the relativity of culture and its principles are useful for other theorists as well. Cultural Materialism Cultural materialists rely on supposedly scientific, empirical and the etic approach of an anthropologist, rather than relying on the viewpoints of the native informant. Cultural materialists argue that material conditions and modes of production determine human thoughts and behavior. Material constraints that arise from the need to meet basic needs are viewed as the primary reason for cultural variations. For cultural materialist the importance of political activity, ideology and ideas is considered secondary, since it can only retard or accelerate change, not be the cause for it. Post Modernism Post modernism refutes the gene ralizing tendency in an thropology and does not believe that anthropologists can provide a grand theory of human behavior. Instead, it considers each culture as being unique. Post modernism is influenced by both cultural relativism and ethno-science. Post-modernists want anthropology to stop making cultural generalizations and focus on description and interpretation of different cultures. They consider cultural anthropology to be a humanistic not a scientific discipline. Post-modernists argue that ethnographies should be written collaboratively, so that the voice of the anthropologist co-exists alongside that of local people. Interpretive Anthropology Emerging out of post-modernism, interpretive anthropology focuses on examining how local people themselves interpret their own values and behaviors. Using an emic approach, interpretive anthropologists focus on the complexities and living qualities of human nature. Useful Terms Structural functionalism: a school of cultural anthropology that examines how parts of a culture function for the well being of society. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 10 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Confined: limited Cultural materialism: a contemporary orientation in anthropology that holds that cultural systems are most influenced by such material things as natural resources and technology. Etic: Relying on the views of the researcher or the cultural anthropologists Emic: Relying on views of local people Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapter 4 in ‘Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 14 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Anthropological Theories Use the hyperlinks on the above website to read up on the following theories for today’s lecture: Ecological Anthropology Cognitive Anthropology Structuralism Symbolic & Interpretive Anthropologies Postmodernism & Its Critics © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 11 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 05 METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Fieldwork A distinctive feature of Cultural Anthropology is its reliance on experiential fieldwork as a primary way of conducting research. Cultural Anthropologists collect cultural data and test their hypothesis by carrying out fieldwork in different parts of the world. The areas where this fieldwork is conducted can include both urban and rural areas in highly industrialized rich countries or poor developing nations of the world. Detailed anthropological studies have been undertaken to study the way in which people belonging to different cultures and sub- cultures think and behave. Comments on Fieldwork Since the credibility of ethnographic studies rests on their methods of research (often termed the methodology), so cultural anthropologists have begun focusing on how to conduct fieldwork. While every fieldwork situation is unique, there are a number of issues in common, like the need to prepare for fieldwork or to obtain permission from the country’s government where this research is to be conducted. Even if a researcher is doing research within his/her own country, often permission from the concerned level of the local governme nt is required, particularly ifthee research is considering how government structures/institutions (like schools or health clinics for example) effect the lives and behavior of a particular group of people. Stages of Fieldwork 1. Selecting a research problem 2. Formulating a research design 3. Collecting the data 4. Analyzing the data 5. Interpreting the data 6. Selecting a Research Problem Cultural Anthropologists have moved away from general ethnographies to research that is focused, specific and problem oriented The problem oriented approach involves formulation of a hypothesis which is then tested in a fieldwork setting Formulating a Research Design The independent variable is capable of effecting change in the dependent variable. The dependent variable is the one that we wish to explain, whereas the independent variable is the hypothesized explanation. If we want to look at the effect of urbanization on family interactions, the independent variable will be urbanization. Defining Dependent Variables Dependent variables must be defined specifically so they can be measured quantitatively. To ascertain family interaction, the following issues deserve attention: • Residence Patterns • Visitation Patterns • Mutual Assistance © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 12 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU • Formal Family Gatherings • Collecting and Analyzing Data Once the hypothesis is made concrete, the data is collected through an appropriate data collection technique. Once collected, the data is co ded to facilitate analysis. For exam ple, if a questionnaire is being used to get views of 100 people in a given community, all those peopl e who say yes to a given question could be identified using a code to obtain a statistical number. Then, a similar questionnaire in another community could identify people responding positively to the same question. In this way, a researcher could compare how many people in both co mmunities responded positively to th e same question. In addition to surveys, other research techniques can also be coded (even ethnographies can be coded) to enable comparison of peoples’ attitudes and behavior in different communities. Interpreting the Data Interpretation is the most difficult step in research, which involves explaining the findings to refute or accept the hypothesis. A researcher could hypothesize that there is a link between urbanization and increasing poverty and then go into a community to see if increasing poverty is responsible for more people shifting into the city, based on these findings the hypothesis could