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Lecture 13

Lecture 13 Malinowski & History of Anthropology.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHROP 2R03
Professor
Antonio Sorge
Semester
Winter

Description
Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft February 4 2013 Lecture 13: Bronislaw Malinowski History of Anthropology - One of the most important figures in reference to magic and its use in primitive socs - Anthro as a modern discipline finds it’s origins in the consideration of various modes of thought - Early writing on belief systems laid the grounds for anthro - Malinowski: Magic, Science and Religion published in 1948 - Magic, science and religions were diagnosed by o E.B. Tylor and James Frazer  Originally in a way that would be later seen as misguided!  Classic armchair anthropologists  Victorian era anthros – never went anywhere, never did any research  Victorian intellectuals  Born aristocrats – very securely placed in their soc o Lived at the height of british expansion  Malinowski’s immediate intellectual predecessors  The only thing they have in common with Malinowski is that they use the same categories  Excited by missionaries/traveller’s accounts of strange customs  Try to figure out human evolution from cavemen  Brits  Story of progress  Malinowski  Polish migrant  Eccentric outsider  Came to England at turn of the 20 C  Flamboyant, considered vain  Well established in the upper classes of Poland, but Poland wasn’t super prestigious back then o Came to England – regarded as a lowly wannabe who came to England cause he admired the English so much o Whole career spent trying to convince the English he was worthy of their respect  How did he come to anthro? o phD in math and physics in Krakow o Became interested in Anthro when he got sick and his mom bought him Frazer’s multi volume collection – the golden bough  Mythologies and stories brought to Frazer by missionaries etc. o Malinoski thought more interesting than math or physics  Studied anthro o Developed the idea that anthro should live among the people that they research  Revolutionary idea at the time  Fieldwork  Tylor  Tried to put magic, science and religion in developmental themes o Magic before religion, religion before science etc.  Study of human culture as a branch of natural science o Therefore, conceived of social evolution as a deterministic and naturalistic process  Happens spontaneously within cultures  Naturalistic  Happens according to a set of rules  Deterministic  Every race (culture) on earth will progress thru the stages of dev o Sometimes they get frozen in time though  Stuck at barbarism etc. without evolving o Should all go thru the stages and reach the stage of human enlightenment that the brits have reached  Inferior races had to be helped along the path of social development o Do them a favour and colonize them o At the same time, did not believe they were intellectually inferior, only inferior in their social organization  Culturally stunted. Stopped evolving  Evolution of mankind, reflected in the history of human development o Cognitively stunted people, but have the potential. Not stupid  Super racist sounding now, but less racist than others at the time o Believed you could take an African child and raise him in England and he would grow up to be an Englishmen, with no difference. Others would disagree  Categorized magic, science and religion within this framework o Magic first o Religion later, barbarism o Science – of civilized socs  Handout o Tylor’s defs of Magic, Science and Religion o Magic  Illusion of control only  Doesn’t work o Religion  Provides a framework for understanding the world  Is the illusion of intelligibility (explanation of how the universe works)  Fanciful ideas o Science  Works  Real intelligibility and control  No illusions  Science is cognitively powerful  Relig and magic are not o Explanation for why religion and science together in England  Religion as a holdover from a barbaric age  Survival - Malinowski o Tylor was wrong o Polish Anthro and major theoretician of magic and myth o Functionalist See Handout  Believed that certain types of beh were adaptive to the individual based on psych or organic needs of the individ  Why do certain behs exists in soc? To fulfill psych or bio needs o Believed it was wrong to suggest that “primitive” people incapable of rational thought  Asks 2 qs  Rational or mystical? o “First, has the savage any rational outlook, any rational mastery of his surroundings, or is he, as M. Levy-Bruhl and his school maintain, entirely
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