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Lecture 9

Lecture 9

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Victor Barac

ANT102H5S – Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology Lecture 08 – August 8, 2013 Modernity and Culture Change Overview - Cultural persistence - Mechanisms of change - Modernization - Intensification Modernity - Related to the advent of mass societies and large political entities - Concentration of skill, knowledge and power in the urban settlements - Center of wealth and power and learning as well - The division of labour increases, wealth increases - Creation of class of workers whos job is to admister the state o Requires a lot of paper work and functionaries behalf of the government - Governments, if they are intended to serve the people, can be used to enhance oneself Cultural Persistence - “… Most individuals, most of the time, are deeply committed to their customs.” o Richard Barrett, Culture and Conduct, 1991 - Ethnocentrism is normal Cultural Persistence 2 - Culture as impediment - Limitations of prior accomplishment o Just because an achievement as been made, it doesn’t mean that it will continue to be an achievement (maybe something new has to occur) o Example: from the analysis from T. Veblen who had a strong anthropological perspective in economics. In the second half of the century, Germany came into power extremely quickly. - Integration as impediment to change o Whenever you introduce a new element into culture, it has to somehow fit in with the already cultural stuff o Example: Japanese distinctive writing system. Many people tried introducing Roman and Latin writing letters in the Japanese writing language, but has not caught on Cultural Persistence 3 - Adaptation is never perfect o It is never final or complete, it is an ongoing natural process o Any existing adaptation is at best compromised - Sudden, revolutionary change is rare o Most revolutions fail to alter some aspects of society ANT102H5S – Introduction to Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology Lecture 08 – August 8, 2013 o What often happens, the elites tend to change o Significant change, such as the industrial revolution, is gradual - The past sets conditions and limits to flexibility o History, and historical context will set the conditions whether cultural change will be adopted, accepted etc. o Example: Cheyanna and Copmagne were tribes that have converged onto the Great Plains. They had different cultural value systems. Cheyanne known for being shy and guarded, value viginity. Copamgey were known for being lose.  The hunters who were looking for women to popular with, the Compamgey women were the most popular o Native American Indians were subject for missionaries Mechanisms of Change - Innovation - Diffusion - Acculturation - Culture loss - Forced change Innovation - New ideas, new technologies - Was half hazard, and was only funded and supported finically in the late 19t centuries - Most innovations do not spread, instead most people do things on their own - If they are going to spread, they need to have an integration potential - Example: development of the grain o Problem with wild grain, the grain that produces the thickest seed is also the most bridle o So if you cut it, the seed will fall on the ground o There is another type of grain, that is much smaller and not bridle o Archeologists showed how over centuries, farmers were experimenting the crossing of fat grains with non-bridle stocks, in hopes of developing the thick grain seeds that don’t fall off o This took many generations of crossing different grains and wheat - It is rare, even though know we consciously invest in the research and development for innovation Diffusion - Culture change and spread from culture to culture - Example: New Guinea o One of the most
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