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Lecture

Week 10 Lecture


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTA02H3
Professor
Victor Barac

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Modernity and Culture Change
Modernity describes a condition which enrols very recently
Change in how people work
Started with change in steam, electricity, and other forms of power now
Urbanization = development of cities
Urban society is also where various human skills and endeavours are concentrated
(knowledge, wealth, power, etc.) are centres of markets and trade, etc.
Rise of modern bureaucracy rise of states (municipal, provincial, federal),
bureaucracies expand with the rise of corporations as well
OVERVIEW
1.Cultural persistence - culture that is not changing
2.Mechanisms of Change
3.Modernization
4. Intensification
Cultural persistence 1
most individuals, most of the time, are deeply committed to their customs. Richard
Barrett, Culture and Conduct, 1991
Ethnocentrism feels natural
If you speak a language, that is the only language
In terms of addiction, people are addicted to their culture and that is normal
Humans are not infinitely flexible, we do require a routine (much of our behaviour
has to be relegated to our consciousness)
Up until puberty, people can learn a new language without developing an accent
Customs: dress, food, social rituals, etc.
Cultural persistence 2
1.Culture as impediment
Culture often is crystallized form, has an unchangeable nature, people expect
a routine that is familiar/predictable
2.Limitations of prior accomplishment
Once you decide on a particular path, you choose a particular cultural
inventory to develop, then youre locked into it
3. Integration as impediment to change
Culture is an integration, if you want to change one aspect of culture, it will
have other effects on culture, any new elements have to fit into the existing
conditions
Cultural persistence 3
1.Adaptation is never perfect
Its an ongoing process, is a contemporary compromise under the
circumstances, it provides a contemporary equilibrium
2.Sudden, revolutionary change is rare
Fail to change radical society, even the industrial revolution was not a
revolution, was a gradual revolution
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Only in 1870s did corporations started investing in research and
development, which directed change
3.The past sets conditions and limits to flexibility
Sets how much a society can change
Mechanisms of change
1. Innovation
2.Diffusion
3.Acculturation
4.Culture loss
5.Forced change
Innovation
Refers to new cultural elements
Most innovations do not spread and do not become culturally institutionalized
E.g. modern wheat spreads all over Europe and Asia and further
Diffusion
The spread of cultural novelties, borrowing from other cultures
95% of any culture is borrowed (food, religion, language, dress, etc.)
E.g. spaghetti with meatballs is not indigenous to Italy spaghetti was from China,
and tomatoes were from Southern America
Map (on lecture handout) shows the spread of two cultural elements in the rise of the
great plains of the North American and Indian cultures
Acculturation
1.Gradual adoption of colonizers culture
E.g. clothing, food, money, religion
2.Reciprocal effects
Forced change
Change imposed by decree of rulers.
Examples:
1.Westernization of the Russian Empire by Czar Peter the Great (1672 1725)
Peter the Great = great westernizer of Russia, sent all sort of his intellectuals
to Britain and Netherlands to learn military and etc.
He cleaned up religion and education (made education mandatory)
Forced the boycotts to shave their beards
Great modernizer Reza Shah Pahlan outlawed the veil
Great modernizer Ataturk secularized Turkey
2.Soviet policy on shamanism, homosexuality, abortion postWW1
Soviet Union outlawed shamanism in 1940s, deported a lot of people
Legalized abortion and homosexuality movement
But by 1944, they outlawed them again because of the declining population
3.Neo liberal shock therapy 1990s
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