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Lecture 3

ANTA02H3 Lecture 3: Lecture 3

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Maggie Cummings

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ANTA02 Winter 2015
Lecture 3
Worldviews and the cultural construction of reality
Readings for this week: cultural anthropology chapter 3, feeding desire chapter 3
- World view, social cultural construction of reality fous of this eek’s letue
- Last week
Objects and methods of anthropology
Culture cultural is dynamic, not static, always changing, different defined by different
Shared patterns of learnt behaviour
Most anthropologists agree on the shrewdness, meaningfulness of this definition
Franz boas metaphor culture as a lens as a way of seeing the world
Helps us make sense of our experiences way of life
- Highly visual metaphor culture as a lens
- Some of the ways cultures comes to shared and learned
- How are these two things interconnected?
We lean culture as it is shared
Share and learned mutually sustaining
- Worldview key view how culture is learned and shared
- Worldview
Human beings try to make sense of their experiences that link them meaningful to wider world
Must make them meaningful that helps us make sense of things as general
World view refers to the result
P. 79 definition in textbook
Encompassing, covers everything we see
Based on shared set of assumption about how out world works
“iila to oas’ defiitio of ultue
Worldview falls under culture umbrella
Culture includes language, behaviours, food preferences, religion
Worldview refers specifically to the cultural perceptions of reality
What is real? What is not
Example if you believe in ghosts, then your perception of reality is going to be very different
Water bottle falling off the podium explained by the ghosts
If ghosts are not part of your reality, the water bottle fell because of something else
Establishes symbolic frameworks to make sense of things
Highlight certain domains of experience over others
Example the Kuwkua-waw from BC (textbook)
Their worldview domain of experience is the domain of eating
Make sense of everything in their lives with reference to eating and hunger
Greediness thought of in terms of hunger
Immorality though of in terms of hunger
Children always hungry, in order to grow into adults must grow into hunger
Domain of experience that is privileged over other domains of experience
Within any given culture, more than one worldview can co-exist
i.e. Coexistence of religious and secular worldviews in North America
i.e. North America, many people believe in different extends of astrology can coeist with belief of
another culture
In other cultures, one worldview may dominate
Feeding desire worldview is Islam go to belief system of making sese of the wrld around them
World views can be either religious of secular
It’s ot a atte of eligious elief, it’s a atte of ultue
- Example of how diff worldview play out in different contexts weather
John Monahan
Did research in Indonesia
find more resources at
find more resources at

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ANTA02 Winter 2015
Couple of different ethnic groups that live next to each other
Bima and Dou Donggo
Experience same weather patterns
But their worldview tells them how to make sense of their environment
How do they make sense of a drought?
Bima dought happes eause it is Allah’s ill (there Muslim)
Their response to a drought is to declare a day of fasting and prayer beseeching Allah to being rain
Hua eigs ae depedet o Allah’s ill
Allah’s ill is espose to good o ad hua ehaiou
Dou Donggo believe coming of rain is part of an inevitable natural order of things
If everything in the world is happening as it should be, it means the rain should come
If no rain something is impeding the natural order
Causing things to happen in an unnatural way
Believe that mischievous spirits were impeding the natural order because they envy the living
There jealous of human beings, and block the rain
They need to placate the spirits
They make offerings to the spirits with stuff that human beings like (i.e. cigarettes)
The drought ended Bima and Dou Donggo bought thought their worldviews were successful
- Secular North American response to a drought
Rain comes from the sky
What makes it come from the sky water condenses
The eathe is a thig
It is separate from us, we cannot control it
If we have a areligious worldview, we may pray for it
We may water our plants, irrigate in response to drought
Unlike the others, we see nature as separate from humanity and the cultural world
Try to fix it through different technologies
- Azawagh Arabs Weather
Significance of Islam in their world view
Beings with a set of verses ho ai, id, sushie ae all ude Allah’s poe
Shows where the Islamic worldview come from and what it means mean that everything is given to them
How do they deal with the weather Ch8 Wellbeing and Illness
Strong understanding that wind can make you sick
Hot sand can make you sick
Because within their worldview, bodies are meant to balance between right amount of open and closed
Balance between hot and cold
If body is too open it becomes too cold
If body is too cold risk of becoming ill
If ou do’t ake these alaes, ou ill egi ill
This is how the Azawagh Arabs understand their wellbeing and health
Openness versus closeness
Hotness versus coldness
Has a lot to do with fattening all interconnected
- World view shapers our views on our experiences
- Example language
Key ways how we understand our worldviews with people who are members of our culture
As human beings, we are what we speak
Speech is one of the things that makes us human no other species can speak
Species communicate, but speech is unique to human
Our ability to use language metaphorically
Dogs a ouiate, ut the a’t ite poet
We are what we speak because we can speak
You can tell a lot of things, socially and culturally, by the way they speak
If ou liste to a eodig of a peso’s oie, ou a ake guesses aout the
Their nationality, gender, through region of origin (accents)
find more resources at
find more resources at
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