February 12, 2014
• If we condemn or reject the beliefs or behaviours of others based on the mistaken
notion that beliefs and behaviours of other cultures can be judged from the
perspective of one’s own culture.
• Tendency to judge beliefs and behaviours of other cultures from the perspective of
one’s own culture
• Using the practices of your own ‘people’ as a yardstick to measure how well the
customs measure up
• The attempt to understand the beliefs and behaviours of other cultures in terms of
the culture in which they are found
• No behaviour or belief can be judged to be odd or wrong simply because it is
different from out own
• We must try to understand or beliefs for the purpose of FUNCTION, or meaning
they have to people in the societies in which we find them
Relativistic Fallacy ( moral relativism)
• The idea that it is impossible to make moral judgements about the beliefs and
behaviours of members of other cultures
Lack of a state, lack of sophisticated technology, lack of religion
In the early 20 century it was not clear that all humans were equal
Phenomenon of human zoos ▯people from newly colonized tribes were sent to Paris or
New York City in zoos
Colonnial Encounter ▯giving credence to the belief that whites are superior
Difference does not mean inferiority
A culture could not be understood until seen from the point of view of the Natives.
Set out to destroy cultures and customs that anthropologists did not like
Boaz refutes that “ culture” is something that a group can have more or less of
EB Tyler saw culture as a result of human success that some people had more or less of
Malinowski trained E.E Evans Pritchard and Max Gluckman
Malinowski insisted we try to view natives from their perspective
• To provide men and women with sound education Latent Function
• To provide men and women with an opportunity to socially engage others
• Might not be conscious factors in the decision making process of student or their
parents but universities
BRITISH SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS
• STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISTS or FUNCTIONALISTS use the idea of
SOCIAL STRUCTURE to describe patterns of relations between individuals and
groups and tended to explain those PATTERNS in terms of their FUNCTIONS.
• A position that explores how particular social forms function from daytoday in
order to reproduce their traditional structures.
• In contrast to the evolutionists, social anthropologists began to question why
things remain the same (rather than why they change)
• Early 20 century structural functionalists produced a series of nonevolutionary
classifications of human social forms.
• Emphasis on social stability tends to downplay or ignore questions (and evidence)
• They saw social institutions as selfperpetuating in a state of 'homeostatic
equilibrium', a state in which all the parts acted to keep the whole in balance.
EvansPritchard saw functions as being about the perpetuation of social institutions
He saw social institutions as selfperpetutating
The Social Functions of Withcraft: Evans Pritchard and the Azande
• EvansPritchard's account of Zande witchcraft is framed in terms of structural
• He shows how accusations follow lines of tension, which in turn relate to Azande
– E.g. although a prince may be suspected of witchcraft, he will never
actually be accused by a commoner.
– E.g. a woman must ask her husband, or more occasionally a male relative,
to consult oracles on her behalf. Not surprisingly therefore, Evans
Pritchard never came across a case in which a woman accused her
husband of witchcraft. Men, on the other hand, frequently put the names
of their wives before the oracles as suspected witches.
• In bringing tensions into the open and dealing with them publicly, Evans
Pritchard saw witchcraft as an institution as a kind of safety valve, facilitating the
smooth functioning of society and supporting the st