either be rejected or accepted. Findings of a particular study can be compared to similar studies in other areas to get more extensive information about a particular problem or how different communities with different cultures deal with similar problems. The problem of poverty and how different people react to this problem is a good example of a research problem that can be examined by different researchers and their findings compared to see how different cultures respond when they are faced by poverty. Need for Flexibility A technique originally mentioned in the research proposal can prove to be impractical in the field. Cultural anthropologists need some options and remain flexible in choosing an appropriate technique given surrounding circumstances. Difficulties in Fieldwork Research in remote locations, carries risks such as exposure to diseases or different forms of social violence Researchers can encounter psychological disorientation, commonly termed ‘culture shock’, when they have to live and deal with circumstances completely alien to their own surrounds. Researchers must also try to find a balance between subjectivity and objectivity, if they want to assure the quality of their research and to prevent its criticism onthe basis of being biased by the researcher’s own viewpoints. Many anthropological studies have been cr iticized for being biased or ethnocentric in their attempt to look at how other people live. Useful Terms Ethnography: detailed anthropological study of a culture undertaken by a researcher Ethnocentric: the view that one’s own cultural is superior Data: collection of facts Biased: prejudiced, holding an unfair view Culture shock: psychological disorientation brought on due to cultural difference Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 13 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Chapter 5 in ‘Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 14 and 28 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Cultural Anthropology: Methods Use the hyperlinks on the above website to read up on the following Methods of Research in Cultural Anthropology for today’s lecture: Participant observation Survey research Interviews (Document Analysis) Archival research Media analysis Historical analysis © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 14 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 06 METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (continued) Participant Observation Anthropologists use this technique more extensively and frequently than other social scientists. Participant Observation means becoming involved in the culture under study while making systematic observations about what goes on in it. Guidelines for Participant Observation Fieldwork Before approaching the field, it is advisable to obtain clearance from all appropriate levels of the political/administrative hierarchy. Local people at the grassroots level know their own culture better than anyone else and their views need to be given due respect. Advantages of Participant Observation It allows distinguishing between what people say they do and what they actually do. The greater the cultural immersion is, the greater is the authenticity of cultural data. It allows observation of non-verbal behavior as well. Disadvantages of Participant Observation There are problems of recording observations while us ing this technique. The t echnique has an intrusive effect on subject of study. Also, a smaller sample size is obtained through this technique than through other techniques and the data obtained is hard to code or categorize, making standardized comparisons difficult. Interviewing Enables collection of information on what people think or feel ( attitudinal data) as well as what they do (behavioral data). Ethnographic interviews are often used alongside other data gathering techniques. Structured and Unstructured Interviews In structured interviews, interviewers ask responde nts exactly the same set of questions, in the same sequence. Unstructured interviews involve a minimum of control, with the subject answering open-ended questions in their own words. Guidelines for Researchers To minimize distortions in collected data, researchers can check the validity of their findings by either asking cross check information given by respondents or repeat the same question at a later time. It is important to frame the questions neutrally. Instead of asking “You don’t smoke, do you?” ask “Do you smoke?” Census Taking Collecting basic demographic data at the initial stages of fieldwork is the least intrusive manner to begin investigating the state of a given community. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 15 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Document Analysis Documentary analysis of administrative records, news papers and even popular culture like song lyrics or nursery rhymes is often surprisingly revealing about th e circumstances, aspirations and values of different people. Genealogies Mapping relations of informants, particularly in small- scale societies is very revealing, since they tend to interact more closely with their families than people in more complex societies, which have a greater number of institutions and professionals. Photography Cameras and video recorders allow researchers to see without fatigue, without being selective and provide a lasting record of cultural events and physical surroundings. Some local communities, however, can object to the use of cameras due to their conservative values or they consider it an intrusion on their privacy. Choosing a Technique Choice of technique depends on the problem being studied. Choice of a technique also depends on the receptiveness of the community in question, to a particular technique. For example, if a given community does not allow the anthropologist unde rtaking research to use cameras, th e researcher will have to respect the wishes of the community in question and document descriptions of relevant events instead of being able to take a photograph, by which this information could have been captured more easily. Undertaking Cross-Cultural Comparisons For undertaking such comparisons, particular with th e help of statistics, the following issues deserve attention: • Quality of data being compared must be consistent and based on the same methodology (information based on interviews conducted in one culture cannot be compared with information obtained from questionnaires in another culture) • Units of analysis must be comparable, it’s not possible to compare different