ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Trobriand Islands, Asceticism, Protestant Work Ethic

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
School
UTSC
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTA02H3
January 21, 2013
Lecture #3
WAYS OF KNOWING: TIME, LANGUAGE, AND RITUAL
Recap
Culture: shared patterns of learned behaviour
o About systems of meanings that are shared and learned
Boas: “culture as a lens”
o Let’s us see clearly, from a certain perspective, the answers to questions about
our lives
Worldview
Result of our attempts to make the world meaningful
Pg. 79 “an encompassing picture of reality based on a set of shared assumptions
about how the world works”
Culture vs. worldview worldview is part of culture
o Culture includes worldview AND practices, beliefs, kinship, preferences, etc.
Eg. Ghosts in worldview: if you hear a random noise in the attic, you might believe that
there is a ghost
o Likewise, if you don’t have ghosts in your worldview, you might just think it’s a
raccoon
Worldview helps you judge whether things are real or fake
Worldview establishes symbolic frameworks that highlight certain domains of
experience while down-playing others
More than one worldview may coexist in a single culture
o Eg. Secular worldviews vs. religious worldviews
o Eg. Clashing of worldviews should we teach evolution? Different versions of
creation
Thinking about Worldview: Cause of Death
In the Trobriand Islands, the only people that can have natural death are people who
are very old and die in their sleep
o Usually, death is the result of sorcery
Trobriand worldview: they have very specific way of thinking of death
o Think of the “why”
o Why this person? Why now?
We think of sorcery is illogical but it seems that sorcery is pushing rationality; it asks
detailed questions about the death
o They ask these questions because their worldview encompasses sorcery
Sorcery:
o Omnipresent fear
o Some powerful sorcerer will put a spell on food (betel nuts), or cigarettes
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Document Summary

Culture: shared patterns of learned behaviour: about systems of meanings that are shared and learned. Boas: culture as a lens : let"s us see clearly, from a certain perspective, the answers to questions about our lives. Result of our attempts to make the world meaningful. 79 an encompassing picture of reality based on a set of shared assumptions about how the world works . Culture vs. worldview worldview is part of culture: culture includes worldview and practices, beliefs, kinship, preferences, etc. Ghosts in worldview: if you hear a random noise in the attic, you might believe that there is a ghost: likewise, if you don"t have ghosts in your worldview, you might just think it"s a raccoon. Worldview helps you judge whether things are real or fake. Worldview establishes symbolic frameworks that highlight certain domains of experience while down-playing others. More than one worldview may coexist in a single culture: eg.

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