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Lecture 11

Textbook Notes for Lecture 11 - Applied Anthropology

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Victor Barac

Notes From Reading for Lecture 11 C HAPTERS :1.6,2.5,4.6,6.6 Lecture: Applied Anthropology Question 1.1: Why do Human Beings Differ in Their Beliefs and Behaviours - Culture – The system of meanings about the nature of experience that are shared by a people and passed on from one generation to another o Incl. the meanings that people give to things, events, activities and people o People differ in how they view the world because of their culture - Members of all human societies experience specific life events such as birth, death and the quest for food, water and shelter - Culture is about meaning; Cultural meanings must be learned; once learned, meanings are shared by members of particular culture - Culture enables human beings to make sense of their life experiences and to understand those experiences as meaningful in particular ways - Human beings are cultural animals; they ascribe meanings of their own creation to objects, persons, behaviours, emotions and events and then proceed to act as if those meanings are real - Differences in culture arise in par from the fact that different groups of human beings, for various reasons, create, share and participate in different realities o As a consequence, they assigned different meaning to death, birth, marriage and food - Objects, persons, behavoiurs, emotions, and events in a human world have meanings ascribed to them by those who share, use or experience them - Understanding culture, and the culturally situated meanings that flourish in various cultural contexts, is therefore the main object of anthropological study Question 2.5: How Can We Apply A Critical Anthropological Understanding of Progress and Development Outside of the Academy - Anthropologists bring cultural expertise to the table, and their critical and ethnographically grounded understanding of what constitutes “progress” (and what does not) can be crucial to ensuring that development initiatives are culturally appropriate Anthropologists in Development - There was no consultation with the indigenous people regarding the changes - Nobody considered the complex interactions among family structure, cultural values, economics, education and new residents - Factory Model – An engery-intensive, ecologically damaging form of agriculture intended to grow or raise as many crops or livestock as possible in the shortest amount of time - Archaeological Approach – Agricultural methods that incorporation indigenous practices of food production along with contemporary agricultural research yet preserve the environment - Development projects might begin with good intentions, but they can quickly devolve into ethnocentric, socially damaging institutions - Anthropological perspectives that carefully considers the cultures and values of indigenous people will go a long way to ease the potential pains of development Question 4.6: How can Understanding Patterns of Family Relations be Relevant Outside of Academia? - Knowledge of family relations, helps us understand a whole range of things, from parent- child relations, to marriage and courtship patterns, to ideas about love, sexuality and wealth Notes From Reading for Lecture 11 CHAPTERS :1.6,2.5,4.6,6.6 o Can help societies address a multitude of issues involving families AIDS Prevention in Namibia - On unavoidable force that has shaped, and been shaped by, Ju/’hoansi kinship patterns and practices in the AIDS pandemic - Four adults aged from 19-44 were HIV positive - Physicians in Namibia were encouraged to omit any mention of AIDS from medical documentation - Ju/’hoansi kinship practices – especially sharing and women’s sexual autonomy – are central to this cultural buffer o These practices have protected the Ju/’hoansi against the spread of HIV/AIDS - Ju/’hoansi people living in Tsumkswe, spend a lot of time (and money) at loal shebeens (makeshift bars that sell home brew), where Ju/’hoansi women often engage in “survival sex” - Two important differences between life in remote villages and life in Tsumkew stand out as relevant to understanding the spread of HIV/AIDS o According to Susser, villages “are somewhat protected from the individual risk and insecurity involved in marginal work and the lowest rung of the tourist economy, and appear to be less vulnerable to the raves of HIV/ AIDS o Ju’hoansi women living in small villages continue to exercise a great deal of sexual autonomy and authority, which has limited the spread of HIV infections in those villagers - According to work by Robert Lorway conducted in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, found that “AIDS in Africa” is exclusively a Pattern II or heterosexual epidemic o Although heterosexual intercourse is the main source of transmission of HIV in Namibia, the exclusion of any information about same-sex transmission was limiting possibilies for education and prevention Question 1.6: How can an Anthropological Perspective be Used Outside of Academia? What Can You Do with a BA in Anthropology? - An anthropological perspective and methodology can be invaluable in all sorts of career areas - A recent LinkedIn search using “enthography”, showed many hits that included jobs at Netflix, Skype, Microsoft, VISA, and Google - In the contemporary lingo of Human Resources departments, ethnographers “add value” to the companies they work for o By bringing their unique perspective to bear on the problems and questions that that they address, and they often have distinctive insights o Able to suggest innovative solutions that accountants, marketers, or doctors cannot - What kinds of problems can et
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