levels of social systems (a village cannot be compared to a city for example) • Contrasting cultural traits out of context from their remaining culture is problematic but useful in identifying similarities across different cultures(which is an important objective for cultural anthropology) Useful Terms Attitudinal: based on how people think or feel about something Receptiveness: response to a particular action Participation: being a part of something Perspective: point of view Cultural traits: particular features of a culture Cross-cultural: comparison of differences between cultures Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 16 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Chapter 5 in ‘Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 14 and 28 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Cultural Anthropology: Methods Use the hyperlinks on the above website to read up on the following Methods of Research in Cultural Anthropology for today’s lecture: Participant observation Survey research Interviews (Document Analysis) Archival research Media analysis Historical analysis © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 17 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 07 COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND CONSUMPTION IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD What is Economic Anthropology? Economic Anthropology involves ex amining how different cultures and societies produce, distribute and consume the things they need to survive. All cultures need to be able to manage these processes, in accordance with their given circumstances, to ensure the survival of their people. Differentiating Economics from Economic Anthropology While economists assume that people are preoccupied by the need to maximize profits and this is the basic impulse due to which they produce goods and services . Economic anthropologists do not believe profit maximization is equally important for all cultures. They point out that there are several other processes besides profit maximization, which exist in different cultures of the world by the allocation (distribution) of resources need to produce goods and services, and the distribution of the goods and services takes place. For example, these economic anthropologists look at how different cultures distribute land, which is an important resource needed for production of agricultural goods, and have noticed that different cultures have different ways in which this distribution takes place. However, economic anthropologists realize that like economists they too must answer some basic questions concerning basic economic needs of human beings, wh ich all cultures around the world face, given that some human needs are universal and must be met no matter what type of culture people belong to. Economic Universals Economic anthropologists have to consider the fo llowing economic universals, which are of vital importance to human beings, no matter what their cultural systems are like: a) Regulation of Resources: How land, water and other natural resources (like minerals) are controlled and allocated b) Production: How material resources (sugarcane) are converted into usable commodities (sugar) c) Exchange: How the commodities, once produced, are distributed among the people of a society Examining the Issue of Land Rights Free access to land is found in environments where w ater and pasturage is scarce. Land rights are more rigidly controlled among horticulturalists and agriculturalists than among foragers and pastoralists. Division of Labor Durkheim (the famous sociologist, responsible for establishing this branch of study in the early twentieth century) had distinguished between two types of societies, those based on mechanical solidarity and others based on organic solidarity. Societies with a minimum specialization of labor are held together by mechanical solidarity, based on commonality of interest. In these societies, people are more self-reliant, therefore, they need other people to a lesser degree than people in societies where people focus on production of a very specific good or service and then rely on others to provide them other necessities of life in exchange for their specialized product. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 18 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Highly specialized societies are held together by orga nic solidarity, based on mutual interdependence. Such societies emphasize the need for specialization and people depend on other people in order to obtain the different things that they need. Gender Roles and Age Specialization Generally, many cultures allocate specific responsibilities on the basi s of age and gender. Ole people and those very young are given lighter ta sks in most cases, where circumst ances permit (in cases of extreme poverty, child labor can also take place). Similarly, women are usually allocated tasks which allow them to maintain flexible timings so that they can look after their homes as well. There are exceptions to this rule however, since many educated women do work as long as men, often leaving their children to the care of day centers. In many countries around the world, the process of urbanization has led men to move away to the cities in order to earn more cash, often leaving women behind to undertake agricultural work, which was previously done by men. Circumstances also compel poor women to take on heavy work burdens, like their men folk, to ensure the survival of their families. Moreover, the same type of activity (weaving) may be associated with the opposite gender in different cultures; the division of labor by gender is seen as being arbitrary. Is Nepotism Always Bad? In many societies people relate to each other based on the principle of particularism (family and kinship ties) rather than on universalistic terms (using standardized exams, interviews). Nepotism is not necessarily a sign of corruption, since consideration of ground realities like kinship ties can often help determine how people will adjust to specific work environments. Useful Terms Allocation of resources: the distribution of resources. Barter: the direct exchange of commodities between people that does not involve a standardized currency. Division of Labor: the set of rules found in all societies dictating how the day to day tasks are assigned to the various members of a society. Reciprocity: the practice of giving a gift with an expected return. Globalization: the world wide process dating back to the demise of the Berlin wall, which involves a revolution in information technology, opening of markets, and the privatization of social services. Labor specialization: a form of having command over one activity. Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapter 8 in ‘ Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 17 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 19 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Economic Anthropology Use the hyperlinks on the above website to read up on the following aspects of Economic Anthropology for today’s lecture: Anthropological theories of value The Anthropological view of Wealth © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 20 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 08 ECONOMIC ANTHROPOLOGY (continued) THE DISTRIBUTION OF GOODS AND SERVICES Modes of Distribution Economic Anthropologists categorize the distribution of goods and services in three modes; reciprocity, redistribution and market exchange. Based on these th ree forms of exchange, cultures around the world distribute the goods and services produced by them, in order to ensure the survival of the various people which belong to that particular culture. 1. Reciprocity implies exchange of goods and services of almost equal value between two trading partners. 2. Redistribution, most common in societies with political bureaucracies, is a form of exchange where goods and services are given by a central authority and then reallocated to create new patterns of distribution. 3. Market exchange systems involve the use of standardized currencies to buy and sell goods and services. Types of Reciprocity The idea of reciprocity can be divided into the followi ng distinct types of practices evident in cultures around the world: 1. Generalized reciprocity involves giving gifts without any expectation of immediate return. For example, the parents look after their children and these children, when they grow older look after their aging parents. This is an unsaid rule or obligation towards one family, which people undertake willingly out of love and concern and without any external compul sion or the idea of getting something back in return for their caring attitudes. 2. Balanced reciprocity involves the exchange of goods and services with the expectation that the equivalent value will be returned within a specific period of time. For example, if a neighbor’s son or daughter is getting married, the neighbors w ill take gifts to the weddi ng, and then expect the same courtesy when their own child’s wedding. The notion of birthday gifts is even more time specific, and thus serves as a good example of balanced reciprocity. 3. Negative reciprocity involves the exchange of goods and services between equals in which the parties try to gain an advantage, in order to maximize their own profit, even if it requires hard- bargaining or exploiting the other person. Redistribution Whereas reciprocity is the exchange of goods and serv ices between two parties, redistribution involves a social centre from which goods are redistributed. Often this redistribution takes place through a political or bureaucratic agency (e.g. the revenue collection or tax department which is found in most countries or even the zakat system in Pakistan, based on a re ligious ideology, which is meant to redistribute wealth to those who are destitute). Market Exchange Market exchange is based on use of st andardized currencies or through the barter (exchange) of goods and services. This system of exchange is much less person al than either reciprocity or redistribution. People © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 21 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU trade in a marketplace to maximize their profits. The greater the specialization of labor that exists in a society, the more complex is the system of market exchange to be found in that society. Globalization Globalization involves the spread of the free-mark et economies to all parts of the world based on the assumption that more growth will take place when free trade and competition becomes a universal phenomenon. Globalization has begun to show visible impacts on the cultures and lives of people around the world. There are people who favor globalization, thinking it will help remove poverty ac ross much of the world, but they are also those who think that globalization will do the exact opposite. Useful Terms Organic Solidarity: a type of social integration based on mutual inter-dependence. Particularism: the propensity to be able to deal with people according to one’s particular relationship to them rather than according to a universal standard. Production: a process where by goods are taken from the natural environment and then altered to become consumable goods for society. Property Rights: western concept of individual ownership. Standardized Currency: a medium of exchange with well defined and an understood value. Universalism: the notion of awarding people on the basis of some universally applied set of standards. Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapter 8 in ‘ Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 17 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Economic Anthropology Use the hyperlinks on the above website to read up on the following aspects of Economic Anthropology for today’s lecture: Non-market economics © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 22 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 09 FOCUSING ON LANGUAGE An Anthropological Perspective Language is a unique phenomenon, which allows human beings to communicate meaning to others and express our thoughts and feelings to other people. