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Lecture 14

Lecture 14 Mary Douglas.docx

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Antonio Sorge

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Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft February 6 2013 Lecture 14: Mary Douglas 1 Mary Douglas - Interested in purity and danger - British Social Anthropologist o Major theoretical contributions slide o Rethinking.. slide o Research on institutions – how institutions think - Purity and Danger overview (Using pollution theory – creating and dealing with taboos) o Based on the essentials of the social nature of perception – nature is CONTINUOUS and culture is DISCONTINUOUS  Meaning, where nature would be a continuum, culture would break the continuum into named segments  E.g. nature as the colour spectrum, culture as separate colours like blue, green, yellow etc.  Entire point of culture is to provide categories of perception  Universal human drive of categorization  Culture as the categorization of reality  3 worlds – world 1 is the objective reality, world 3 is the social convention that pertains to the objective reality  World 3 explains world 1 – slide – each of the colours makes up a reality of world 1  How do cultures deal with the empty spaces between cultural categories?  They taboo them o Abnormalize them – weird and strange o Have to be handled in a certain way  They are seen as polluting o Culture is learned thru punishment or praise (Socialization)  Have to learn to pay attention to soc’s boundaries as you grow and learn how to categorize the world  Takes a lot of time and energy for people to do this  Self-constructs  The first one developed is the Self-postulate o Child’s first perception of self as a separate being  Self vs. outside world  Learning a system of categories o Becomes more and more complex as the child ages, develops a unique sense of identity etc o Learn to be freaked out by things that challenge the self-p  What challenges the self-p?  Things that blur the line between self and environment  Are at the very least annoying, but can also be disgusting  Blood, urine, feces, goo, semen, hair, any kind of human discharge (nail clippings etc.) o Things that are of the self that are being left in the environment away from the self  Things that challenge the self-p are later seen to be synonymous with chaos o Culture as a system or lens that sorts cues from reality  Takes a lot of learning/time/energy to learn this system of categories  So people try to protect it  Conservative bias o Culture when learned by an individual, is comprised of a set of cats that people hold dearly  Because invested so much time  Will try to protect it therefore  Sort different cues in differe
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