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Lecture 18

Anth Lecture 18

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University of Guelph
ANTH 3690
Marta Rohatynskyj

Lecture 18 Nov. 15. 2011 ** EXAM REVIEW *** THIS PAPER WILL BE ON EXAM *** Theory in Anthropology Since the Sixties (1984) Sherry Ortner (University of California at Los Angeles) The 1980’s .... • This decade was one of the collapse of previous paradigms • Think back to Thomas Kuhn - Paradigm Shifts, competing paradigms • As Ortner writes, it was unclear as to what the divisions were and which one, one should align oneself with • Note the articles that we are reading which were published in the 1980’s : Asad (1987) • • Bourdieu (1982) • Clifford (1986) • Marcus and Fischer (1986) Strathern (1981) • • Wolf (1982) • Ortner (1984) - She mentions all but 2 in her own article (marcus, fischer and clifford) - speculate on the reasons why they are excluded Wolf And Asad - Anthropology as Hegemony and the Voice of the Other • Wolf and Asad are concerned with history and the political economy of a world system • The interrelatedness of cultures is the point that Wolf wants to demonstrate • Asad, while appreciating the vision of Wolf’s efforts asks the fundamental question of whether other cultures, those integrated by capitalism into a world system dominated by the West, do not have a history independent of Europe and capitalism • Wolfs work can be seen as part of the political economy school that Ortner identifies arising in the 1970s with Wallerstein and Frank • The major criticism she launches at this school is that it understands all communities and cultures in relation to capitalist expansion and can not represent the uniqueness of these communities and cultures. Remember - Wolf talks about the ‘sinks and margins of the capitalist system.’ • • Said in Orientalism (1979) despairs of the West ever being able to appreciate a non-Western culture. • However, Ortner takes the position of Asad, we cannot know the world’s cultures only in relation to ourselves • To those who despair of ever doing this successfully, Ortner answers: ‘To such a position we can only respond: Try.’ (p.512) • The approach to ethnography that only saw a local community as a product of capitalist forces, is incomplete, because as Ortner points out - each village has its own history, its own view of itself that is as much an aspect of its culture as is the capitalist hegemony approach - Ortner incomplete, denying certain reality. - Critique of Asad - sees it as caught up in own cultural framework, incapable of understanding ‘other’ Marcus and Fischer, and Clifford - both published in 1986 • Both of these articles deal with the Crisis of Representation • Clifford’s article is the introduction to “Writing Culture” • He more specifically deals with ethnography as a genre of Western writing • Marcus and Fischer discuss the general loss of faith in the grand narrative (Parsonian sociology) across a number of disciplines in the social sciences and arts • The crisis was initially one of not being able to grasp the reality of other cultures • There was a danger of solipsism - projecting onto other cultures elements of one’s own imagination of self. - Saids critique of western interpretation - capitalist as not only system in the world • The issue was further developed in Clifford in terms of the whole experience of doing ethnography as a way of rendering people, and cultures who were strange to us, familiar and then, strange again. • Also included in this was a projection of these peoples into the past, an idyllic past • Marcus and Fischer linked this loss o
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