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of being human is our capacity to create and use language. Many anthropological linguists would agree that without language, human culture could not exist beyond a very basic level. The Nature of Language The meaning we give to language is arbitrary (random). It is due to this arbitrary nature of language, there is such a diversity of languages. Languages of the World Almost 95 percent of people speak fewer than 100 languages of the ap proximately 6,000 languages that are currently found in the world. Due to this, many languages face the threat of extinction, with an increasingly small number of people who know the language. This evident dying out of rarely spoken languages is an issue of concern to cultural anthropologists since the extinction of a language also means the death of a way of thinking and expressing human thought. Of the more widely spoken languages, Mandarin (Chinese dialect) is spoken by almost 1 in 5 people in the world. Hindi is also spoken by multitudes of people. Yet, English is the most popular second language spoken by people all around the world. Communication – Human versus Nonhuman Humans are not the only species that communicate. Animals use calls to mate, find food and signal danger. Human communication amongst humans is however much more complex than that of animals. We can combine words in unique ways, to express our innermost feelings or even very complicated ideas which can be understood by others who can speak the same language. Open and Closed Communication Systems Animal sounds are mutually exclusive (Closed Comm unication systems), they cannot be combined to express new meanings. A warning sound of an animal is always the same and this sound is used to convey the same message always, it cannot be combined with other sounds to convey different types of meaning. Only humans can put different meanings together (through using of an Open Communication system, which is the language they speak). This categorization of Open and Closed communication systems has been questioned by anthropological linguists, based on research conducted using sign language. A chimpanzee for example can in fact combine two words to create a third word. Researchers have trained a chimpanzee to learn the sign language for ‘water’ and for ‘bird’ but not shown it how to say ‘duck’ using sign language. This chimpanzee has however been able to create the two known words, ‘water’ and ‘bird’ to refer to a ‘duck’, indicating that other species could also use open communication systems like humans. However, no linguist has yet made the claim that any animal species has evolved language to a degree which can express the complexities of meaning that human beings can. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 23 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Displacement Humans can speak of purely hypothetical and abstract things, of things which happened in the past or may happen in the future. Whereas animals only communicate in the present about things concerning their immediate surroundings, animals cannot express abstract thoughts. Learning to Communicate Imitating adult speech is partially responsible for acquisition of language. Linguists (like Noam Chomsky at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) think that children are born with a universal grammatical blueprint, which helps them pick up the rules of the language being spoken around them so quickly, and that this is a biological gift that only the human species seems to possess, since no other species has such complex communication abilities. Structure of Language All languages have logical structures or rules, which are followed by all those who can speak, read and write that particular language. • Phonology: provides the sound structure to a language so it can be commonly understood when spoken. • Morphemes: the smallest units of speech that convey meaning (art-ist-s) by standing alone or being bound to other words • Grammar: provides the unique rules of a language, which help give a logical structure to a language. Grammar also provides rules by which words are arranged into sentences (syntax). Consider the words: Adam apples likes eating, which make no sense since the verb ‘eating’ and the adjective ‘likes’ are not in their grammatically correct position . Correcting the mistake will make the sentence clear: Adam likes eating apples. The underlying structure of sentences which enables us to correct such a mistake and speak in a clear manner is due to the grammatical rules of syntax. The fact that we can even say this sentence is due to phonology and morphemes help us create a sentence by providing us with different meanings in smaller words (eat-ing, like-s). Useful Terms Displacement: the ability that humans have to talk about things remote in time and space. Free Morphemes: morphemes that appear in a language without being attached to other morphemes. Grammar: the systematic way in which so unds are combined in any given language to send and receive meaning-full utterances. Phonology: the study of language’s sound system. Suggested Readings Students are advised to read the following chapters to develop a better understanding of the various principals highlighted in this hand-out: Chapter 6 in ‘ Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective’ by Ferrarro and/or Chapter 15 in ‘Anthropology’ by Ember and Pergrine © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 24 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Internet Resources In addition to reading from the textbook, please visit the following website for this lecture: Anthropological Linguistics © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 25 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology – SOC401 VU Lesson 10 FOCUS ON LANGUAGE (continued) Changes in Language Language evolves over time. Linguists can undertake a synchronic analysis to understand lang uage structures and its underlying rules at a given point in time. Undertaking a diachronic analysis, however, means looking at how a given language changes over time. Language Families Language families include languages derived from a pr oto-language. Linguists began clustering languages upon finding similarities between Sanskrit and classical Latin and Greek in the 1880s. From the perspective of language families, Germanic is mother tongue of English. French and Spanish are its sister languages. They all belong to the Indo-European language family. All languages have internal dialects as well as sharing features with other languages as well, particularly with those belonging to the same language family as them. Levels of Complexity Linguists have proven that languages of less technological societies are as capable of communicating abstract ideas as advanced societies. For example, the Navaho do not have singular and plural nouns, like English does, but their verbs contain much more information than English. Instead of merely saying ‘going’ the Navaho say how th ey are going, if they are going on a horse, they must further indicate how fast the horse is going, which is a lot more information than a phrase in English, which just mentions ‘I am going’. Cultural Emphasis The vocabulary of languages emphasizes significant word s in a given culture. This is known as a ‘cultural emphasis’. Technologically related words show emp


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